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Content-Creation vs. Art?

As we’ve seen in ‘Star Wars’ and, more recently, ‘The Lord of the Rings’, television adaptations are entering an age in which a story and its characters can be explored ad nauseam without the input of the original author/creator (whether the creator died or sold rights, or whether copyright expired). We can conceivably imagine, then, ‘Star Wars’ films coming out years, even decades from now, even though the mind of George Lucas is no longer involved. I guess I have a number of questions:
What are the pros and cons of such "content-creation" (i.e. franchises maintained by a company — whose primary goal is profit) versus "art" (or, the subjective, personal production of one or a small group of individuals, limited by their time commitments and lifespan). Is there an argument to be made that ‘Star Wars’ should finally be "completed", and left alone like a painting? Or is content the new art, for better or for worse?

  • I feel like the MCU Phase 4 and onward falls victim to this question, and might provide a third aspect to examine as well. – Siothrún 3 months ago
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Materialist Hell: What is the ending of the Sopranos

One of the most controversial endings in television is the ending of The Sopranos.

A jarring cut to blackness and silence.

Much can be speculated about the life that Tony has leading to a sudden and violent end vs. the contrasting position of a secularized hell. The core premise is, that Tony is in a constant state of death and undeath as he awaits the ending. The unending pain before it ends is as much of a torture as any demon could imagine putting him through.

The writer should probably include a synopsis of the plot of The Sopranos along with other interpretations of the ending.

  • Okay, you're on the right track. But from the topic title and setup, I was expecting something about how and why The Sopranos and other series choose endings like this. Consider using Tony Soprano as a character who was "left in the lurch" because of this sort of ending, as well as the positive and negative results of such. (E.g., fans get to speculate about what really happened, but then again, they'll never know, so cue the Internet trolls, the arguing, the potential for awful remakes...) Add a couple more example characters. I think you could have a really deep article here. – Stephanie M. 7 months ago
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Arrow: Oliver Queen's Trauma Recovery

In the CW’s Arrow, before Oliver Queen got stuck on Trauma Island, he was a stereotypical Billionaire Playboy. When he got back, he spent a lot of time pretending he was still the same person, in order to cover up who he had really become: a vigilante on a quest for justice. Oliver pretended his five years of trauma hadn’t dramatically changed him.
This was part of Oliver’s strategy for recovering from his trauma. While he worked on becoming a healthier (less angry and murderous) person with the help of his trusted friends, he pretended he had already recovered.
An article on this topic could analyze the progress Oliver makes on his trauma recovery over the course of the show.

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    Has Body Positivity gone to far?

    In 2020, during an appearance on BuzzFeeds "AM to DM" Julian Micheals (Personal Fitness Trainer) was criticized for comments she made about singer/rapper Lizzo. "Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter?…’Cause it isn’t gonna be awesome if she gets diabetes". At the time many accused Micheals of fat shaming, but Micheals went onto explain in future interviews that it wasn’t about what people found attractive. That she had a concern for what we as a culture were valuing. She had an issue with us being okay with a health problem that could lead to further health issues like "diabetes". This does not appear to be an isolated incident either. As there have been calls for more diverse body types appearing in media (whether it is video-games, movies, comics, television or advertisement) to help spread body positivity. We have seen comics like "Daughter of Starfire", "The ‘New’ New Warriors", featuring large bodied superheroes. And more recently we have seen the premiere of "Lizzo’s ‘Big Grrrls’ " a show about big bodied women competing to be backup dancers for Lizzo. A counter argument that is often brought up is how media (television, comics, games, etc.) will often overly promote physically fit bodies and how many believe it can be just as damaging. The problem with this argument is that both the hyper acceptance of large bodies and the need to fit what society deems “healthy” is believed to lead to unhealthily results. Making this counter arguement a logical fallacy known as tu quque. In both situations the hyper marketing of a certain body type is believed to lead to negative results, so it doesn’t invalidate Julian Micheals criticism of Lizzo, and vice versa. This once again brings us to the question: are producers of visual media (video-games, comics, television, or advertisement) responsible for their viewers, mental health, self-worth, and body image? Should those who work in visual media try to promote a healthy body image? Are they responsible for what becomes a cultural trend? Or is it on the individual to manage their mental health, self-worth, and body image?

    • This is a great topic. However, I think you've accidentally made your whole argument in the topic instead of an article. Narrow it down a little--or broaden it so that the argument is not focused on two specific individuals. Then you can craft a piece that will reach a broader audience by covering more facets of the body-shaming conundrum. – Stephanie M. 2 years ago
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    • I think that you could look at Michaels presumption that Lizzo was unhealthy and prone to diabetes because she is larger. Whereas smaller body types are mostly presumed healthy, though those with them can have eating disorders, take diet drugs, smoke etc. to stay thin. There is also the fact that a lot of doctors blame all symptoms a larger person complains of on being overweight and refuse to look further, as they too presume that fat=unhealthy – JDWatts 2 years ago
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    • I love what you pointed out. This is the similar issue we once saw in sports and in education. Inclusiveness and body positivity are meant to reduce discrimination. Rather, the way it was promoted eventually become sabotaging to existing, healthy standards. For example, promoting body positivity doesn't mean neglecting healthy eating and nutritional balance. Accepting your current body doesn't mean antagonizing a big girl wanting to be smaller when they realize their current body type isn't the best for their body. I wouldn't say it's going too far, but I definitely see our approach nowadays being problematic as many are supporting body positivity from a defensive, negative mindset that doesn't truly allow the concept to do what it's supposed to do: to encourage more self love and self care, which naturally include toning up your body to be "better," as much as the crowd would hate this word. And another under-discussed issue is forcing someone critical about their body and trying to make change to "feel enough" or to accept body positivity could easily turn into another form of bullying. – Xiao 1 year ago
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    Explicit content in Euphoria: glorification or necessary depiction?

    HBO’s hit show Euphoria depicts the journeys of teenage characters as they navigate a complicated social landscape of sex, drugs, and overall delinquency. It follows the main character, Rue, as she becomes more and more entrenched in a drug addiction. Side plots depict such storylines as Rue’s friends becoming entangled in sexual affairs with adults, threatening each other with guns, and above all, sneaking around behind their parents’ backs.

    Sexual and graphic content in regards to teenagers is nothing new in media. We’ve seen it in the past with shows such as Skins, DeGrassi, and Beverly Hills, 90201. However, Euphoria has stirred up a unique controversy in that it revolves almost entirely around drug usage as a plot point, as well as depicts teenage characters (portrayed by adult actors) in explicit sexual positions with full-frontal nudity. In certain scenes, drug addiction almost looks enjoyable: attractive, thin, and happy-looking teens are all too happy to be high at any moment they can.

    This has been the topic of many an argument among viewers: is it dangerous to depict teenagers engaging in such behavior, as it may be read as inspiring or encouraging to a young audience? Conversely, is it important to depict the realities of these issues and not to shy away from tough topics, thus cementing their taboo within society? There certainly are teenagers today that deal with and engage in such activities. Should we be thinking of them and providing media with a representation of the struggles they face, or will such a show encourage straight-edged teens to move in a different direction?

    • Glorification or necessary depiction? I think this is a really interesting topic for discussion in relation to Euphoria, but also other shows (those already mentioned but also many others such as 13 Reasons Why) as well as in literature. Is art imitating life or is it the other way around? And, how much responsibility does a director/writer/artist have to take for how their work is perceived or responded to? – Userpays 2 years ago
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    • A show so explicit yet mainstream is definitely worst discussing. It has become a cultural phenomenon and impacted various different industries. Maybe the discussion should not focus so much around whether it is a show that needs to be made, as this could just lead to speculations around the writer/producer's intentions. It might be more productive to consider what elements of the show are drawing young people in. The sound track, fashion and makeup looks have been particularly influential on Gen Z. What impact have the specific elements in the show had on Western culture? – Writingitseems 1 year ago
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    Obsession with food as a marker of childishness

    It sometimes happens in TV shows, particularly comedies, that a childish character will show an inordinate interest in food. For instance, both Michael Scott from "The Office" and Liz Lemon from "30 Rock" are childish main characters who are obsessed with food, and many compilations of them eating exist on YouTube. Ernie, a character from the German comedy "Stromberg," is also obsessed with food and notably more childish than his English-speaking counterparts Gareth and Dwight (who show less interest in food but are instead obsessed with sex). The fact that childishness and food obsession show up together so often suggests that an interest in eating itself is meant to highlight the character’s childishness in some way. Why do you think this is? What are some other examples of shows that connect childishness with a love of eating?

    • This sounds like a yummy and interesting topic, pun intended. My "Disney and the deadly sins" article has a section on Mikey Blumberg from Recess and gluttony, if you want to read that to get yourself going. – Stephanie M. 1 year ago
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    • Idk if I would necessarily link food obsession with childishness. Today's food obsession, whether among celebrities or the general public, is a more complex psychological and sociological phenomenon and childishness feels too negative a term. – Xiao 1 year ago
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    The Cancelling of Sapphic and Women's-Centered Series

    Social media is buzzing about a disturbing, but not necessarily new trend–the cancelling of sapphic television series, especially on streaming services like Netflix. "Sapphic" refers to content "of or relating to sexual attraction or interplay between women," and disgruntled and confused viewers aren’t seeing enough of it. They point out the short-lived nature of once-popular series such as The Baby-Sitters’ Club (2020) and Paper Girls, to name only two.

    Even more disturbingly, some series that might not be called sapphic, but are certainly women-centered, have been cancelled, were panned by critics, or have disappeared into long hiatuses. (See Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and Anne With an E for examples).

    Discuss why these series, especially on Netflix, might have been disproportionately represented on the chopping block. Do the "powers that be" see women-centered content, particularly the sapphic, as a threat, and if yes, why? Do cancellations happen just because of the nature of Netflix–shorter seasons and encouragement of "bingeing"–but if yes, why is male-centered content not cancelled as well? Do female viewers want different types of content, and if yes, what do they want? What would it take to bring female-centered shows, sapphic and otherwise, front and center on streaming services again?

    • This is such an important topic! It’s also important to compare it to other queer works released, especially ones about white gay men and explore how bias and discrimination plays into it – Anna Samson 1 year ago
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    The Legacy of Supernatural

    It occupied television screens for fifteen years, and two-and-a-half years after concluding its run, it’s still inescapable on social media. Debuting in 2005 and finishing in 2020, Supernatural was an incredibly long-running series about monster-fighting brothers Sam and Dean Winchester. During its run, the show’s immense popularity was demonstrable not only in how long it remained on air, but in the overwhelming presence it had in online fandom spaces. However, despite the love for Supernatural during its run, the show has left a very mixed legacy in recent years. Many fans criticised the show’s last three episodes, with particular critique going towards Castiel’s death moments after confessing his unrequited love to Dean. This criticism has spilled over to Supernatural’s prequel/sequel series, The Winchesters, which has received low viewership numbers, despite the star Jensen Ackles’ involvement in the production. Real-world events, from co-lead Jared Padalecki’s exclusion from The Winchesters to international dubs altering Castiel’s love confession to be requited have contributed to discourses surrounding Supernatural. On the flip side, however, other shows involving Supernatural’s main cast – Jared Padalecki’s Walker, Jensen Ackles’ The Boys, and most recently, Misha Collin’s Gotham Knights – have all achieved high viewership numbers and/or seasonal longevity, suggesting that fans still hold great affection for the series and its stars. The proposed article would explore the legacy left by one of the CW’s flagship shows.

    • One of the things Supernatural did right was pay attention to its fans. The actors and writers had good friendly relationships with their fans - there's a variety of Moments at conventions worth considering for this article - and they put homages to the fans in some of their episodes. Then they proceeded to not do a couple of things some of the fans would have wanted them to do, like make the Destiel relationship fully canon. Part of the disappointment was probably based on a perceived betrayal of the fans' trust. The things fans liked about their fifteen-year relationship with the show have persisted after the show ended, and therein lies the show's legacy. – noahspud 1 year ago
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