Bringing together well-established scholars of media, political science, sociology, and film to investigate the representation of Washington politics on U.S. television from the mid-2000s to the present, this volume offers stimulating perspectives on the status of representations of contemporary US politics, the role of government and the machinations and intrigue often associated with politicians and governmental institutions. The authors help to locate these representations both in the context of the history of earlier television shows that portrayed the political culture of Washington as well as within the current political culture transpiring both inside and outside of "The Beltway." With close attention to issues of gender, race and class and offering studies from contemporary quality television, including popular programmes such as The West Wing, Veep, House of Cards, The Americans, The Good Wife and Scandal, the authors examine the ways in which televisual representations reveal changing attitudes towards Washington culture, shedding light on the role of the media in framing the public’s changing perception of politics and politicians. Exploring the new era in which television finds itself, with new production practices and the possible emergence of a new ’political genre’ emerging, Politics and Politicians in Contemporary U.S. Television also considers the ’humanizing’ of political characters on television, asking what that representation of politicians as human beings says about the national political culture. A fascinating study that sits at the intersection of politics and television, this book will appeal to scholars of popular culture, sociology, cultural and media studies.
Table of Contents
Notes on Contributors
Foreword: Television Criticism and Contemporary U.S. Politics
Introduction: American Television in the 2010s
(Betty Kaklamanidou and Margaret Tally)
The Political TV Shows of the 2010s: Showrunners, Reality and Gender
(Betty Kaklamanidou and Margaret Tally)
"The Last Hurrah": The West Wing and the Future of American Politics after 9/11’
"Stand Up, Fight Back": Race and Policing in The Good Wife and Scandal
The Leader of the Free World? Representing the Declining Presidency in Film and Television
Would Niccolò Machiavelli Endorse House of Cards’ Frank Underwood?
(Anthony Petros Spanakos)
House of Cards – House of Power: Political Narratives and The Cult of Serial Sociopaths in Narrative Politics in American Quality Dramas in the Digital Age
(Elena Pilipets & Rainer Winter)
The Cold War (Re)-visited in House of Cards and The Americans
"Call it The Hillary Effect": Charting the Imaginary of "Hillary-Esque" Fictional Narratives
Veep’s Poetics of Omnishambles
(Marc Edward Shaw)
Betty Kaklamanidou is a Fulbright scholar and Assistant Professor in Film and Television History and Theory at Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece. She is the author of The ‘Disguised’ Political Film in Contemporary Hollywood: A Genre’s Construction (forthcoming, 2016), Genre, Gender and the Effects of Neoliberalism: The New Millennium Hollywood Rom Com (2013) and two books in Greek on adaptation theory and the history of the Hollywood rom com. Betty is also the co-editor of The Millennials on Film and Television (2014), HBO’s "Girls" (2014), and The 21st Century Superhero (2010). Betty’s articles have appeared in Literature/Film Quarterly, Celebrity Studies and The Journal of Popular Romance Studies.
Margaret J. Tally is Professor of Social and Public Policy at the School of Graduate Studies at Empire State College, State University of New York, USA. She is the author of Television Culture and Women’s Lives: Thirtysomething and the Contradictions of Gender, and co-editor of The Millennials on Film and Television: The Politics of Popular Culture and HBO’s Girls: Questions of Gender, Politics, and Millennial Angst.
'This timely collection of informative and insightful essays helps us to make sense of early twenty-first century American TV serials -- from The West Wing and Veep to Scandal and House of Cards -- that grapple with the potent drama of party politics during the Bush and Obama years.' - Michael Z. Newman, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, U.S.A
'The essays in this volume offer engaging analyses of recent fictional political TV shows. Collectively, they persuasively argue that depictions of U.S. political culture on entertainment television have never been more relevant while making insightful connections to contemporary political campaigns.' - Chuck Tryon, Fayetteville State University, U.S.A