This book examines the most popular American television shows of the nineties--a decade at the last gasp of network television's cultural dominance. At a time when American culture seemed increasingly fragmented, television still offered something close to a site of national consensus. The Lonely Nineties focuses on a different set of popular nineties television shows in each chapter and provides an in-depth reading of scenes, characters or episodes that articulate the overarching "ideology" of each series. It ultimately argues that television shows such as Seinfeld, Friends, Law & Order and The Simpsons helped to shape the ways Americans thought about themselves in relation to their friends, families, localities, and nation. It demonstrates how these shows engaged with a variety of problems in American civic life, responded to the social isolation of the age, and occasionally imagined improvements for community in America.
Watching TV after the wall came down Lonely bowling and other critical contexts They let you just sit there: the failure of the coffee shop in Seinfeld, Friends, and Frasier I'm doing this my own way: redeeming NYPD Blue's racist hero It was a different time: Law & Order, White Rabbits, and the decline of sixties radicalism The truth is out there and he loves you: depictions of faith in The X-Files and Touched by an Angel This town ain't so bad: eternity in heavenly Springfield with The Simpsons TV after the nineties.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Acquired for the Penn Libraries with assistance from the John G. Hartman Memorial Library Fund.