There are many things in this world that one could call popular culture, essentially anything that the masses of people have come to like and agree upon as being “cool”. One such thing would have to be the hit T.V. show “America’s Best Dance Crew”, or ABDC for short. Seeing as how I myself love the art form known as dancing, I was hard pressed not to choose a T.V. show about it, and ABDC just seemed perfect. Dancing has just begun to really hit the mainstream, and a lot of it was in part, due to this very show. I believe “America’s Best Dance Crew” to be something that holds great value in our society, especially to the many youths and children in the world. With the help of Randy Jackson and a few of the crews in the show, “America’s Best Dance Crew” helps get people interested in dancing and encourages people to try something new, chase their dreams, whilst also marketing some items for the mainstream of people to eat up happily.
“America’s Best Dance Crew” somewhat resembles another hit T.V show known as American Idol, but instead of singing, the contestants dance. This resemblance is most likely due to the fact that the producer of ABDC, Randy Jackson, is also one of the judges in American Idol. Being a star in an already large and popular T.V. show, the name Randy Jackson was sure to carry with it, support and a huge fanbase from the previous show. This similarity helped to make people like the show even more, after all, everyone loves a good “remix”. Similarities ranging from the three judges, each with their own varying personalities, to the voting system that lets the populace choose the team that they like best, ABDC brought with it a very homely abode to what was in American Idol. In the article “MTV Has a Huge Night With the “2011 Movie Awards,” Part One of the Two-Night Premiere of New Series “Teen Wolf,” and the Season Finale of “Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew”; Part Two of the “Teen Wolf” Premiere Debuts in its Regular Timeslot Tonight, Monday, June 6 at 10:00 p.m./9:00 p.m. CT”, the anonymous author(s) wrote “The season six finale averaged a 2.1 rating among P12-34, up +17% from the fifth season finale. The finale delivered 2.6 million total viewers, up +24% from last season’s finale. For the season, “ABDC” averaged a 1.8 rating among P12-34, up +13% from the fifth season average. “ABDC” delivered 2.1 million total viewers each week, up +17% from season five. “ABDC” is Thursday’s #1 original cable series with P12-34.” These increases in viewers every season shows that ABDC is growing in popularity each and every season, and soon, in my opinion, it may even reach American Idol status.
Much like how American Idol brought with it a widespread epidemic of millions of people trying to see if they have the natural talent to sing, ABDC did the same, except with dancing. With every season of ABDC came another wave of aspiring dancers. Simply watching the crews on ABDC was not enough. ABDC inspires the public to want to imitate the dancing that they saw on the television. Something that they would have never even thought about attempting, without having first watched the show. This interest in dancing is further encouraged by the shows organization involvement in helping to fund dance studios. In the article “America’s Best Dance Crew Makes Room to DANCE”, the author Krisanits says that “The couple, in part with Nike and the LA84 Foundation, made a donation to fund two new dance floors, made from Nike Grind, a material generated from recycled shoes collected through Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program. The donation allowed the school to properly floor two additional studios, which were appropriately named Randy Jackson Studio and Erika Jackson Studio”. Randy Jackson and his wife funded the Lula Washington Dance Theatre with two dance studios, giving dancers in that area a place to dance. Acts such as these, made by the ABDC organization is a perfect example of how they are trying to encourage the populace into becoming more interested in dance, and help to make the dance community grow.
Not only is the ABDC organization involved with spreading the interest of dance around, but so do the dance crews that participate in the show. The uniqueness of every crew is what attracts the eyes of the public masses. One such crew that helped to greatly influence the spread of this dancing phenomenon would be the Beat Freaks. The Beat Freaks were in the 3rd season of ABDC, and they were an all girls crew. From the article “Super Freaks”, Jones says that “For the Beat Freaks, inspiration is the name of the game. Their “Freak the Dream” tagline has spread and they’ve got big plans to move forward with it — from books to TV shows to clothing lines. “I want the Beat Freaks to have a legacy,” Teresa says. A legacy of creativity, positivity and strength, not just for women, but for everybody.” They showed that boys aren’t the only ones capable of doing athletic dance moves such as breaking. While they did appeal a lot to the females who watched the show, they also inspired everyone else. They were trying to do more than show that girls can dance too. They were also showing that anybody had the ability to dance, and that if you wanted something badly enough, you should go after it, no matter if it was dancing, or something else entirely. They helped to inspire those who watched the show to never give up on their dreams and aspirations, but instead, chase it down until they have obtained it.
The Beat Freaks weren’t the only crew to have a great impact on society. The crew which, perhaps, had the greatest impact on society would have to be the season one winners, the Jabbawockeez. Not only were they one of the first crews to ever hit the stage, but they also were extremely talented and creative dancers. They were the pioneers of ABDC, and a very marketable one too. In the article “JABBAWOCKEEZ HIT THE ROAD” written by Lauren, when asked the question “What’s next?” the leader of the crew Rynan Paguio responded with “Other fields like music, movies and comics. We’re coming out with a clothing line called JBWKZ and would like to have our own tour. We also want to set up an arts-education learning center for the younger generation.” ABDC did not waste their time and immediately began selling Jabbawockeez merchandize as soon as possible. With a hit T.V. show, and with merchandize circulating all throughout the country, getting into the public eye was not very difficult. Because this crew wore a uniform consisting of a mask, shirt, and gloves, not only could the public try to mimic the dancing, but they could also dress to look exactly like their idols. As Storey says in his book, “Cultural Theory and Popular Culture An Introduction”, “popular culture is a hopelessly commercial culture. It is mass produced for mass consumption”. ABDC is a profitable television show, and I see no signs of it ending any time soon, as long as profit is being made.
Even with business taking advantage of the success in ABDC, I still find the show very helpful to the dance community and society as a whole. From my many years of dancing I’ve found that dancing helps those interested in learning how to dance, to stay in shape. It also gives a great sense of patience and self worth. Finally being able to flawlessly execute a move you have been practicing for many months is one of the greatest feelings you could have. All of that time and hard work finally pays off and you can see it with your own eyes. From this one tiny accomplishment, you also gain some self-confidence. If you could achieve something as difficult as learning how to dance, you may even feel that you can achieve anything, and that is a goal worth chasing. Watching ABDC opens the doors to many people to come and learn how to dance. It shows people something they may have never seen before, and inspires them to try it for themselves.
ABDC is starting to really hit its stride in the public eye. Thanks to the executive producer Randy Jackson, a few of the crews in the show, and all of the millions of viewers who tune in to watch the show and vote for their favorite crews every week, ABDC has earned its spot in popular culture today. By getting the masses interested in dancing and teaching them to never stop pursuing their dreams, even with a bit of selling marketable goods, “America’s Best Dance Crew” is helping to bring dance to the eyes of many people around the world. I have never seen so many people interested in dancing in all my life, at least not until after the show ABDC was released. ABDC is really starting to grow and spread dance all around the world. In fact, I wouldn’t even be surprised if the show kept getting bigger and bigger, until it reached the top of the pop culture food chain.
“MTV Has a Huge Night With the “2011 Movie Awards,” Part One of the Two-Night
Premiere of New Series “Teen Wolf,” and the Season Finale of “Randy Jackson Presents
America’s Best Dance Crew” :Part Two of the “Teen Wolf” Premiere Debuts in its Regular
Timeslot Tonight, Monday, June 6 at 10:00 p.m./9:00 p.m. CT. ” PR Newswire
6 June 2011 ProQuest Newsstand, ProQuest. Web. 21 Jun. 2011.
Jones, Jen. “Super Freaks.” Dance Spirit 14.1 (2010): 44-48. Academic Search
Complete. EBSCO. Web. 21 June 2011.
Krisanits, T.. ”America’s Best Dance Crew Makes Room to DANCE. ” Dance
Teacher 1 Aug. 2009: Research Library, ProQuest. Web. 21 Jun. 2011.
Lauren. “JABBAWOCKEEZ HIT THE ROAD.” Dance Spirit 12.8 (2008): 48.
Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 21 June 2011.
Storey, John. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture An Introduction. 5th ed. Harlow:
Pearson Education, 2009. Print.v
Or rather, just “Wanted”, as in the name of the movie. “Wanted” is an action movie about a regular guy who lives a pretty crappy life. What he didn’t know, was that he was the son of an elite assassin whom killed killers. He, like his father, was born with the special ability to increase their heart rate so incredibly fast, that their reflexes increased dramatically. For much of his life, he thought that it was caused by anxiety attacks due to stress. It wasn’t until the secret organization of assassins came looking him, that he discovered this power of his. This is what sets the premise for your typical action movie. A hero leading an average life style, unaware of his hidden talents, who then discovers them and begins his quest to save the world.
The characters in the movie almost mirror that of the great Star Wars legacy. A young hero who has special powers and is discovered by a group of other special powered people. The young hero is then trained and mentored for the purpose of acquiring vengeance for the death of his father. Unfortunately in both movies, the villain who was thought responsible for killing the hero’s father was actually his father.
The traits of the hero are, at first, a natural ability to have increased reflexes. Although he was not as refined as the other trained assassins, he showed great promise and potential to be the greatest assassin ever. The trait of the hero’s mentor was in helping the hero to refine his skills until the hero surpassed his mentor. The mentor unfortunately always finds some way to die. The trait of the villain is to give the hero a purpose for even training his skills to begin with. The villain never reveals that he is the father until the very end of the movie. The only person the villain cannot kill just so happens to be the hero, simply because the hero ends up being his son. The only one capable of defeating the villain is of course, the hero, for he has the abilities of his father, while at the same time, the father cannot bring himself to kill his own son. This scenario almost always ensures the hero’s successful killing of his father (the villain), only to find out that there was a greater villain behind it all, whom the hero must also kill, in order to bring justice to the deceived killing of his own father (more vengeance!!).
Seeing as how the movie was an action movie, it was jam packed with action throughout its entirety. It pretty much had all of your basic hero-ing activities. Such as really fast and cool car chases (with slow motion), dramatic clashing of weapons (with slow motion), leaping onto fast moving objects (with slow motion), and really big and exciting explosions (with slow motion). Oh yeah, and did I mention excessive use of slow motion? Funnily enough, it just so happened to be the hero’s “super power”. A great way to have ridiculous amounts of slow motion effects in a movie, don’t you think?
All of this ties together with how everything is a remix part 2. The fact that I was able to quickly identify this movie with another helps to enforce this idea. The movie “Wanted” took the idea from as many movies as possible, and then threw in slow motion to “remix” the ideas and shots. Slow motion has been done before too, so the slow motion effect isn’t even unique in its own right. In the end though, it is what we, as a society have come to accept. We may not notice it at once, without further investigation, but it’s there. Remixes, remakes, rehashes, whatever you want to call it, they exist now, and they will exist in the future. They will exist forever.
A show that I would consider to be a situation comedy would have to be Hannah Montana… Yes, I said it, Hannah freaking Montana. Now don’t judge me for choosing Hannah Montana as my T.V. show choice, because I don’t watch T.V. oh so much. I’m only choosing Hannah Montana because I seldom watch T.V and it is the only show I ever do watch. But I don’t watch it because I want to, but rather because my cousin is a big Hannah Montana fan and whenever I visit (which is often); I “have” to sit through many, many hours of Hannah Montana viewings. Let me requote, I “have” to sit through the 22 minute episodes. It’s not that bad of a television show either. I actually kind of find it quite entertaining. Although I wouldn’t find myself rushing to the T.V. to catch an episode. But for the purposes of this blog, I had to do just that…
The show Hannah Montana is about a girl living a double life. One as a celebrity pop star known as Hannah Montana, and the other as a regular girl known as Miley Stewart. From the plot of the show, it’s all too obvious that there are going to be many problems, and by many, I mean a lot. What makes the show Hannah Montana a sitcom would have to be the fact that it is littered with supposedly “funny” scenes. The reason I say “supposedly funny” is because there is a never ending laugh track throughout each and every episode. A laughing track to help guide all the mindless sheep-like people when to laugh, and also to give the illusion of company. It may seem like I hate the laughing tracks so much, but this is only because when I don’t find a scene to be funny and a laughing track goes off, I feel like I am at fault for not laughing, and that makes me sad. I do particularly enjoy the illusion of company the laughing tracks add, though. It makes me feel as if I have some real friends (I do have friends!!!).
Anyways, other than just a constant laughing track every 10 seconds, much of it just seems very sitcom-y. Sitcoms usually revolve around a family with a mom or dad, sometimes even both. A son and/or daughter, best friends of said characters, and a friend who causes trouble for everybody (Rico). In the show Hannah Montana, there is the father (Billy Stewart), son (Jackson Stewart), daughter (Miley Stewart), and best friend of Miley (Lily), plus the troublesome friend which no one likes (Rico).
In the episode I watched of Hannah Montana, Rico stops by the Stewarts house to show off his newly grown mustache. As Jackson promptly kicks Rico out of the house, Rico says Jackson is just angry because he can’t grow a mustache of such an elegant caliber. Half of the episode follows Jackson around as he tries many crazy and wacky ways to grow a mustache. Of course, to follow in suit of a typical sitcom, all of his attempts are rather unorthodox and silly, and well, they just didn’t work out.
The other half of the episode follows Miley around as she attempts to write a new song for her album. Unfortunately for her, her dad did all the song writing, and in this episode he was feeling a bit bitter about getting no credit for all his work, so he let Miley try her hand at song writing. This part of the episode followed Miley around as she and her best friend Lily tried to create a brand new song (To prevent any spoilers, I will refrain from saying any more).
The type of humor used in the show deals with a lot of dialogue and the occasional slapstick (like times when Jackson beats up Rico or vice versa), but mostly with dialogue, as it is a kids show. The humor is dependent on the Stewart family’s problems and misfortunes (Which they never run out of).
A Marxist would probably enjoy the show quite a bit, especially the part with Miley wanting to stay in the lower/middle class and avoid all the “evils” of a higher classed society. I really have no idea how the Marxist lens could shape the show and it neither adds nor takes away from the show because I don’t watch enough of the show to understand it too much, let alone watching television in general.
It was tough finding a music video that had to deal with contrasting gender issues. Not to mention finding one that made a “little” bit of sense and had good lyrics, let alone two!! But after some tough researching, I finally managed to find one, or rather two. I stumbled across a couple that had some contrasting points on the way we think about gender. One of the songs was “Irreplaceable” by Beyonce. The other was “The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars, if you hadn’t already guessed from my title.
I guess I’ll follow the rule of “ladies first” and start with Beyonce’s song “Irreplaceable”. In the music video Beyonce is standing around telling some man to get his things “to the left”. This “man” is her boyfriend, or rather, her “ex-boyfriend”. She makes him gather his belongings and take them out of her house. In short, she kicked him out. This is such a big deal because that’s not how we usually think of women. From reading “Cultural Theory and Popular Culture” by John Storey, women are usually the ones who are dependent on a man to be in charge and provide everything, whilst they do house hold chores and don’t own anything. But in this case, she is the strong “take charge” figure, and is the one who owns everything. The complete opposite of what we would tend to think. The story in the music video wasn’t so detailed to make me need to delve deeper or dissect anything. It was pretty simple overall. Beyonce kicked her boyfriend out, telling him she could get another man in a single minute. Then after that, there is suddenly a band of women behind her playing instruments and singing. I’m assuming that it’s to show everyone that “all” women (not just Beyonce) can be independent and that they don’t require a man to provide for them. The most amusing part to me was the ending. It ended with Beyonce opening the door, to find a brand new “man” waiting for her. Showing that she really could get another man in a minute. Yep, just one single minute.
Next on the list of music videos would be Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song”. This music video was also very simple, but it had the idea of contrast I was looking for. The music video plays up to the title of the song very well, in that it is completely “lazy”. It is just one continuous shot of Bruno Mars in his bedroom doing absolutely nothing, nothing except singing and dancing and goofing around. He even had friends in his room to join him “monkey around” (they were wearing monkey masks). The contrast I saw in this music video was because of what I’ve read from the book written by John Storey. The book says that men are seen as the tough, hard working, always in control kind of people. But this music video shows something different. It shows a pretty soft and gentle man, not working so hard. Actually, not working at all. He didn’t seem like the kind of man that would be able to provide a stable structure for a family. He just wasn’t the masculine type of figure that one would expect from a man. Simply put, he was not a typical iconic male figure.
Both of these music videos showed something different than what we would expect to see. In Beyonce’s video, it shows a woman being more masculine than feminine, being in charge of the household. And in Bruno Mars’ video, there was no femininity. We just see a man being “less” masculine from what would be expected. A man, who instead of working, loafs around and dances with monkeys. And as simple as the music video was, I actually found it really entertaining. I would even go so far as to say it was brilliant! If you could spare three and a half minutes, I’m almost certain that Bruno will be able to entertain you too. Go check it out if you haven’t seen it already. You won’t be disappointed. At least I hope not.
"YouTube - BeyoncÃ© - Irreplaceable.” YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 01 June 2011. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EwViQxSJJQ>.
"YouTube - Bruno Mars - The Lazy Song [Official Video].” YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 01 June 2011. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLexgOxsZu0>.
Storey, John. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture An Introduction. 5th ed. Harlow:
Pearson Education, 2009. Print.v
Facebook being pop culture? Hmm, I would still go with the decision I made during class, which was that Facebook “does” constitute pop culture. While there were some great examples against the idea of Facebook being pop culture, I just couldn’t shrug of the fact that Facebook is something that everybody knows about and/or uses. Facebook is somewhat like Google, yet all the while, completely different. The example of Facebook merely being a tool that people use is not quite the same as Google being a tool that people use. People use Google as a tool to find other websites or things of interest quickly and “somewhat” efficiently (personal opinion). Albeit, Google does have Gmail which allows you to mildly interact with others, but it is not on the same level as Facebook. Facebook is known as a “social network”. Being that it is a website where people can be “social” with one another and find all their old friends and reconnect with them. As a matter of fact, that is pretty much the “only” thing you do on Facebook. You chat with your old friends and look at the pictures they post up. People even form their own little “Facebook groups”, and by that I mean the people who seem to be really weird and lonesome. With the Facebook groups, these people could meet other “weird-o’s” like themselves that have the same interests and chat it up with people from around the world and finally “fit” in. Facebook is definitely a good example of pop culture; at least to me. It is just so mainstream and almost “dictates” people’s lives. Facebook is how a lot of people interact with each other these days. Most people feel the “need” to log onto Facebook at least once a day, if not more. Either to gain some news about what is going on with the world, or about their so called “friends”, or just because they are an eager beaver who hopes for someone to send them notifications via wall post. Seeing Facebook as something other than pop culture is understandable. But nonetheless, Facebook almost screams pop culture. It is undeniably something that, if for some reason ceased to be popular, would be remembered by everyone of this generation.
Facebook shapes popular culture by giving people a means to connect with one another more easily and find out things about your friends/family everyday lives that you probably would never have known about otherwise. It creates a social connection with many people whom you have met, or known at one point in your life, or for the few odd people who add every friend possible just to increase their friend count. Popular culture also affects Facebook in some ways too. Such as the creation of the Facebook games that people like to play. One popular game that most everybody knows about is “Farmville”. The game where you own a pretend farm and try to make it grow bigger and more prosperous. The success of that game has brought many people to join Facebook who would have not wanted to create a Facebook to begin with. One such person being my aunt. She logs onto Facebook solely to “plant” her “crops” and “reap” the fruits of her “labor”. Facebook then adapted to the desires of people and made it so that they could pay “real” money to acquire in-game money to buy more things for their farm. An example of the way popular culture “changed” Facebook. The funny thing is some people actually opted to pay for these “necessities”. Good thing my aunt isn’t “that” much of a fool.
Storey, John. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture An Introduction. 5th ed. Harlow:
Pearson Education, 2009. Print.v
Popular culture is a difficult term to define on its own. It is made up by two separate words. One being “popular” and the other being “culture”. To understand what popular culture is, you must first understand what “popular” and “culture” mean. The meaning of “popular” is essentially something that is accepted by the majority of people, or as what some would like to call, the “mainstream”. The meaning of “culture” are things that people believe in, or do regularly. Things such as religion, types of food, languages, history, etc. Popular culture, as stated in the book “Cultural Theory and Popular Culture” by John Storey, is defined by six different definitions (Storey, 5). The main thing that they all have in common is that they say popular culture only came to fruition because of industrialization and urbanization. It is pretty much the combination of culture and popular culture which depends on a capitalist market economy to exist (Storey, 13).
We should study popular culture because it is important to know what the majority of people in the world like or dislike. From studying pop culture, we could learn about how certain things affected the world in ways that nobody could have predicted. Such as the invention of Angry Bird merchandise, which came about due to the invention of the iPad; which when created, was probably planned to have simply been an eBook, but is now mostly seen as the platform of many fun apps.
I took this class for summer not only because I enjoyed the last English semester with you. But also because out of all the other English lit classes, learning about things that people like nowadays, seems way more interesting than reading about Shakespeare, or some other famous writer back in the day. It’s only been the first week of class and I’m already enjoying what we’re learning in class. Partially due to the fact that the teacher(you) manages to keep the class entertaining and fresh, whilst still having interesting materials to teach which relates to what we’re learning. I guess I want to learn about why a large majority of people like/dislike certain things and then make it the center of the entire world’s attention. Hopefully the question is answerable… But if not, then oh well. Tough luck.