Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop Culture by Dr. Rosanne Welch Now Available (Updated)



Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop Culture
by Dr. Rosanne Welch

Now available from McFarland


Listen to The Zilch podcast with Rosanne discussing this new book
** Rosanne’s interview starts at 29:15


From 1966-1968 NBC aired The Monkees on Mondays at 7:30pm, opposite Gilligan’s Island on CBS and Iron Horse on ABC.  During that time Raybert Productions, headed by Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson, produced 58 half-hours of what Time Magazine contributor James Poniewozik recently described as “far better TV than it had to be.

During an era of formulaic domestic sitcoms and wacky comedies, it was a stylistically ambitious show, with a distinctive visual style, absurdist sense of humor, and unusual story structure that was commercial, wholesome, and yet impressively weird.”

Originally, the producers conceived The Monkees as a response to the youth and music movement of the early 60s, a time when every young person seemed to be slinging a guitar on their back and hoping to change the world.  In the shadow of Hard Day’s Night the producers cast four relative unknowns who could act, sing and play instruments – Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith – and hired Jim Frawley to teach them improvisation and become their in-house director. Beyond mere fame, The Monkees deserves ranking as a TV Cultural and Comedy Classic because, according to Micky Dolenz, “It brought long hair into the living room and changed the way teenagers were portrayed on television.  It made it okay to have long hair in the same way Henry Winkler as the Fonz late made it okay to wear a black leather jacket and Will Smith in Fresh Prince of Bel Air made it okay to be to be young, black and like rap.”

The Monkees logo

From an artistic standpoint the show introduced a new generation of viewers to the kind of fourth-wall-breaking, slapstick comedy created by Laurel and Hardy and the Marx Brothers as well as to the idea of friends in their late teens living on their own without adult advice or supervision, a powerful idea at the height of the Vietnam war.

While there is continued controversy over the fact that the musical group has yet to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, time has shown that the television show deserves the accolades it earned.  Now it deserves a deeper reading and that is exactly what The Metatexual Menagerie That Was The Monkees will provide.

Go beyond the fandom and delve deeply into what The Monkees meant to “the young generation” and to our current world.

Chapters will include:

  1. Introduction: I’m (Still) a Believer
  2. Sweet Young Thing: Contextualizing The Monkees with a Short History of Teenagers on Television
  3. Authorship on The Monkees: Who Wrote The Monkees and what was that Something They Had to Say?
  4. Look Out, Here Comes Tomorrow: Counter-Culture Comes to Television and Middle America via The Monkees
  5. The Kind of Girl I Could Love: Feminism, Gender and Sexuality in The Monkees
  6. Shades of Grey: An Ethnic Studies look at Minority Representation on The Monkees
  7. We Were Made for Each Other: The Monkees Menagerie of Metatextuality
  8. We Were Made for Each Other: The Sequel: Nascent Television Aesthetic Techniques on The Monkees
  9. A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You Identity Construction and Confusion on The Monkees
  10. 9 Theme(s) from The Monkees: Narrative Structure, Literary References and Themes on The Monkees
  11. Salesman / What am I Doing Hangin’ Round? The Cultural Collateral of The Monkees
  12. Music Innovation and the seeds of MTV
  13. I’ll Be True To You: Fandom and The Monkees

Dr. Rosanne Welch teaches screenwriting in the RTVF Department at California State University, Fullerton and for the Stephens College MFA in Screenwriting.  As a television writer/producer her credits include Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences and Touched by an Angel. She has been published a chapter in Torchwood Declassified: Investigating Mainstream Cult Television (I.B.Tauris); and an essay in Doctor Who and Race:  An Anthology and co-edited The Encyclopedia of Women in American History (ABC-CLIO).  Her fondness for The Monkees began while sitting in front of a small, black-and-white kitchen television at the age of five.

Why Monkees Matter: The Writing Staff of The Monkees Brought the 1960s Counter Culture to Pre-Teens
Presented at the Cal Poly Pomona President’s Symposium

Dr. Welch is available for interviewa on Why The Monkees Mattered and The Monkees in general. She is a long-time fan of The Monkees and extremely knowledgeable on both The Monkees television show and their music. She has given several presentations on The Monkees in college classrooms across Southern California at the Cal Poly Pomona President’s Symposium.

** Contact Dr. Rosanne Welch at rosanne@welchwrite.com or by phone at 818-804-5049

Update (July 3, 2016): Why The Monkees Matter Now Available on Kindle Reader, Smartphones and Tablets! – 

Checking Amazon.com just now, I see that “Why The Monkees Matter” is available for purchase in Kindle format.

You can read the book immediately on your Kindle device OR on your smartphone, tablet or personal computer using the free Kindle App or web site.

(The print edition is still marked “Pre-Order” on Amazon, but I expect that to change after the July 4th holiday).

You can buy your copy of “Why The Monkees Matter” and start reading in seconds — perhaps while you enjoy some holiday hammock time on your own “Pleasant Valley Sunday”!

Update (June 30, 2016): I have received reports that people who pre-ordered directly from the publishers have started to receive their books. Yea! The book is also currently available as an Amazon Kindle Editon for your immediate purchase and download. Amazon still shows the Print Edition as Pre-Order but I expect that to change any minute.

Update (April 25, 2016): Why The Monkees Matter is now available for pre-order from Amazon.com using the links below! Pre-Order “Why The Monkees Matter” today!

Update (April 8, 2016): Our first level of pre-orders are open today! You can pre-order “Why The Monkees Matter” directly from the publishers, MacFarland, on their web site. — Pre-Order “Why The Monkees Matter” today!

Update (March 7,2016): The “final” title has been approved and, unfortunately, the publication date has been moved back to Fall 2016. That said, this still allows you to make it a great Holiday gift for all your Monkee Fan friends and family — Rosanne

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