Rosanne Welch talks about “Why The Monkees Matter” with Jean Hopkins Power
Jean Powergirl takes the host reigns and welcomes her guest Rosanne Welch, PhD to the show! They’ll be discussing Roseanne’s book, “Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop Culture.”
Jean: So here we finally have television trying to deal with these difficult issues, but in a way that made a difference to people.
Rosanne: I think so. It made people start talking about those things in their own lives and that’s what TV’s always done. We credit Will & Grace with giving us a weekly gay character who came into people’s homes and it made people start talking about issues like gay marriage and gay adoption and things like that. So it’s really — people don’t realize — we think movies are influential, but you choose what movies you’re going to go see. You choose with your money to pay for those messages. So, often movies are preaching to a choir. TV comes into your home uninvited. You don’t know what you’re going to stumble upon when you change the channel and so there’s more of an ability to find things you didn’t think you wanted to know about.
Jean: Right, because it was there and it was free. So everyone’s going to sit down that evening — you’re not going out to a movie to watch something controversial and go “Let’s start flipping the channels. Oh look at these kids running around. That’s pretty funny”
Rosanne: Exactly. It attracted — the energetic feel of the show and that they were cute young boys made them pay attention.
A hit television show about a fictitious rock band, The Monkees (1966-1968) earned two Emmys–Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy. Capitalizing on the show’s success, the actual band formed by the actors, at their peak, sold more albums than The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined and set the stage for other musical TV characters from The Partridge Family to Hannah Montana. In the late 1980s, the Monkees began a series of reunion tours that continued into their 50th anniversary.
This book tells the story of The Monkees and how the show changed television, introducing a new generation to the fourth-wall-breaking slapstick created by Laurel and Hardy and the Marx Brothers. Its creators contributed to the innovative film and television of 1970s with projects like Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Laugh-In and Welcome Back, Kotter. Immense profits from the show, its music and its merchandising funded the producers’ move into films such as Head, Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces.
Rosanne Welch, PhD has written for television (Touched by an Angel, Picket Fences) and print (Three Ring Circus: How Real Couples Balance Marriage, Work and Kids and The Encyclopedia of Women in Aviation and Space). In the documentary world she has written and produced Bill Clinton and the Boys Nation Class of 1963 for ABC NEWS/Nightline and consulted on PBS’s A Prince Among Slaves, the story of a prince from West Africa who was enslaved in the 1780s, freed by order of President John Quincy Adams in the 1820s and returned to his homeland.