Rosanne Welch, PhD, Author of Why The Monkees Matter, presents “How The Monkees Changed Television” at a Cal State Fullerton Lunch Lecture on May 8, 2018.
In this talk, she shows how The Monkees, and specifically their presence on television, set the stage for large changes to come in the late 1960s.
Then we come to what I’m going to talk about, which is the various major chapters in the book — how this show spread some social justice messages which was shocking and other shows will be canceled for having tried that — particularly The Smothers Brothers, Laugh-In got in trouble for it. This show, I didn’t realize as a kid until I looked at all 58 episodes over and over again to write the book actually said something about feminism because every single girl that dated one of these boys had a job. None of them was a bubble-headed cheerleader. None of them was just waiting around to marry someone to take care of her. They were all women with jobs. So, they might have been record stores and whatever, but they were jobs and I think that was an interesting message in 1966. I’ll also talk briefly about metatextuality, which is the big thing in critical studies. What — How were they speaking to the audience? Breaking the 4th wall. It’s a Shakespearian thing. For this show particularly, identity construction. These guys went through a lot because with how their names were actually used in the program. Just like Jerry Seinfeld, they went by their real names and this gets very confusing when fans want to understand “Are you really that goofy guy in the TV show?” “No I’m not.I’m actually a grown man and I have kids, but I can’t tell you that because then you won’t dream or fantasize about marrying me someday.” So that was the big deal on this show and it really harmed them in their later careers and then a little bit on the Cultural Caché — how much they’ve last over the years.
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About Rosanne Welch, PhD
Rosanne Welch, PhD is a writer, producer and university professor with credits that include Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences, Touched by an Angel and ABC NEWS/Nightline. Other books include Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop Culture (McFarland, 2017) and Women in American History: A Social, Political, and Cultural Encyclopedia and Document Collection (ABC-CLIO, 2017), named to the 2018 Outstanding References Sources List, by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association. Welch has also published chapters in Torchwood Declassified: Investigating Mainstream Cult Television (I.B.Tauris) and The American Civil War on Film and TV: Blue and Gray in Black and White and Color (Lexington Books, 2018) and essays in Doctor Who and Race: An Anthology and Outside In Makes it So, and Outside in Boldly Goes (both edited by Robert Smith). By day she teaches courses on the history of screenwriting and on television writing for the Stephens College MFA in Screenwriting programs. Her talk “The Importance of Having a Female Voice in the Room” at the 2016 TEDxCPP is available on YouTube.