The Talking Cure: TV Talk Shows and Women, by Shattuc,Jane M.
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- ISBN: 9780415910880 | 0415910889
- Cover: Nonspecific Binding
- Copyright: 1/22/1997
InThe Talking Cure, critic Jane Shattuc takes a hard look at television talk shows, a TV genre that in many ways is for and about women. Tracing the genre from the four top nationally syndicated shows of the 1980s--Donahue,theThe Oprah Winfrey Show, GeraldoandSally Jessy Raphael--to the rise of theRicki Lakephenonmenon of the 1990s, Jane Shattuc offers a new take on how talk shows and their audiences interact. Much of talk show culture is grounded, Shattuc argues, in feminist politics, a stand that is not always the aim of the television industry. Analyzing programs as diverse as "Transsexuals: You're Not the Man I Married" and "Serial Killers: The Sunset Murders," she reveals how television as an institution needs to appeal to women, but also wants to channel female desires: the industry resorts to fears, sensations, and stereotypes so that its viewers will want what TV wants them to want. At their worst, these shows are television at its mostexploitative, where socially marginal people are paraded for profit. Yet at their best, these same talk shows provide a rare public forum for working-class women and women of different sexual orientations. In many ways, these talk shows, by popularizing feminist identity politics, represent American TV at its most radical.The Talking Curelooks at how these contradictory impulses work, offering a refreshingly complex view of one of the most controversial faces of popular culture. programming (Oprahgarnering 19 million viewers per show). They serve as one of the few public forums where women from the working class and with different sexual orientations have a voice. In many ways, these talk shows represent American TV at its most radical as they popularize feminist identity politics. Without adopting an overly naive view of the benevolence of corporate captialism,Jane Shattucexamines the tension between talk's feminist politics and the television industry. Intheir need to appeal to women and channel the female desires, the television institution trades on sensation, stereotypes and fears in order to engender product consumption. However, this genre is not a simple, one way form of social interaction. The female audience complies and resists in a complex give-and-take, and it is this relationship whichThe Talking Cureaims to understand and reveal.