Posted by: Garret | September 27, 2014

No Guts, No Glory: The Rise of Gross-Out TV

The Strain's "banned" billboard, courtesy of 20th Century Fox & Rolling Stone

The Strain’s “banned” billboard, courtesy of 20th Century Fox & Rolling Stone

We are definitively seeing this merger between B-movie aesthetics and High Definition spectacle on Television or Televisual Programming and it communicates a number of implications regarding the medium being utilized, the industry-in-transition, the shifting economics, improving technologies, audience taste, and perhaps most unnerving the allegorical ramifications such content suggests. In a handful of works, I’ve teased the introduction of the “Rotten Aesthetic” as a newfound genre convention explicitly endorsed in/by the television industry. Indeed, like all good genre, this aesthetic comprises fluent mixtures of ‘imitation and innovation’ (Cawelti, 1977, Kaminsky, 1985, Alman, 1999, & Phillips, 2005). As I’ve been drawing research on this specific phenomenon within the contemporary mediascape since 2010, the practice represents not a flighty wave but a legitimate narrative entanglement between the TV Studies tiers of Industry-Audience-Content-Context. I look forward to sharing more depth and detail at the National Communication Association 100th Annual Convention in Chicago, November 20-23, 2014 (specifically the morning of the 23rd). In the meantime, we’ll all keep watching and waiting for the next shock to set-in and/or wear off.


This post originally appeared on Rolling Stone.

Maybe you started to notice it last March, when AMC’s The Walking Dead featured a zombie’s head gets bashed in repeatedly by the butt of a machine gun. Perhaps it was during a key episode of Game of Thrones when the Red Viper, Oberyn Martell, unwisely lets his guard down in a fight — and the result is something that resembles a ripe melon given the Gallagher treatment. Or it could have been the moment on FX’s pandemic procedural-cum-horror show The Strain when an airport worker is drained of blood and skull-pummeled until there’s nothing left but a red blotch of punctuation on the floor.

And those are just the heads.

On television shows built for old-fashioned scares (NBC’s Hannibal, Showtime’s Penny Dreadful) and on those aiming for a little more prestige (Steven Soderbergh’s new Cinemax series The Knick, HBO’s

View original post 969 more words


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Professional Wrestling Studies Association

Studying the Past, Present, and Future of Professional Wrestling

Feminist Frequency

Conversations with Pop Culture; feminist analysis of race, gender, class, sexuality and privilege in pop culture

The Motley View

The Journal of Film, Art and Aesthetics ISSN 2049-4254

Foreign Policy

the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

critical media scholar

Occupy Madison - Tiny Houses & More!

Changing the world, one tiny idea at a time

Speak Up: Speech & Debate Education

A Forum for Speech Arts Educators

The Cultural COMMune

The Sacred Space of Discourse


Sports and pop culture from our rotating cast of writers


Preparing students for tomorrow with USA TODAY

Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media

A refereed journal addressing all aspects of cult media

Cultural Learnings

Television Reviews and Analysis


People and Trends


Current & Breaking News | National & World Updates

%d bloggers like this: