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Host Cynthia Bemis Abrams asserts that American TV storytelling sometimes struggles with a good New Years plot.
Or it did until Linda Bloodworth-Thomason fired up her typewriter in 1989 to deliver the January 1, 1990 episode of Designing Women entitled “The First Day of the Last Decade of the Entire 20th Century.”
It is pure art, as performed by the four original actresses: Dixie Carter, Delta Burke, Jean Smart and Annie Potts. It’s written by creator and showrunner Linda Bloodworth Thomason, directed by co-creator husband Harry Thomason.
Yup, this was the one that included Charlene's dream with Dolly Parton. And then there’s the hair…
A few decisions transformed A Different World from a struggling, rudderless sitcom to the classic it became. Much of that was due to Debbie Allen stepping in as creative force and aligning the set, characters and plots to align more closely with an authentic Historically Black College & University (HBCU) experience.
Listen to the University of Michigan's nationally recognized Dr. Robin Means Coleman recount her research, which is found in essay form within Beretta Smith-Shomade's book Watching While Black: Centering the Television of Black Audiences.
It changed the use and capacity of a Public Service Announcement (PSA). Tune in to hear host Cynthia Bemis Abrams explore wow the ASPCA landed famed-Canadian feminist singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan and her hit, Angel.
Cynthia details the record-setting amount raised by the PSA effort and explores the tactics that raised visibility, yet invited discord.
Host Cynthia Bemis Abrams offers up a biographic profile of TV's "EveryWoman" Rosie O'Donnell. Cynthia details O'Donnell's humble beginnings and her early comedy roles in sitcoms that landed her a part in the film, A League of Their Own. Cynthia provides background into the occasionally controversial, award-winning talk and variety show O'Donnell hosted 1996-2002 and her distinctly American interest in celebrity.
Host Cynthia Bemis Abrams enjoyed researching how MTV launched careers beyond the original five VJs. Talented women creatives had a new outlet at the intersection of video, musical and visual arts. MTV's rise came as cable TV's coverage of middle America plugged MTV directly into consumer living rooms. Decades later, Cynthia observes, sexism in the industry is rarely discussed. She profiles of women on the business side, agents of performers and video artists.
Host Cynthia Bemis Abrams frames the appearance of the prime time serial drama genre of the 1970s, which began with Dallas and included Falcon Crest. Cynthia observes the role of audience bait (representation!) via the casting of acclaimed film actresses Barbara Bel Geddes and Jane Wyman. For TV, these women filled roles considered rare, older woman with quiet power vs. older woman with vocal, aggressive agency. Either way, it was long overdue representation of older woman.
NY Times best selling author Jennifer Keishin Armstrong dishes the details on her June 2018 book, Sex and the City and Us. Just as she did in her previous books on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Seinfeld, Armstrong delivers the full story of SATC's inspiration, creation, evolution, and epilogue.
Interview discusses fashion and Patricia Field, writing and Amy B. Harris and how they contribute to the HBO series' (1998-2004) legacy. We delve into the series' economic force and worldwide impact, changing the way women relate to one another, boundaries and taboos and introducing regular, realistic gay characters.
Women writers & directors bring a distinct lens to their jobs, so too have Dorothy Swanson and Liz Prugh led fan movements in ways that have benefited many. Hear more about how Swanson's "Viewers for Quality Television" grassroots efforts organized fans in the 80s & 90s to encourage and save excellent programming. Liz Prugh and her website, www.PureFandom.com is having similar impact, using a totally different set of tools.