One thing I like about the New York Times style section is that occasionally it spotlights interesting movements outside NYC. Typically, they are mocking hipster culture or wholesale embracing it, or they are hand waving about teens today. Sometimes they deplore the treatment of models, but usually, they just try to make the rest of us seem uncool, which, of course, we are. But today’s Sunday Style (on the whole, less egregious than the Thursday Style section, which I tend to read for laughs) discusses the new urban dance movement called jerking. It seems like the perfect mash-up of resurgent 80s trends, hip hop, You-Tube, the do it yourself movement, and the exuberance of youth. I fully expect an episode of Glee to feature it.
Somewhere in all of the swirl of musical elan and mash-up culture is an essay brewing. There is some strange converegence between new media, television, music, musicals, and dance. I want to credit Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog for being the game changing piece, but shows like Pushing Daisies also pushed the genre boundary on how we intersect music and serial storytelling. I’m not even sure if I want to use the term television anymore; it seems so narrow for how we consume and experience visual serials today. I know, as much as I don’t want to admit it, that American Idol has something to do with the ways that music and television are becoming fused together, but it most certainly isn’t the whole story. It perhaps sparked a re-emerging interest in musicals, but it isn’t the dizzy fantasy swirl of Pushing Daisies or the crazy warmth of Glee. High School Musical definitely plays a large role in this new genre. But I really think the writer’s strike and Dr. Horrible coelsced things.
I guess I really need to put That’s Entertainment into my netflix queque.