NBC’s Saturday Night

Lorne Michaels vision for Saturday Night Live, an American late variety show, came to life on the night of  October 11, 1975 premiering on, well you could’ve guessed, NBC. Saturday night live was a hit in family homes all across America. Reaching an audience range many shows couldn’t. The goal of SNL wasn’t just to get that quality audience, however get the audience the other shows couldn’t get. This late night comedy stared weekly celebrity host and musical guest with that formula your guaranteed to get people watching. If it wasn’t for the show it was for whoever was going to be on it that week. This is just a pure example of television and the family. NBC’s Saturday Night gives families the opportunity to sit down and enjoy a show together.

With cast members like  John Belushi and Chevy Chase each week something new was going to happen. Thats what keeps this show running from day one is each episode is never going to be the same as the previous. Each celebrity host puts there own twist on it and the cast is there to back up there image and put on a show. The range of cast members this show has gone through is hard to look at and think that they’re still on the air. As of Season 44, SNL has featured close to 150 cast members. Thats what keeps so many people watching and shows how when reviews go down and they do have a rough season, they have something new coming that can bring them right back up. So for the families that eat dinner in the living room, or the families that eat dinner, and then go to the living room to watch that late night Saturday time slot. I bet it was SNL.

Because SNL was such a good example of Television and the family it brought in all sorts of commercials and sellers trying to put they’re product in the late night time slot rather than the prime time.  In 1975 and 1976, they were the most desirable demographic for television advertisers. In this era of Broadcast Television, adds where everything. The way SNL brought something new to the table shows how much of an impact it was and still is for telivision and families.

– Drake Nickolaison

Tele-visuality in Narcos Intro


Narcos is an American crime drama web television series. Set and filmed in Colombia, seasons 1 and 2 are based on the story of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, who became a billionaire through the production and distribution of cocaine. The series also focuses on Escobar’s interactions with drug lords, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, and various opposition entities. The use of televisuality is a big reason for the success of this show especially in the intro. The intro clip alone has well over 7 million views on youtube.

When I first started watching Narcos, even after the first few episodes I never skipped the intro because the columbian music in the background is very entertaining but, it drew me in the most because I feel like it fits the personality of the main antagonist Pablo Escobar very well. He’s relaxed and always enjoying himself and the intro music emulates that. But, at the same time it contrast his evil side and the problems he caused in Columbia. Also, another big reason this intro is so interesting to me is because it shows real life footage of Pablo Escobar and his reign. Throughout the intro you see everything from, women, drugs, money, DEA agents, Escobar himself riding motorcycles and smiling, explosions, gridlock maps tracing Escobars moves, suspects and witnesses being X’d out, along with Pablo’s Mansion, and exotic zoo animals. After watching a few episodes and getting an understanding for the show you would think maybe Colombia’s drug war wasn’t so bad. Then you’ll realize that is exactly what the producers wanted you to think.

The Narcos intro exploits everything that was going wrong in colombia in the 80’s while at the same time glamorizing it with flashes of money, beaches, and attractive women. Depending on where your from, the type of TV you usually watch, and other factors, the intro will make you almost want to be Pablo, but the forensic theme and various clips of drug bust and chaos will make you second guess that and want to be the DEA agent responsible for catching him. There is so much chaos in the intro you’ll wonder how do they catch this guy and is selling cocaine really that bad? I believe this is why the show was able to keep viewers and be brought back for multiple seasons, it always straddle the line between paradise and chaos and people want to see that. The show has been rated 8.8/10 stars on IMDb and has been nominated for many awards, including 2 golden globes.

Kea’Shaun Phillips


The Jetsons: Who Needs Color in the Future Anyways?”

The Jetsons is an animated cartoon series about the nuclear Jetsons family living in a futuristic world. The show aired on ABC for its first season in 1962. After years of reruns, The Jetsons returned with new seasons on ABC, CBS, and NBC, from 1986 to 1987. It was the first show in color on ABC, and one of the first shows to be on all of the Big Three at the time.

Broadcast and cable have always been in competition. Viewers tuned into cable more often because there were more networks available than broadcast. It was clever of the producers of The Jetsons to broadcast on ABC, CBS, and NBC, during the post-network era because it gave the show the leg up with more air time, and more outlets to watch it from. As opposed to cable, yes having many networks, but shows were instead aired on single networks. Viewers were able to watch their respective shows on one of the Big Three broadcast networks, then watch The Jetsons without the interruption of having to change the channel.

Although The Jetsons technically had 3 seasons, it is accredited for only having one since further seasons came out 20+ years later. The Jetsons was going to be ahead of its time with its color televisuality. The bright neon colors were supposed to transport the audience, painting a futuristic world of robot maids, floating cars, and jetpacks. Instead, it fell through to its then audience, due to the noncolor/color dynamic. The show was produced and broadcasted in color, but less than 3% of households could view it in color, because a color tv was needed. The show was made to be bold and captivate its viewers with various shades of blues and purples as the floating carships zipped through the sky. But instead, there was dull shades of gray.

I chose two clips, one to show it in black and white, and another to show color. The black and white clip is a 1963 promotional commercial for The Jetsons. Without color the scenes are dull and only the use of advanced technology is alerting the viewers that they are in the future. Color advances the televisuality by creating depth in the scenes, and by making everything in general more appealing.

-Nina-Simone Avery

Televisuality in Hell’s Kitchen Intro


Hell’s Kitchen is an American reality show which pits two teams of chefs against each other in order to become head chef at a restaurant. The show is broadcasted on Fox and is in its 18th season since its start in 2005. The show is hosted by chef Gordon Ramsay, who is infamous for his unforgiving criticism of the chefs as they perform tasks to avoid elimination from the competition, giving the show it’s remarkable name.

Hell’s Kitchen sits at #13 on imdb’s list of top reality TV shows for 2019. While ratings have slowly begun to decline, the show has had a successful run in the 18 seasons it’s been on the air. It could be argued that the reason for this is partly due to the show’s distinct theme on a popular show format, and the televisuality that follows such theme. The intro to the show is the strongest example of the show’s distinct visuality which plays on the theme of the harshness and cruelty of Ramsay’s criticism. The 30 second clip is filled with striking graphics of a hellish kitchen and restaurant with shattering reflections, the set and contestants’ photos in flames, and even fire appearing in Ramsay’s eyes.

Taking a look at the visuals used in Hell’s Kitchen’s intro reveals that some television series today are continuing to use the tactic of flaunting and displaying a unique and flashy style in order to maintain viewership. In Caldwell’s article on televisuality, he wrote that programs will strive for “identifiable style-markers and distinct looks in order to gain audience share within the competitive broadcast flow”. The hellish twist on a common cooking show theme provided viewers with a program that brought unique aesthetic and conceptual components not seen together before on television. The intro provides an eye-catching and brief, yet exciting, look at the characteristics of the show to come, leaving the viewer intrigued and waiting for more.

Lauren Brown


Start at 5:59 or watch the whole thing, it’s not their best sketch but representative of a recent political situation. In the clip above, the set up of the skit is in the popular “deal or no deal” show in which Kenan Thompson plays Steve Harvey and Alec Baldwin reprises his popular portrayal of Donald Trump. Trump chooses briefcases in which politicians are holding different values (in the briefcase) or they are shown saying or doing something that represents their perceived character. For example, Senator Cory Booker opens his briefcase to simply exclaim “Booker 2020!” because of his well-known candidacy for the upcoming election. Senator Mitch McConnell is also shown referencing his shy turtle-like demeanor and in a next scene as a reference to being blind-folded like in the popular drama film, Bird Box. In this skit there are obvious caricatures of political officials and pop culture icons such as Cardi B. If you are a person watching SNL, it is clear that you must have an affinity for comedy, politics, or popular culture. There are thousands of examples of sketches similar to these as well as ones dealing with less political concepts and more menial references with silly or surprising characters.

Saturday Night Live (SNL) is the longest running network television program in the United States and first aired in 1975 (then called “NBC’s Saturday night). There is typically a celebrity guest star introducing the show and a musical performance in the middle, in addition to the either lengthy or short (5-15 minute) skits throughout the show’s time slot. SNL reflects our society from a comedic and typically liberal perspective on politicized content and a representation of popular culture phenomena and terminology (ex: using words like “lit”, which may also translate to “youth or millennial” culture). Thusly, SNL can also be reduced to a random selection of capitol hill critiques and framed productions of comedic characters and situations that a wide range of media-consuming Americans can interpret. The selected audience for SNL is likely middle-class, politically-aware, socially-aware (or keeps up with popular culture) and liberal-leaning. In terms of a family audience, it may be that in the past families watched SNL together in the living room but today with online streaming perhaps it is a less common occurrence.

Violence, Nudity, and Vulgar Language in Rick and Morty

Nikki Hoseus

A recent television series that shows how the end of the television code affected the portrayal of sex, violence and other “risqué” scenes is Rick and Morty.

Rick and Morty is a cartoon that involves mythical creatures and worlds that are surrounded by violence, profanity, alcohol abuse, and dysfunctional family relationships. This is typical of television in this day and age. However, this show would never air, let alone get approved by a network before television code was done away with. Television codes were standards that networks followed for their shows in regards for family viewing purposes, adult approval, and steered clear of nudity, violence, or bad language. These standards were instilled because television was so new and centered around family values.

One specific episode that includes vulgar language, nudity, and extreme violence is Episode 6, Season 3, titled “Rest and Ricklaxation”. This episode aired August 27, 2017. The specific scene I have chosen to analyze is the fight scene between the main character, Rick and his evil self, Toxic/Evil Rick. In this clip, Evil Rick begins by swearing at Rick. These curse words are not censored, unless they include the F word. After Evil Rick and Rick cuss each other out they begin to physically fight. Blood splatters everywhere and furniture is destroyed. At times, the fight occurs in front of Rick’s younger grandchildren.

Before the end of the television code a show, especially a cartoon, would not include any of these indecent aspects. The Network Era, also known as the Broadcast Era, was between the 1940s to the 1980s, only aired television shows that were created specifically household viewing. These series were centered around family. They typically depicted a house wife, her husband and their family. They had kid-friendly humor that also related to the adults. Even during the Post Network Era, which occurred between the 1980s and 2000s, television was not taboo.

Rick and Morty, is a series that definitely shows how standards, values, and entertainment have changed since the end of television code. The specific episode I analyzed has scenes and events that networks, and producers would never dream of airing or writing. In a matter of forty years people consider this type of television normal and do not consider it shocking at all. Whereas, people would riot or boycott television if this was broadcasted in the Network Era or Post Network Era.

Privacy Statement