Cover image for Prime times : writers on their favorite television shows
Title:
Prime times : writers on their favorite television shows
Author:
Bauer, Douglas.
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Crown, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
223 pages ; 22 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
Pt 1. At the moment ; The west wing / Nick Hornby ; America, America, this is you / Elizabeth McCracken ; Days of our lives / Susan Perabo ; The tribe has spoken / Phyllis Rose ; pt. 2. Role models ; Father knows best / Susan Cheever ; The great ones / Barry Hannah ; The Andy Griffith show / Jill McCorkle ; Beam me up, Scotty: Star Trek / James Alan McPherson ; Bring back Big Valley / Jayne Anne Phillips ; The wound and the bow: Howard Cosell and Monday night football -- pt. 3. Thanks for being there ; Rob and Laura and the Little garage / Richard Bausch ; Like Robinson Crusoe / Lan Samantha Chang ; The Mary Tyler Moor show / Nora Ephron ; Infomercials / Stephen McCauley ; You are not alone: MST3K, Lost in space, and reality of science fiction / Douglas Rushkoff -- pt. 4. Great Escapes ; A life of danger / April Bernard ; Masterpiece Theatre / Michael Gorra ; Dreamhouse / Virginia Heffernan ; Hawaii 5-0 / Mark Leyner ; The Twilight Zone / Alan Lightman -- pt. 5. In the beginning ; The world in black and white / Sven Birkerts ; Amos 'n Andy and civil rights on TV / Henry Louis Gates, Jr. ; Gracie and me / Lloyd Schwartz.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9781400047543
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

The literary mind and the boob tube are often thought to have little in common, but the two have been trysting in dimly lit rooms since television's earliest days. To prove the point, Doug Bauer asked a number of the finest writers of our time to reveal their own forays into a medium that has been called everything from a vast wasteland to the electronic dream machine of the global village. The results are surprising, passionate, very personal, and often downright hilarious. From Nora Ephron onThe Mary Tyler Moore Showto Nick Hornby onThe West Wing, Susan Cheever onFather Knows Bestto Henry Louis Gates Jr. onAmos 'n' Andy, the full range of televised fare is captured--sitcoms and soaps, police dramas and reality TV, the very new and the very old, and the much criticized and denounced and the truly iconic and beloved. Prime Timesis an eclectic gathering of autobiography, memory, and blade-sharp observation, all bound by the common--and, after all, literary--experience of watching other people's lives while trying to understand one's own.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Better than most of the TV we watch, this collection offers commissioned essays from 23 established writers on their favorite programs, including The West Wing, The Mary Tyler Moore Show0 , The Andy Griffith Show0 , and more. Readers will enjoy the trip down memory lane, but they may be disappointed to find many of the authors less concerned about TV than about "Me." Still, there's Nick Hornby on West Wing:0 "Bartlet's people are smart, ironic, and thoughtful; that's how we know that what we're watching is only a TV show." Henry Louis Gates Jr. on TV in the 1950s: "Seeing somebody colored on TV was an event. 'Colored, colored, on Channel Two,' you'd hear someone shout." In his poignant essay, David Shields convinces us of the importance of Howard Cosell. And, to our amazement, Elizabeth McCracken makes a strong case for America's Funniest Home Videos0 : "It won't erase my problems, but it sure as hell won't remind me of them." Good fun and a bit of pop cultural history, too. --Alan Moores Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Bauer (Prairie City, Iowa) creates a pop culture junkie's dream in this anthology of essays about television by many of today's most popular writers: Nick Hornby dissects the allure of The West Wing, Elizabeth McCracken hilariously confesses her adoration of America's Funniest Home Videos, Jill McCorkle waxes nostalgic about The Andy Griffith Show. Personal examination, program dissection, social commentary and mere recollection share the pages of this lighthearted yet uneven collection. The essays work best when they move beyond the show. Lloyd Schwartz credits his love of language to Burns and Allen. Gilligan's Island becomes a profound backdrop for Lan Samantha Chang's reminiscence of her own cultural isolation in Wisconsin. In contrast, Nora Ephron's paean to Mary Richards reveals little of the show or of Ephron, and James Alan McPherson's theoretical examination of Star Trek feels incongruous among the more compelling personal pieces. The biggest flaw is the assumption that readers know the programs discussed. Mark Leyner's take on Hawaii Five-O, for example, will baffle those who haven't seen the show. With the skill of the writers and the wealth of material, this book succeeds by doing what most literature hopes to discourage: it inspires the reader to put down the book and turn on the television. (Aug.) Forecast: A regional NPR campaign will boost awareness, and Three Rivers will simultaneously publish a paperback edition ($12.95 -8114-9). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Hoping to create a "social mosaic," editor Bauer gathered essayists and novelists and then unleashed them on the subject of TV's 50-plus years of popular culture. Of course, the results are idiosyncratic, uneven, and intensely personal. Novelist Nick Hornby gives a Brit's appreciation of The West Wing, while English professor Lloyd Schwartz attributes his love of language to Gracie Allen of The Burns and Allen Show. Other bright spots include North Carolina-born novelist Jill McCorkle's childhood identification with the fictional residents of Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show. On the other hand, screenwriter-director Nora Ephron contributes a routine valentine to The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and essays on the reality show Survivor and Monday Night Football sportscaster Howard Cosell are provocative but run much too long. Essays on Father Knows Best, The Big Valley, and other old TV shows offer a refreshing change from the usual writings of professional critics, and the publisher might want to consider turning this venture into an annual publication. Recommended for large public and academic libraries. Stephen Rees, Levittown Regional Lib., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.