“Sincerity” as Quality TV? Sport, Community, and the Post-Network Era

Curator's Note

The Red state v. Blue state political/geographic myth is used by TV executives, producers, and critics as a short-hand reference for TV audiences and program "quality." Programs with presumed Blue state appeal are characterized as ironic, self-aware, and appealing to a coastal, "niche" audience that likes TV that's "not TV." Programming with imagined Red state appeal has been identified as lacking "luster," "square," and traditional in ways that appeal to a "homogeneous," multi-generational, "flyover" audience. We need to complicate these presumptive categories of audience and capital in ways that are reflective of the actual polity and removed from geographic myth--a "purple" logic for theorizing TV that is TV; those genres, series, and mass-audience appeal programs that, in fact, resist such categorization. Indeed, how do the lush, poetic, and often elegiac aesthetic and narrative of Friday Night Lights, network branding through sport, sport programming, and the viewer demography of each suggest a more deeply nuanced reality?


Affect's allegedy connection to geography is vexing. While this is a tendency of rhetoric from both ends of the political spectrum, I hate how complicit so many avowed Lefties are in this schema. We do tremendous rhetorical violence to the potentialities of progressive politics when we freeze out the locations in which we can imagine them. Even in jest, there needs to be a better way to "locate" the metonymies of conservatism than un-self-consciously tossing them into our geographic center.....

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