Helms, Russell, 1963-
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
The movies, music, and TV shows of the late 20th century have far more staying power than the media that came before and after them. In the 21st century, we consume more media than ever, but we do not gather around the same small group of movies and TV shows in the way that people did decades ago. The M*A*S*H finale in 1983 was viewed by 121.6 million people, over half the population of the United States at that time; the finale of Game of Thrones, one of the most popular shows of the past decade, received around 15 million viewers. The rise of the internet has split viewers up between dozens of different streaming services, and the algorithms of apps like TikTok show viewers content that is specifically tailored to their interests. The huge variety of content available through streaming services and algorithms prevent any form of 21st century media from connecting with as many people as something like the M*A*S*H finale did, and the media from before the 20th century had no technological means of reaching that many people at all. Thus, the media of the late 20th century was released during the perfect technological era between radio and the internet, a time when media could reach mass audiences and mass audiences didn’t yet have the option to watch the specialized content of internet algorithms.
B. A.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Arts.
Television actors and actresses--Fiction; Situation comedies (Television programs)--Fiction; Television--Social aspects
90 unnumbered leaves
Sanford, Benjamin, "The immortal laugh track: 20th century technology and media monoculture" (2023). Honors Theses.