Metamodernism in Television: BoJack Horseman and Flawed Heroes, with Arielle Bernstein (WiM Conversations)

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WiM Conversations is a series of videos in which we chat with other theorists, artists and culture-makers who involve themselves with metamodernism.

Our second guest is Arielle Bernstein, a writer and cultural critic whose work has been featured in The Atlantic, The Guardian, A.V. Club, Salon, and The Week, among other publications. She is a Senior Professorial Lecturer at American University in Washington, D.C.

In this video we discuss some of our favorite exemplars of metamodern aesthetic sensibilities in contemporary television. Themes include: flawed saviors and metamodern anti-heroes, portrayals of mental health crises and therapy/counseling on TV, hybrids and human-animal natures, ironesty, the wonder of ordinariness, the power of built/fantastical worlds, especially in adult animation, why the metamodern sensibility frequently gives rise to comedic or “dramedic” products, and teaching empathy. The main works discussed are Bojack Horseman, Breaking Bad, Shameless, Community, The Good Place; with brief mentions of WandaVision, Rick and Morty, Mr. Robot, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ramy, Freaks and Geeks, Seinfeld (as postmodern), and Mumblecore (as a metamodern film genre).

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