Camp TV

Trans Gender Queer Sitcom History

Camp TV

Console-ing Passions: Television and Cultural Power

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Book Pages: 232 Illustrations: Published: May 2019

Author: Quinlan Miller

Gender and Sexuality > Queer Theory, Trans Studies, Media Studies > TV

Sitcoms of the 1950s and 1960s are widely considered conformist in their depictions of gender roles and sexual attitudes. In Camp TV Quinlan Miller offers a new account of the history of American television that explains what campy meant in practical sitcom terms in shows as iconic as The Dick Van Dyke Show as well as in more obscure fare, such as The Ugliest Girl in Town. Situating his analysis within the era's shifts in the television industry and the coalescence of straightness and whiteness that came with the decline of vaudevillian camp, Miller shows how the sitcoms of this era overflowed with important queer representation and gender nonconformity. Whether through regular supporting performances (Ann B. Davis's Schultzy in The Bob Cummings Show), guest appearances by Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly, or scripted dialogue and situations, industry processes of casting and production routinely esteemed a camp aesthetic that renders all gender expression queer. By charting this unexpected history, Miller offers new ways of exploring how supposedly repressive popular media incubated queer, genderqueer, and transgender representations.


“An important and intriguing work of theoretical and historical media scholarship, this book dramatically rethinks 1950s and 1960s U.S. television comedy in order to uncover a more nuanced sense of the social world being made visible on television—one in which trans figures were a significant element—than previous media scholarship has allowed.” — Matthew Tinkcom, author of Working Like a Homosexual: Camp, Capital, Cinema

Camp TV is a powerful study of the camp currents of 1950s' and 1960s' American television comedy. Quinlan Miller argues passionately for a corrective account of the multiple gendered and erotic sounds and images that constituted the key evolutionary moment in the form of the sitcom.” — Amy Villarejo, author of Ethereal Queer: Television, Historicity, Desire


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Price: $25.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Quinlan Miller is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Oregon.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix
Introduction. Trans Gender Queer: New Terms for TV History  1
1. Camp TV and Queer Gender: Sitcom History  27
2. Queer Gender and Bob Cummings: Hollywood Camp TV  55
3. Marriage Schmarriage: Sex and the Single Person  88
4. Trans Camp TV: Methods for Girl History  131
Conclusion. Around-the-Clock Queer Gender: Digital Camp TV  155
Notes  165
Bibliography  197
Index  211
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0303-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0185-0
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