Class Migration on Popular Television (proposed MMLA special session, St. Louis, MO, 11/12/09-11/15/09)

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Midwest Modern Language Association
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If one function of television viewing is wish fulfillment, then it is perhaps unsurprising that television series that focus on the lives of the wealthy continue to be popular. Often, these series include at least one character who is an "outsider" to the world depicted and who must attempt to migrate between social classes; such characters' awe, envy, and, at times, revulsion towards the lives of those in this world are meant to reflect the attitudes of the audience. What, then, do such series/characters tell us about the possibility of migrating between classes in contemporary society? Do such shows ultimately argue that such class migration is something to aspire to or to avoid? Finally, do these seek to glorify, humanize, or vilify their wealthy characters? This panel seeks to examine such issues in contemporary and recent television series. Please send 250-300 word abstracts to Molly Brost, Northwest Missouri State University,, by April 15, 2009.

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