When I think back on registering for college classes (which sadly, feels oh so long ago), I think about how I made sure to choose which chemistry class didn't involve a lab component, and considering which of my English classes was least likely to be filled with Business Major bros taking it as an "easy elective." Oh, how the times have changed, though, because this is definitely not a class I ever saw as a course offering: Apparently, Duke University is going to be offering a Symposium on Shonda Rhimes and, specifically, how her work has changed the landscape of modern television.
Rhimes, of course, is the brilliant mind behind smash hit series Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and a producer of How to Get Away With Murder, so this is totally amazing. According to Duke, the course — aptly named "ShondaLand, The Symposium" — will study "her inclusion of richly drawn, complex black female characters such as Olivia Pope,” amongst many other topics.
Scholars in the fields of women's studies, gender and sexuality, black diaspora, law, history, and media will be part of what is sure to be a compelling educational experience. The first lecture, which will look at the premieres of all three shows, is called “I Woke Up Like This: Desire & Respectability in ShondaLand." The second, which focuses on black women's bodies is called, "You Gotta Testify Because the Booty Don’t Lie: The (Il)Legality of Black Womanhood.”
Consider me jealous Duke. Consider me very, very jealous. Can non-students sign up for this thing?
Even though these lectures are already the stuff of a feminist pop culture fiend's dreams, I can still hope that some day these shows too will have their own courses. Here are my dream television college courses...because a second degree would be totally worth the student loans if these courses were real.
Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, America Loses: The Lie of the American Dream in Friday Night Lights
A study in how Friday Night Lights portrays the promise and failings of the American dream through the lens of high school football. The course will also examine the standard to which athletes are held in society and how that impacts our greater society. Labs will consist of "Drinking Wine Like Tami Taylor" and "Saracen or Riggins: a Study in Pheromones."
Learn To Hate Yourself: Girls and Millenials
Ever wanted to know what that crippling feeling in your gut was every time you watch an episode of Girls post-Season 1? A scientific and cultural look at self-recognition. Course experiments include trying to be vegan for a week and living in Brooklyn on less than $40 a day.
Understanding Why Anyone Tries to Keep Up With the Kardashians
Why are these people famous? No seriously, what did you all do again? Yes, but why? No really, please someone tell me. The work of Nietzsche and Camus will be required reading.
I Want To Go To There: Tina Fey's Comedic Revolution
Looking at Fey's work, from The Second City to Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, Mean Girls and beyond, this course examines how Fey's no-nonsense "bossy" attitude helped boost the wave of Internet feminism. Each student will be required to purchase a copy of Bossypants, a snuggie, and provide one block of cheese per class.
Burgers, Butts, and Broadway: The Radical Feminism of Bob's Burgers
Tina and Linda Belcher became instant feminist icons when the zeitgeist that is Bob's Burgers took to the airwaves. The class will look at how Gene's gender neutrality and rejection of traditional male roles does away with the tired archetypes found within other "adult" cartoons. Bob Belcher, as the gentle patriarch makes room for a new kind of father and parent. Students will write 2-3 Burgers of the Day each week and learn their own gutteral Tina-inspired moan. There will be a safe space for thrashing in the yoga mat center of the room.