Queer Broadcasts

Backstage Television, Insider Material, and Media Producers

Quinn Miller


This chapter outlines critical tools for examining queer elements of production manifest in comedy texts. Building on the basics of queer theory and scholarship on camp, it reviews a set of methods for queer analysis of production details appearing in quasi-fictional television programs about the entertainment business. Referencing examples from US series, it employs the terms “insider,” “camp,” and “queer” to demonstrate how scholars can extract historical evidence about the industry from images of television production. The chapter considers the industrial, intertextual, and social dynamics that have contributed to the queer content evident in TV culture by looking at backstage series that represent queer work as an obvious aspect of the media industries as a whole, rather than as something specific to gender and sexual minorities. It argues that we can better understand the creation of queer media by analyzing satirical depictions of the production process.

In June 2011 Tina Fey, the creator of 30 Rock – a National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC, 2006–) sitcom about a fictional NBC sketch show – issued a public statement following press coverage of an allegedly homophobic stand-up routine that one of her actors performed in a comedy club. Taking a “we are everywhere” approach shared by radical queer activists and more moderate campaigners for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender ...

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