Music, Sound, and the Moving Image

Nostalgia, Music and the Television Past Revisited in American Dreams

Music, Sound, and the Moving Image (2008), 2, (1), 27–50.

Abstract

The 1960s-set NBC family drama American Dreams presents not just the recent American past but its musical television as well. This article examines how the show's recreation of and interaction with the music show American Bandstand ties together the divergent experiences of a turbulent decade. American Dreams' reshooting and appropriation of original broadcast footage is intricately interwoven with dramatic action allowing for new layers of commentary and meaning to be read across the music and image relationship. Through intercutting and juxtaposition, its use of music performance goes beyond the regressive recycling of images of nostalgia, as critiqued by Jameson and other theorists of postmodernity, to engage political and social debates through a complex web of reference, reproduction and commentary, presenting a politicised reading of the 1960s that problematises these charges of nostalgia texts as apolitical and 'historicist'.

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Author details

Woods, Faye