Author: Shawn Shimpach

Shawn Shimpach (University of Massachusetts - Amherst) teaches and researches cinema, television, media, and cultural studies. His research has focused on the social and institutional construction of the media audience, the on-going transformation of television, the cultural history of entertainment, and the various ways that popular culture might matter to people. He is the author of Television in Transition: The Life and Afterlife of the Narrative Action Hero and various articles and book chapters.

Mediating the Past: Mad Men’s Sophisticated Weekly Get Together

While this media surge contributed to this season’s premiere becoming Mad Men’s highest rated episode ever, ratings are not really the point. Mad Men sustains AMC’s brand, providing a specific and prestigious visibility that extends beyond those who actually watch. Mad Men also offers viewers the opportunity to feel simultaneously nostalgic for and superior to a version of an earlier era, achieving a “sophisticated weekly get together of the people we dig and who dig us.”


Waiting for Superman

Superman is the myth attracting the audience and the property that Time Warner values. But this value diminishes if his story is not told enough, so the trick is to render him inexhaustible, allowing him to be consumed without dying.