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In 1990 the fledgling Fox television network debuted its prime-time soap opera Beverly Hills, 90210, which was intended to appeal to viewers in their late teens and early twenties. Before long, not only did the network have a genuine hit with a large and devoted audience but the program had evolved into a cultural phenomenon as well, becoming a lens through which its youthful viewers defined much of their own sense of themselves.
By an overwhelming majority the fans were female-young women between eleven and twenty-five whose experience of the program was addictive and intensely communal. They met in small groups to watch the program, discussing its plot and characters against the backdrops of their own ongoing lives.
Wondering what this talk accomplished and what role it played in the construction of young female viewers' identities, Graham McKinley found several groups who watched the program and questioned them about the program's significance. Extracting generously from actual interviews, McKinley's investigation has the urgency of a heart-to-heart conversation, with rich anecdotal moments and revelations of self.
|1||The Enthusiastic Voices||1|
|2||Watching Beverly Hills, 90210||13|
|3||Cultural Studies: Agency, Community, and Pleasure||31|
|4||Social Construction: The Discursive Self||48|
|5||Appearance: Expertise and the Community of Viewers||68|
|6||Characterizations: Community with the Characters||83|
|7||Narrative: Playing Pundit||115|
|8||Talk About TV Effects: Enculturation||137|
|9||Issues: Closing Down the Moral Voice||154|
|10||Dating: The Passive Female||189|
|11||Guessing: The Microprocesses of Hegemony||217|
|12||Conclusion: Swimming with the Tide||235|
|App||Data Collection and Subjects||243|