Oak and tardis: The suburban image in film/tv and the evolution of consumer media from 1982-1999

John Cessna, Purdue University


The purpose of this work is to examine the evolution of suburban imagery in mainstream, consumer media throughout the 1980s and 90s. This is done by examining representation in Hollywood film (E.T., The Goonies) as well as television of the same era (Roseanne, Home Improvement ). After identifying dominant narrative structures within this media, the focus of this work shifts to the audience. During this period, the role of the audience was evolving thanks to consumer technology. The physical location and rate of media consumption was shifting in power from producers to consumers. As such, audience expectations progressed and narratives were forced to mature. The final component of this work seeks to contextualize my artistic portfolio as influenced by the previously discussed time, location, and media. As a child who grew up chained to the TV in the 80s/90s suburb, it is easy to see how this media-saturated upbringing arises in my current process and projects. The culmination of this work is my MFA show “Oak & Tardis”.




Fuller, Purdue University.

Subject Area

American studies|Mass communications|Film studies

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