This article develops a theory of sadness pornographies in contemporary feel-sad television. Under the sad porn category, the essay explores a key sub-genre in contemporary serial dramas: trauma porn. The article is anchored in an affective analysis of two contemporary serials: Amazon's Transparent and NBC's This Is Us, both of which center multigenerational, familial trauma. Through a combined Berlantian and Spinozist optic, the essay attends to various episodes from the two serials to illuminate the phenomenon of trauma porn in current feel-sad media. In this reading, the essay considers how Spinoza's understandings of the temporality of affect relate to the particular temporalities of traumatic TV in its streaming and broadcast formats. In the analytic process, the article constructs a speculative spectator, who craves feel-sad media to affectively self-reproduce - to emotionally endure - in the face of current workspaces' managed non-catharsis. The essay concludes with a theory of sad-joy, framed by Spinoza's affective schema, to dramatize a singularly contemporary mode of purgation, one which succeeds classical and modern theories of cathartic tragedy.
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Beaver, Blake K.
"Feel-Sad TV: Sadness Pornography in Contemporary Serials,"
disClosure: A Journal of Social Theory: Vol. 28, Article 5.
Available at: https://uknowledge.uky.edu/disclosure/vol28/iss1/5