American Television Drama

Apr 2020

Such a great professor and class! Ben is hilarious, smart, kind, and cool. His lectures are all enjoyable, and his TV selections are all stellar. If you aren't a film major but love TV and want a fun class, take his. If you are a film major but don't have the cinema-must-be-projected arrogance of our textbooks and want a relevant class, take his. The experience is academic but also so lovable. I recommend it to almost everyone! Homework is watching two TV shows per week, usually pilots of well-known shows, and writing 1-3 paragraph reflections on each of them. Essays are one analysis of an assigned episode and one about episode/season/series of your choice. Participation and attendance are mandatory. There are no midterms, finals, or readings. This is an easy and fun A –– as long as you put solid effort into your two essays. Grading is done by TA's, but Ben has a (rightfully) high standard as a film writing teacher. This makes this class great if you're good at writing, tired of readings, or get stressed by exams. It is not for you, though, if you slack on papers or can't take TV seriously.

Feb 2020

The fact that my parents are spending thousands of dollars on a class in which we just shoot the sh*t about a lot of truly bad TV........ horrific. Ben clearly loves television, but that being said I have learned literally nothing I didn't already know about it since this class started. I can't really complain about having to watch 1-2 pilots per week, but also... I can. In terms of relevant cultural critique, the academic soil would've been far more rich in a class about TikTok. Ben's encyclopedic ability to upchuck some esoteric miscellanea about Girls does not constitute a curriculum. I continue to be confused that Barnard becomes an increasingly Hollywood-heavy school with each passing year, and yet this man teaches 95% of the film department's classes. Maybe hire a woman? Especially considering the institutional lip service paid to #MeToo? Just a thought! Also the blatant favoritism Ben exhibits is a super bad look. All in all, no one can accuse Ben of not caring enough. But it's 2020: everyone cares about content.