iLiberalism, The Morning Show, & The Sheeny Blandness of Apple TV+ with Anna Shechtman & Michael Szalay


Apple Podcasts

Our series on corporate allegory continues with an extended discussion of Apple TV+, both its film and television offerings, as well as the relationship between such “content” and the corporation’s primary business: selling iPhones and other hardware. Among the specific works discussed are Severance, Killers Of The Flower Moon, Lessons In Chemistry, Fingernails, Gutsy, The Foundation, Silo, Ted Lasso, The Last Thing He Told Me, and, most extensively, The Morning Show.

Michael Szalay is Professor of English at University of California, Irvine and the author of Second Lives: Black-Market Melodramas & The Reinvention of Television (U. Chicago, 2023). He is currently working on a book about AppleTV+, early selections from which are forthcoming from Polygraph and Los Angeles Review of Books. [UPDATE: “Apple’s Gimmick” now available.]

Anna Shechtman is a Klarman Fellow at Cornell University and will begin as an assistant professor in the Department of Literatures in English in 2024. She is writing a two-volume history of the “media” and “data” concepts in the United States. She is also author of the forthcoming The Riddles of The Sphinx: Inheriting The Feminist History of The Crossword Puzzle (HarperCollins, 2024).

Theme Song: “This Year” by The Steel Wheels (from Over The Trees)

This season, The American Vandal Podcast is very proud to feature a song by The Steel Wheels, a band originating from the Blue Ridge Mountains. The song, “The Year,” is part of their 2019 studio record, Over The Trees.

On February 9, The Steel Wheels will be releasing a new album, Sideways. Both albums are available to purchase or download at their website.

The Steel Wheels began a new tour this month with three dates in West Virginia, including one in Morgantown. Check out their schedule.

Episode Bibliography:

Jerome Christensen, America’s Corporate Art: The Studio Authorship of Hollywood Motion Pictures (Stanford UP, 2011)

Jane Hu, Phillip Maciak, & Matt Seybold, “Netflix Necrocapitalism & The House of Usher The American Vandal Podcast (12.22.2023)

Sianne Ngai, Theory Of The Gimmick: Aesthetic Judgment & Capitalist Form (Harvard UP, 2020)

Dan Sinykin, Matt Seybold, & Johanna Winant, “Close Reading, Conglomerate Authorship, & Qween Danielle Steel” The American Vandal Podcast (1.1.2024)

Matt Seybold, “The World-Empire: The Cloud Crash, The Walled Garden, The Silo, The Secret History” 10th Quarry Farm Symposium (10.7.2023)

Matt Seybold, Lisa Siraganian, & Michael Szalay, “Puzzles of Collective Intention, Corporate Authorship, Family Business Insurrection, & HBO’s Succession The American Vandal Podcast (9.12.2022)

Anna Shectman, “Wages for Housewives,” The New York Review of Books (5.14.2023)

Anna Shechtman, “The Medium Concept” Representations (Spring 2020)

Anna Shechtman, “Command of Media’s Metaphors” Critical Inquiry (Summer 2021)

Anna Shectman, Native Son & The Cinematic Aspirations of Richard Wright” The New Yorker (4.4.2019)

Anna Shechtman, “The Reality Contract: Rope, Birdman, & The Economy of the Single-Shot Film” nonsite (November 2017)

Michael Szalay, Second Lives: Black-Market Melodramas & The Reinvention of Television (U. Chicago, 2023)

Michael Szalay, “Overcoming Severance, From Lumon to Foxconn” Polygraph [FORTHCOMING]

Michael Szalay, “Apple’s Gimmick: On Fingernails & the TV+ Brand” Los Angeles Review of Books (2.16.2024)

Michael Szalay, “HBO’s Flexible Gold” (Representations, Spring 2014)

Michael Szalay & Kim Jee-Woon, “iPhone TV” Los Angeles Review of Books (11.11.2022)

Mark Twain, “The Secret History of Eddypus, The World-Empire” in Fables of Man (U. California, 1972)

Raymond Williams, Television: Technology & Cultural Form (1974) [2003 Routledge Edition]