Working through grief: Continuing bonds in the new golden age of American television



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Narratives of grief play a significant role in American television drama throughout the “new golden age,” yet little attention has been given to the presence and breadth of engagement of such narratives. Heretofore, these representations of loss have not been investigated formally within a contextual framework of loss. Through this dissertation, I inspect American long-form television drama from the “new golden age” as a social site of working through grief and mourning by examining, through close reading and contextual analysis, several serials from 2000-present. In particular, this study finds that modifications in theories on grief and mourning practice from the 1990s—moving from severed ties to continuing bonds—is conveyed in the televisual narratives considered. I argue that TV is involved in a relationship of mutuality with society enacted through long-form televisual fiction narratives that register and reflect changing attitudes toward prolonged grief, while also contributing to such changing socio-cultural attitudes.



Grief, Television, Continuing Bonds, Mourning, New Golden Age, Severed Ties, American Television, Long-Form Drama, Sigmund Freud, Narratives of Loss, Prolonged Grief, Melancholia