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Contents

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1. Introduction: Rape and Prime Time Episodic TV

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pp. 1-27

The relationship between prime time television and social change is complex, historically significant, and as yet only partially under would question that television has become more open about treating political issues and social controversies as the stuff of entertainment. But the substance and implications of its treatment are hotly...

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2. What Is Rape? Prime Time's Changing Portrayals

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pp. 28-61

Television viewers are familiar with the frequency and graphic detail with which rapes have been presented on prime time dramatic programs. This chapter traces the evolution of prime time's portrayals of the crime of rape from 1976 through 1990. It demonstrates a basic change from earlier episodes that mostly depicted "real" stranger rape and followed the basic plot's formula of extreme violence, use of weapons and threats, victim helplessness, and detective effectiveness, to a later phase when most programs began instead to depict date or...

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3. Hegemonic Masculinity and Prime Time Rape

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pp. 62-98

Chapter 2 traced the basic evolution of portrayals of the crime of rape on prime time episodic programs. This chapter further develops the book's central argument by examining the treatments of masculinity in these episodes, focusing primarily on constructions of rapist and detective character and on detective-rapist interactions. It examines what the rape plots do with masculinity in the context of the evolving genre - how these rape narratives treat, define, and contextualize masculinity, usually in...

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4. Representations of Victims and Rape Reform Ideas

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pp. 99-127

The earliest prime time rape episodes under examination here depict victims in a routine formulaic way, suggesting that they deserve sympathy rather than blame. A consistent theme throughout the years is the idea that rape is a serious crime that unquestionably has harmful effects on its victims, a point that is often brought out verbally by male detectives. But, in prime time versions of rape even the victim's character and dialogue are...

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5. Unusual and Groundbreaking Episodes

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pp. 128-153

While the majority of prime time's rape-centered episodes followed predictable formulas, several were unique in their sensitive treatment of issues, their depth of analysis, or their relatively early examination of a difficult subject. This chapter examines eleven specific episodes that were either groundbreaking in handling new subjects, or unusual in their treatment of more typical subject matter. The discussion of unusual subjects will center on the groundbreaking treatments of marital rape (Barney Miller, "Rape," 1978); male rape (Kaz, "Day in Court," 1978; Cagney and Lacey, "Violation," 1985); and gang rape (21 Jump Street, "Hell Week," 1988).

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6. Conclusion

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pp. 154-160

This book has examined prime time rape-centered episodes, arguing that between 1976 and 1990 prime time was struggling with evolving depictions of rape, but almost always in such a way that definitions of masculinity remained at the core of rape representation. It demonstrates that most rape-centered episodes through the early-1980s were aired on detective or police dramas and that they depicted rape as a violent surprise attack involving the use of weapons and brutality.

Appendix 1: Program Descriptions and Episode List

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pp. 161-169

Appendix 2: Timeline of Rape Reform and Related Events

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p. 170

Notes

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pp. 171-174

References

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pp. 175-182

Index

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pp. 183-188