Jericho and American exceptionalism
My partner and I have been watching Jericho these last few weeks, and as the series continues and the plot develops, or not, we have grown frustrated. My partner comments that what started out as an intriguing TV programme that we enjoyed watching together - our replacement for West Wing for our Thursday TV night once the kids are in bed – has lost its appeal. She reckons its not the programme she thought it would be.
In The Road to Nowhere, Tim Sterne has done a far better job of reviewing Jericho for Sarsaparilla than I ever could, so I highly recommend it. He captures all the things I've found troubling about the series:
There are two intertwined fantasies at work here. First is that of American exceptionalism. When the bombs begin to fall, the rest of the world may disintegrate or descend into anarchy but there is something inherently orderly and democratic about American society that will prevail no matter what you throw at it. The second fantasy is that of America – or at least Middle America, at which Jericho is so clearly pitched – as the embodiment of the small-town values that in turn reinforce America’s exceptional status.There's more where that comes from, and well worth reading, if only it tells us much about how America views itself in the face of 'adversity'. I'm still not convinced that I should give up watching though. I still want to see what – or rather who – is coming over the horizon.