Ryan Engley and Todd McGowan on “Theorizing the Bottle Episode”

From the Why Theory podcast: “On this episode, Ryan and Todd discuss the bottle episode form of television in the context of Ryan’s recent article, ‘The Limitation of the Bottle Episode: Hegel and Community.’ After establishing the historical and economic conditions that led to the initial development of the bottle episode, Ryan and Todd articulate how the form mobilizes temporal and spatial constraints as a way of stoking existential conflict within and between characters. Ultimately they show how the constraints that cohere the bottle episode move its narrative toward the space of dialectical contradiction.”

Stay tuned for Ryan Engley’s forthcoming article “The Limitation of the Bottle Episode: Hegel in Community,” appearing in issue 21.4 of New Review of Film and Television Studies.

Ryan Engley is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at Pomona College. His recent work has appeared in journals such as New Review of Film and TelevisionComparative Literature and CultureContinental Thought & Theory, and in edited collections such as Can Philosophy Love? Reflections and EncountersThe Serial Podcast and Storytelling in the Digital Age, and Cinematic Cuts: Theorizing Film Endings. Along with Todd McGowan, Ryan co-hosts the podcast Why Theory, which brings Continental philosophy and psychoanalytic theory together to examine contemporary phenomena. His current book manuscript is tentatively titled Seriality: The Existential Form of Modern Life.

Todd McGowan is Professor of English at the University of Vermont. He is the author of 15 books, including Universality and Identity Politics (2020), Emancipation After Hegel (2019), and Capitalism and Desire (2016). He is the series editor of Film Theory in Practice (Bloomsbury), and co-series editor (with Slavoj Žižek and Adrian Johnston) of Diaeresis (Northwestern University Press). He is also the host of the podcast Why Theory (with Ryan Engley).

Want to listen to more? Here’s another podcast episode we’ve featured, on Stacey Abbott’s BFI Classics volume Near Dark