THE LIVING TELEVISION: ALLOY ENTERTAINMENT AND THE BRAND NEW GIRL
Hernsberger, Brandon K.
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Alloy Entertainment has fundamentally changed the landscape of teen media (YA fiction and the television adaptation) by decentering the teenager (especially the teenage girl) and instead focusing squarely on how the teenager in media can help promote Alloy’s own brand mission of advertising itself as a marketing corporation within the spaces of its products (books and television programs). Alloy does this through the semiotic marking of gender in and through its products to resemble the way that it, Alloy Entertainment, markets itself as well as through the repetition of seven brand principles (of Alloy’s design) seen especially in Alloy’s three most popular (and most socially shared) book to television properties: Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, and Pretty Little Liars. These properties can be seen as three separate parts of the same thing—that is, different versions of one singular brand mission: the promotion of a real company within the fictional spaces of narrative. The Alloy girl is: (1) sexually depraved; (2) terrorized; (3) highly dependent on a male counterpart for self-actualization; (4) surveilled; (5) marked by class and/or race; (6) representative of a nationalist gender identity (a social agent); and (7) a child acting as an adult. These brand principles can all been in the three properties mentioned above, though not all seven are always used at the same time. Alloy Entertainment has all but taken away the possibility for the televisual teenage girl’s exploration of her own liminality (this exploration was always possible in teenage television of the past, up until Alloy eliminated it in its first television property: Gossip Girl); and because of this, the teenage girl in the audience likely has a more difficult time understanding her own liminal position given how much time young people spend with various media as a way to, at least partly, learn what it looks like to grow up. There is no such thing as a teenage girl on television anymore; there is only the Alloy teenage girl, the branded teenager.