Who are you?
I’m Jackson Upperco, a 27-year-old graduate of Boston University’s Film & Television program with a subsequent MFA degree in Writing for Screen & Television from the University of Southern California. I once had a Gilligan’s Island themed birthday party and made my friends act out an episode (“Goodbye Island” from Season One); I played Mr. Howell. Prior to the event, I wrote to Sherwood Schwartz asking for scripts from the unproduced fourth season. He sent autographed photos of the cast instead — one of those currently hangs in my L.A. apartment.
Why do you write this blog?
I established this blog in June 2013 with a simple mission: to seek, share, and discuss the entertainment that I believe to be of quality, which as far as I’m concerned, means… entertainment that’s entertaining. Each day of the week is themed: Musical Theatre Monday (once a month), Sitcom Tuesday (weekly), Wildcard Wednesday (weekly) — and until 2016 when they were indefinitely retired, Xena Thursday, and Film Friday.
What makes you an authority on the stuff you discuss here?
My entire life has been built around the joyous study of particular entertainments, based on my feverish absorption of these works and my unending quest for passion-furthering knowledge. Humbly, I think my unique, individual commentary has value for you because it’s a studied, (hopefully) well-articulated perspective — supported by both my enthusiasm and my dedication.
Why do you choose ten favorites from seasons with only 22-24 episodes?
I believe a single entry is often unable to illustrate the totality of a series’, or even a sole season’s, appeal. By choosing ten installments, I’m afforded the opportunity to discuss many sides of a show – its storytelling, its characters, its senses of humor, etc. Picking a number that’s seemingly so high allows for a fuller discussion and a “buffet” of relative superiority for readers who have different interests. This is, simply, a more comprehensive form of analysis — intending to offer something for everyone. Also, ten is both a round number and a benchmark I can usually maintain for all the shows discussed here.
Why do you prefer multi-cams to single-cams?
I think television is an intimate medium, and it most fulfills its promise when offering intimate material: theatre in our living rooms (on screens of all different sizes). Also, I think multi-cams are harder to get right; the risk is greater. In a single-cam comedy, a bad joke passes quickly. In a multi-cam, a bad joke lingers over sculpted laughter. There’s nothing more offensive than hearing people laugh at something that’s not funny, so when a show’s design inherently holds it accountable for its comedy, there’s more of an incentive to actually be funny. Thus, while the risks are greater with multi-cams, so are the rewards…
Why are you so tough on great shows?
The quest for quality — in others, and ourselves — is not, to paraphrase Bette Davis, for sissies. Heck, there’s so much television out there today that we have to be ruthless when determining what’s worth our time. We’re no longer able to be passive consumers, blinking through whatever seems inoffensive; now, we’re active hunters — seeking out the things we like, the material that entertains us and brings us joy… So, in order to know what we like, we have to know what we don’t. And this requires forming hierarchies of value within our own subjective and individual tastes. I’m tough because I have to be.
Why are you so declarative when taste is subjective?
Yes, taste is subjective, so when you click on a post on jacksonupperco.com that’s titled “The Ten Best SEINFELD Episodes of Season Three,” it’s implied that you’re getting this website’s individual determination of what the year’s best episodes are. I don’t disguise that my site is an opinion-based enterprise. And in addition to my opinions being just, well, opinions, I also know they’re ever-changing. So, a 2013 post on I Love Lucy is only going to reflect what my thoughts were at the time of writing. I’ll always defend my printed words and chosen episodic decisions — my way of thinking in that moment — but when I circle back and cover I Love Lucy again (at this blog’s conclusion), those thoughts will most likely change. Evolution is part of what it means to be a thinking individual, right?
Am I right in assuming you prefer old shows to new ones?
While I definitely prefer music from the first half of the 20th century to much of what’s produced today, when it comes to sitcoms, I only care that a show provides worthwhile, and that’s typically character-based, comedy. This exists in every era, so there’s no preference between “old” or “new” here… However, I’m a different consumer than most; I find every single piece of entertainment to be an artifact of its time. Part of the value I derive from watching a 1957 episode of Date With The Angels comes in knowing that I’m seeing something intended for a 1957 audience — it’s a snapshot of that particular moment in time. So, I don’t find any work creatively “dated,” because everything, by definition (even that 2019 episode of Modern Family you just watched), is dated. The only difference is, with works of the past, I feel like I’m learning something, too — in a way that I can’t yet claim with stuff that’s still “new.” As to why I don’t cover any currently running shows here, I believe that this kind of material is naturally ubiquitous at the moment and, therefore, less necessary and less worth our time.
How can I find past posts?
I know that digging through the archives isn’t a user-friendly endeavor. (This is somewhat purposeful; as long as I’m churning out new content, my sanity demands that old posts stay buried.) However, you can use tags, categories, and the search bar to locate a topic or show. Also, the best way to search this site is to Google a specific term (like, say, “adele astaire” or “wkrp”) along with “jacksonupperco.”
What’s coming up on the blog?
Check out the Coming Attractions page here.
Can I make recommendations?
Absolutely. Comment on the Coming Attractions page. I’ll tell you if the show/topic is a possibility!
What’s the deal with commenting?
Discussion is encouraged — please feel free to join the conversation here. The only rule is mutual respect.
Do you sell or make copies of the TV shows discussed here?
I never sell. I do, on occasion, offer access to rare shows and recordings — ones not commercially available — to subscribers with a scholarly and noncommercial interest in the material. I do this when I’m able and when it suits the discussion, in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine. But I do not engage in large-scale distribution of content; it’s not legal. So, if you’re a subscriber seeking something specific that’s been discussed here — an episode or two, for instance — I’m happy to oblige research requests. Please comment on the appropriate blogpost. Also, please don’t take my material and share it in another public forum. We could both be legally liable.
What’s the deal with the musical theatre rarities you offer?
Again, I never sell, but I do, on occasion, offer subscribers access to rare recordings — ones that aren’t commercially available — when I’m able. If something isn’t mentioned as being accessible, that’s typically because I’m NOT offering it. (This website isn’t a venue for trading.) Also, please don’t take my material and share it in another public forum. I certainly don’t mind — heck, I expect — the private trade/share of the fun stuff that’s offered. But if this material regularly shows up publicly, there’s no incentive to keep sharing exclusives here with you.
Do you comply with the Fair Use doctrine?
Absolutely. This is a nonprofit endeavor intended for private educational and entertainment purposes. Every picture and video included here is used to support my commentary (which I myself create and own), and I’m mindful of how much I use of this supportive material. I also endeavor to cooperate with rights-holders who feel differently. Just let me know.
Why should I subscribe?
In addition to getting an email update every time a new post is published, subscribers — and subscribers only — have the opportunity to request copies of the rare (and non-commercially available) shows and recordings discussed and featured here. Also, it’s free and it’s easy.
How do I subscribe?
On the top right corner of the home page, enter your address into the box underneath the heading “Follow Blog via Email.” Then, confirm your subscription in the email you’ll immediately receive. Did I mention that it’s free?
Do you have a Facebook page?
Yes. Visit it here: facebook.com/jacksonupperco
How can I contact you?
For professional inquiries (want to hire me?) or truly urgent matters (important corrections), you can email me at my blog address: email@example.com. Don’t email me asking for links to stuff; please comment with your requests on the appropriate blogposts.