First and foremost, as a comedy writer, I have to take umbrage with Spigel's use of the word. After watching that episode of The Goldbergs, I can say, without a doubt, that it is not now, nor was it ever a comedy. Putting an ugly hat on a woman doth not a comedy make.
Second, I found this article to be quite interesting, specifically the idea of the television set as a window, and as a means to conquer space. Growing up, my grandparents had a tv that was a large piece of furniture that sat right on their lime green carpet (I'm old). I remember my brothers and I huddling around that thing-- trying to get as close to it as possible. It was just instinctual, but when I think back about what we were trying to accomplish-- I think we were trying to have that small screen fill up our entire field of vision. Block out everything else so that we were completely immersed in whatever it was we were watching (A-Team, probably). We were literally trying to delete the space between our eyeballs and the stuff on the screen so that we were one. Then my grandma would yell at us that we were sitting too close to the TV and had to move back because of all the radiation. I'm surprised Spigel didn't bring up the radiation fear in all her talk of "gaze" and dystopian discourse-- or was that just my grandma?
I find the concept of the window into other worlds, other lives, other realities fascinating. If part of the appeal of television is that in our isolated suburban lives it connects us to others, and as diverse an 'other' as we want, I will never understand why people choose to immerse themselves into horror, heavy dramas, or thrillers. It doesn't have to be utopia, but why would anyone want to be somewhere horrible? Voluntarily?! It's especially interesting to think about the rise of the "unlikeable protagonist" in this fashion, and why it's been such a struggle to get them on TV. In that context, it's similarly strange that I sit in front of a giant 65 inch television and invite Paddy's Pub, a filthy, derelict bar and a group of horrible people into my home every time I watch It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia.