New chapter: Orienting Paratexts
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012
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Just a note to announce the release of a new chapter of Complex TV, “Orienting Paratexts.” Please read, comment & share!
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May 16, 2013 at 11:27 am
“At end of the episode” should be “At the end of the episode”
I think “suspense inducing cliffhanger” should have a hyphen between suspense and inducing.
See in context
May 13, 2013 at 11:53 am
I’m not sure Ava registers as a dominant secondary figure in every season, and Mags is only in one, but I take the point.
May 13, 2013 at 11:52 am
First off, I do think the question of ancestry/lineage is a good way of framing your argument here.
Secondly, however, I do wonder whether we can actually identify the source of “borrowing.” Evolution we can argue more clearly, in that we’re making external judgments on how narrative forms have developed over time through analysis of those storytelling forms. But, from my perspective, the process of borrowing is caught up in discourses of authorial intent: can we really know if someone is borrowing from one place or another? I agree that we can’t necessarily know that this borrowing came from soaps, but I also don’t think anyone is in a position to convince me that it wasn’t borrowed from soaps. Your argument is that we’re too quick to casually accept an evolutionary argument, that these are common sense assumptions you want to work again, but “borrowing” for me opens a door to thousands of specific instances rather than a more broad evolutionary argument. I think that’s why the McClain case is such a thin one for me: it’s fine as an example of evolutionary logic more generally, but if we’re talking about specific instances of borrowing it opens up a much wider range of arguments and conversations that I don’t know if we can generalize about to the same degree.
May 13, 2013 at 11:45 am
I don’t think it needs anything substantial after reading the whole chapter, but I do sort of think that even a brief bit of discourse could help ground it. We recently had students read part of that New York Review of Books review of Mad Men, which is full of such distinction (albeit not from the show itself but within popular discourse).
May 13, 2013 at 11:29 am
Great point! I’ll definitely foreground how s2 changes the melodramatic tone. I think that the style of the show is still non-excessive outside of the football field, but that the plot events fall into the contrived and extreme tradition of melodrama. Much of the disconnect around the Landry/Tyra plot was how out of place those events felt to the style of performance, dialogue, visuals, etc.
May 13, 2013 at 11:24 am
Good point – I’m hesitant to analyze this too much, given that the final eps remain to validate or counter this reading. As of now, it is a counter-reading not a preferred one, but it feels to be growing in prominence in a way that I can imagine rising up in s 5+. So in the words of Walt, I’ll stick a pin in it for later…
May 13, 2013 at 11:14 am
Funny – I have a student writing a thesis on female characters in Justified and Sons of Anarchy, and following her analysis, I lump Ava & Mags in with Tara & Gemma as vital secondary figures in a dominant masculine constellation.
May 13, 2013 at 11:10 am
May 13, 2013 at 11:09 am
I’d say that many discourses circulating around these shows don’t deny melodrama as much as the soap opera ties to its form. Certainly most producers talk about character & drama as more important than puzzles & mysteries, and even the most diehard forensic Lost fans love “The Constant” and its romanticism. And I address the tensions in the final season along these lines in the still-to-complete Endings chapter. But Cuse & Lindelof always seemed frustrated with fans who demanded puzzles & answers over emotional payoffs, and pretty much said that such demands would be frustrated in the long-run (as they were). So while not framed in gendered terms, I don’t think that either the show nor its producers were invested in devaluing melodrama or framing it in masculinist terms.
May 13, 2013 at 10:56 am
Yes, a few sentences on soap paratextual participation got cut in an edit. I’ll revise to include this again.