I wrote about Bojack Horseman’s new season (and the whole of the show really) for a recent piece on The Verge. I discuss something that has fascinated me about the show for a long time now: how it reflects on its own impact and the morals of storytelling.
As the next entry in my (admittedly sporadic) series for Film Inquiry, Mental Illness In The Movies, I discussed The End of Evangelion and its depiction of depression.
Be warned: there are hell of a lot of spoilers if you haven’t had the opportunity to watch the show or the movie yet.
Me and a friend have recently launched a podcast called That ’90s Spider-Man Show, in which we’re going episode-by-episode through Spider-Man: The Animated Series.
We’ve got two episodes up at the moment, and two more due to be uploaded, and it should be turning up on the iTunes store sometime soon. In the meantime you can listen on Soundcloud, see the website, and follow us on Twitter.
Minor scenes is just a series where I can write some shorter posts on small scenes from TV and film that I think are worth talking about, even if they don’t warrant a full essay.
The Simpsons | Season 5 Episode 6 | Marge on the Lam
There’s something very distinctive about small town culture – or, more accurately, the lack of it.
Moving from a middle-of-nowhere village or town to a city, or even just visiting one, gives you a taste of what there is out there. It always seemed odd to me, having the ability to grab cheap tickets to the next up-and-coming indie band as a teenager, go to your first play at eleven years old, and have the only real obstacle for spending an empty day in the calendar be money.
This is one of the many, many ways that the writers of The Simpsons nailed a specific feeling, or tone, of a place that many of us have felt like we have lived. Springfield, while set in a different country to my own and full of all sorts of colourful characters, plot-specific districts and an amorphous geography, always seemed like a reflection of my own hometown.
Not only do the characters of the show not have the ability to view or take part in certain cultural events or art scenes (in the early seasons at least), but they don’t have the context to understand it. There are those like Lisa, who finds small avenues of culture where she can and desperately longs to move somewhere where she’ll find more of it – but her parents are a little different.
With little awareness of what they could have, this generation are fine to live without it for the most part. This is best summed up in the episode ‘Marge on the Lam,’ when Marge gets tickets to the ballet. Homer insists that he enjoys “all the meats of our cultural stew,” but is oblivious to its true meaning, happily fantasising about something far less… sophisticated.
As a second hitter to this gag, it turns out Homer isn’t the only one.
Telling his co-workers that he’s got to take his wife to the ballet that evening, Lenny replies: “Gonna go see the bear in the little car, huh?”
Homer doesn’t actually make it there, but Marge does – making a new friend in neighbour Ruth Powers
Once she’s there, Marge finally gets her outlet and sees one of the meats of Springfield’s cultural stew – perfectly happy to see her town’s less refined version of the performative dance.
Previous ‘Minor Scene’:
I’ve been throwing around the idea of a new series, one that allows me to get some shorter posts out on this blog more often as well as provide an opportunity for me to look at smaller things that I don’t have a lengthy enough response to warrant a full essay.
The Simpsons | Season 1 Episode 6 | Moaning Lisa
While the show didn’t hit its comedic stride until a few years later, the first three seasons of The Simpsons are hard-hitting tragi-comic realism that somehow how got made under the guise of being the Bart Simpson experience.
The first season in particular is monumentally depressing at times (remember the time that Homer tried to commit suicide three episodes in?) yet alleviates this with absurd humour and a glimmer of optimism. It was, after all, a show about a dysfunctional family struggling to get by financially and emotionally, which is what makes the celebrity-stuffed morally-careless extravagance of some of the later episodes so unpalatable.
‘Moaning Lisa’, along with season 2’s ‘Bart Gets An F’, is the kind of episode I refuse to watch with friends, because I know I can’t get far without crying. This is in many ways the quintessential Lisa episode, and works effectively as an origin story. Like many children, not even just the smart ones, she is stifled and feels burdened by sadness. She finds a little solace in expressing herself artistically through music. It’s simple but it works.
This scene in particular is one that always stood out to me, and thankfully it’s one of the clips uploaded by one of those very helpful Simpsons Youtube channels that come around once in a blue moon.
One of the most unexpectedly powerful moments in Twin Peaks: The Return, a series that gave us many poignant scenes, involved none other than Carl Rodd. Harry Dean Stanton’s character, who we had previously seen stealing the show as the grouchy manager of the Fat Trout Trailer Park in the prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, has changed a lot since we last saw him.
Other than the usual signs of ageing, he seemed a little more relaxed and generous, and while his exhaustion is still present, now it seems more melancholic than beleaguered. Continue reading →
I’ve been writing (pretty long) recaps of every episode of Twin Peaks: The Return, where I also delve into some analysis and theorising. You can find the post containing all these recaps here. Below is my recap for Part 17 and 18 aka the two-hour finale to the show.
Was this all Cooper’s dream? Was this a confluence of dream realities conjured up from those can’t live in theirs? Did Judy move Cooper to an alternate dimension? Does Twin Peaks, as we know it, exist any more?
These are some interesting questions to ask, and ones that will no doubt flood the world with articles, essays, books, blog posts, tweet threads, and forums in the weeks, months, and years to come. Continue reading →