Whenever I find myself analyzing Jessica Jones, I find myself realizing how unique the show is compared to its competitors. In accordance with the conclusion I made in my last blog, the dark mood of the show is also developed through the writing. This blog post will be analyzing a single episode, Season 1 Episode 7: AKA Top Shelf Perverts. I’m looking at only a single episode because 1) I haven’t seen the entire first season and 2) the writers vary per episode. This episode was written by Jenna Reback and Micah Schraft. Reback has written 9 episodes for Jessica Jones, and Schraft has written 3 episodes, although he has a variety of experience producing and writing for 3 and 10 shows, respectively. With that in mind, it’s safe to say that these two writers wrote the story as the producer intended it to be written, so it can be used as an accurate representation of season 1 as a whole.
Season 1 seems to open every episode in a similar fashion: there is almost always a full minute, or more, of near silence as we are transported into the world of Jessica Jones. This first minute of silence feels like it eases us into the show before everything picks up as the action begins. In fact, I would argue that most of the storytelling is carried by said action, rather than by speech. Jessica Jones, in particular, prefers to act instead of monologue out her plans. Many times, the show takes the viewers along for a ride, rather than holding our hands through the story. Conversation is used more as a tool for developing relationships between characters than driving plot. Because of this, nearly all conversation is between the 4-5 main characters, and chatter is kept to a minimum.
The infrequency of chatter further develops the show’s dark mood. In contrast, dialogue-heavy shows like The Good Place, one of my personal favorites, feel very lively. The rhythm of dialogue in Jessica Jones can be more appropriately characterized by alternating periods of heated conversation and periods of very little conversation. This reinforces Jessica Jones’ stance that the world can be a depressing, lonely place; the show may revolve around Jones, but that doesn’t mean anyone on the streets of New York cares about her presence. The moments of silence really bring that idea to life, in my opinion.
Above: Not only do the writers want to keep talking to a minimum, but so does the antagonist! Also, notice how much we can tell about the antagonist from the indirect characterization provided through this character’s line.