English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Category: Review Topic 3 Page 1 of 5

Let’s get a zoom in on her face!

What must begin must end at some point, and sadly, this blog must end, but not without a final exhilarating post regarding the at-times cliched and at-times unique cinematography of episode 5 of season 1 (Dogs Playing Poker), which is such a broad topic that merely the location of cameras themselves and cuts between the aforementioned cameras will be mentioned.

What is most notable is the use of cameras; rather than merely sticking with either a single-camera setup or a multi-camera setup, Switched At Birth uses both, depending on the scenario. For example, for personal scenes, a partially-single-camera setup is used, with only a handful of fixed camera (used to intersperse shots) and one mobile camera (used as the primary camera). By doing so, greater attention is focused onto the main characters, as less time is spent intermingling between recurring characters and main characters.

However, in comparison, for more stilted scenes, such as, for example, Ty and Bay’s family dinner with Bay’s parents, a more appropriate multi-camera setup is used in order to lower editing costs and, more importantly, emphasize that a scene, unlike personal scenes, is merely conversational. For instance, the family dinner scene rarely, if ever, zooms into a character’s face (due to the scene generally holding the intent of awkward chatter) and generally maintains a distance from characters (in order to further emphasize the non-fluidity of the dinner banter, mirroring the mental distance faced by Ty and Bay when attempting to speak to her parents).

1x05 - Dogs Playing Poker - Switched At Birth Image ...

This scene, due to being conversational, generally involves a multi-camera setup.

However, the use of both setups, in fact, emphasizes the uniqueness between the light-hearted chatter of adolescent gossip and speech, where the movement of the camera nearly mimics the excitement of the students, and Daphne’s relation to her mother, which is generally supportive and relaxed, as opposed to the rigid and formal monologues given by Bay’s detached parents.

Beige is the New Orange is the New Black

Saved the best for last. For this final blog post, I’m going to be writing about the cinematography of Orange is the New Black, focusing on the seventh episode of Season 1, ”Blood Donut.”

The color scheme of the show has the most visual definition, or lack thereof, of any of the other aspects of visual design in the show. The show features very little orange or black, in fact, the most prominent color present is beige. Beige is not only the color of the prisoners’ uniforms, but it also saturates the walls and floors of Litchfield. Even the grass within the prison fences is slightly dead rendering it brown, and the trees surrounding the prison are winterized. Even outside, muted earth tones remain the dominant color scheme. In the outside world, colors are far more pronounced and are clearly brighter. Earth tones seemingly remain the primary color scheme, dark brown and beige being replaced with cream and yellow, but there are flashes of bright colors that break this monotony. These are absent in the prison. Lighting contributes to this visual difference between the two places: in the prison lighting is almost constantly white fluorescent, which is colder, and natural light is almost always absent. Outside of prison, lighting is either warm natural daylight or warm, dim, and yellow incandescent lighting.

So much beige

Another visual choice that greatly impacts the show is its shot selection. The show uses a lot of close up shots, framing the faces of its characters. This is effective as Orange is the New Black is, at its core, a show that focuses on all of its characters, their stories, and their experiences, with their being in prison serving as merely a plot device. Even during dialogue, characters are often framed individually while speaking, letting the audience focus more on what they’re saying. Another aspect of shot selection the show uses well is intermittent long takes. These are used not to increase dramatic effect as they normally are, but to highlight the monotony of prison life by lingering on more mundane moments.

Orange is the New Black is a show that revolves around its excellent visual design and character development. It may miss the target in terms of short term plot as a result of looking long term, but sticking with the show makes the viewers appreciate its core tenets. Using this, the show makes important points about the prison system and the lives of women, while remaining entertaining.

“‘Orange Is the New Black’ Blood Donut.” IMDb, IMDb.com, www.imdb.com/title/tt2595996/mediaindex?ref_=tt_mv_close.

Jessica Purple Jones

Well as far as the show goes, there is a lot of purple. Purple seems to be Jessica Jones’ color whether it be in her impromptu super suits or the color the screen turns when she is having a breakdown. This most likely comes from the comic book

This illustrating the very aura of Jones being shown to be purple.

coloring as well as Kilgrave’s other name being the Purple Man. So as far as the color scheme of the show, purple is the way to go.

When the screen isn’t purple, a lot of times its rather dark. Jones does a lot of stuff at night, in dark rooms, or poorly lit areas. Even during the day, her life is often times filled with shadows. This tying directly to the overall dark theme of the show and Jones’ figurative walk in the shadows. Specifically the last episode or two of the season conclude the conflict with Kilgrave at night in a place with very few people, away from the rest of the city. I think it stands out because it goes fully into darkness as it concludes with Jones killing Kilgrave.

The way that the show is shot is typical of an action based show. There is a lot of movement and quick shots going from one place to another while also having the occasional fight scene in one area with a long shot from the camera focused on the fighting. When there isn’t anyone being punched, the show works on character and plot development through long takes between characters as they discuss their issues. It allows one to notice changes between scenes of serious discussion, occasional comedy, and quick action based scenes. Some of the ways that it is shot is based on the New York City setting, where when there are a bunch of people walking about, the way the scene has to be shot reflects that setting to show the hustle and bustle. Jessica Jones is a dark and violent show and the cinematography and direction reflect that.

Quick, Quirky, Quintessential New Girl

In season 6 episodes 12 and 13, New Girl cinematography and direction is fast paced and filled with humor. While New Girl is a relatively short show, lasting about 20 minutes per episode, the jokes are plentiful, and the shots reflect this. The shortness of the show and its humorous nature means that quick cuts are most popular. While petty banter among the gang consists of many quick shots, the show does have its longer shots. In more serious scenes, there are more long takes, letting the viewer take in the character’s facial features and responses. For example, when Nick’s girlfriend admits to him that she is excited to read his book but worried that she’ll fall asleep, the camera zoned in on her face, letting the viewer see how genuine she is being.

Nick and Reagan share a heart to heart in a long take on the show

Long takes are not confined to serious moments, however. New Girl has a plethora of awkward moments, mostly but not always made possible by the star of the show Jessica Day. In episode 12, The Cubical, Winston got a long shot after he made a bad joke at the dinner table, pausing just long enough to let the awkward set in for the viewer and the other characters.

The show’s color scheme is quite colorful. Jess usually wears a colorful wardrobe consisting of bright reds, yellows and greens. The show’s bright and chipper color scheme is reflective of the show as a whole. New Girl is a comedic sit com. It’s not a drama. It’s not meant to be heavy, and the color scheme reflects that.

So much brightness. So much color. 

The Cubical and Cece’s Boys do not appear to stand out visually in some way from other episodes. The quickness of pace, bright colors, and quirky characters are plentiful. If anything, I would say that there are more longer, serious takes in these two episodes. Nearing the end of the season, the drama is amping up. Nick’s concerns with his girlfriend Reagan are apparent and reflected in close up, longer takes. The same can be said for Jess’s relationship with her boyfriend; though, their relationship is a little more lighthearted.

Cinemat(Broad)ography and Dir(City)ection

Broad City is a really well shot show. Paying attention to the cinematography has especially enlightened me to the variance of shots and mise en scene particular to the show. The camera can be shaky in one scene and pan in the next. I most recently watched season 4 episode 1 of the series, and the show’s visual direction is often non-distracting but sometimes an aide to its humor. In the episode Ilana and Abbi are meeting each other for the first time, and the show explores their lives without each other and how much better they are in that same immediate day in an alternate scenario where they spend the day together. Over the top dvd movie menu esque transitions convey which reality is being displayed as it switches between each repeatedly until they eventually run into each other, no longer needing the transition to differentiate between realities. It definitely helped me keep track of what was going on as the characters wear the same clothes the entire time and the plot is only held together through these transitions.

In other episodes of Broad City, different areas of New York will have different lighting to give one a more gross, uncomfortable feeling when a man bothers them on the street compared to better lighting when they later stumble into a wealthy neighborhood. The use of lighting to convey meaning and emotion is an interesting tool. Broad City generally seems to use it as a tool to physically display the character’s anxiety. In one episode the power goes off in Abbi’s building, and her not being able to flush the toilet is heightened through the dark surroundings and shadows in the following scenes. A mundane inconvenience is better allowed to be thought of as more by the viewer because of how the show visually treats and accompanies the situation.

See the source image

Here is an interesting use of lighting from behind Abbi to highlight the revelation that she becomes a singer in an old bar when she blacks out.

 

Camera Shots and Gun Shots: Shooting the Show

In this fourth installment of Westworld, I was able to notice at how the creators of the show created a major shift to focus in short, quick, snappy flashback shots. One of the main stress of the episode was to start to build tension by having the abused androids of the park be tormented while remembering their past. These interjecting snippets of film not only are able to show the confusion of androids Dolores and Maeve, but they also confuse the viewer by constantly inputting new, not seen before content of the cosmetic surgeries the androids are given once they are killed in the park.

Maeve remembering one of her traumatic surgeries.

One of the main effects of this filming behavior has caused the viewers, like myself, to view the actions which are occurring through the show in the perspective of the android. This confusion in the perspective therefore dehumanizes the human workers which are fixing the “working parts” of their business while sympathizing with the Maeve — who is struggling with a major identity crisis about what her existential purpose really is — as she transcends beyond her mental ability to simply function. Furthermore, we are also beginning to understand the deeper inner workings of the park in which the transition from machine to man takes place (ironically, the religion of the Native Americans in the show and also where Dolores’s painful  flashbacks are guiding her).

Finally, the effects of such intense flashbacks are contrasted with the long-retracting camera angles of talks between Dolores and Bernard — one of the managers of the park — to show how man is trying to understand how machine is developing the consciousness. These long scenes drag out for seemingly ages to make the viewer ponder about their own struggle with existence, something which many of mankind substitute with religion. The depth which these scenes provide almost touch into mankind’s early attempts to fathom their own existence.

Small Choices of Camera Make Big Differences

With the rise of online streaming and various alternative television channels, low budget television shows have been on the rise again. Although these TV shows might have been produced with a small budget, many of them are still able to capture the attention of its audience just like the major blockbusters, with prime examples being KillJoys and in movies the Hallmark movies.

Coping with its low budget, we don’t see fancy CGI being used in Killjoys and it is often shot on simple sets, while the external locations are usually just old factories or farms. What made Killjoys enjoyable and stood out among other TV shows was its near excellent use of cinematography. It’s uses of camera angles and how it designed the compositions of the scenes, effectively constructed the atmospheres of each scene while building up the personality of the characters in the show. Today, we shall be discussing how effective cinematography has propelled Killjoys to its success.

 

「killjoys iconic scenes」的圖片搜尋結果

Example of how a tense atmosphere is constructed just by the cinematography

 

Have you ever wondered why your focus has always fallen on Dutch while watching the series? Don’t worry, this isn’t something wrong on your part. In fact, it is something the director wanted its audience to do. Apart from Dutch having a longer screen time than the two other main characters (individually), notice how when Dutch is on screen with other characters, she is often placed in the centre of the screen. Although just watching through the episodes, it is pretty hard to notice its effects, as on first sight the characters will be seen on the same ground by us. However, as cognitive misers, especially we turn our brain off while watching TV, what is at the centre of the screen easily becomes our centre of interest. The director’s use of screen composition subtly guides us on who to focus. We usually won’t notice this, but it is this extra time we focus on Dutch, especially when she is with other characters that lead us to become more connected with her over the other. This allows the screenwriters to ultimately “force” a bond between the audience and Dutch.

 

「killjoys」的圖片搜尋結果

How Dutch is the Center of Interest

 

Throughout the series, we are also often given the feeling that Dutch is a woman with a strong character and excellent fighting ability. Apart from the actions she has been seen doing – single-handedly fending off a whole group of mercenaries or directly confronting Delle an Aneela, as you can guess the use of camera also plays a great role here.  Indeed, this can be attributed to the use of low angles shots for Dutch in the show. Same as the reason why your friends might like to take low angle photos, low angle photos can make a person seem more confident and stronger. It makes a person taller and, in the process, distorting body portions resulting in a misjudgment by the audience. The director of Killjoys plays around with this effect, allowing Dutch to remain more confident and dominant over other characters even in crises, strengthening her image while preserving a natural storyline.

 

A video on the effects of camera angles:

 

How Cinematography in Fresh Off the Boat leads to an Upbeat Environment

The Cinematography in Fresh Off the Boat, similar to the rest of the sitcom genre, lends itself to a very upbeat and cheerful environment. The combination of bright, warm, colors and quick cuts creates a pleasant, lighthearted, atmosphere.

Color in cinematography serves as a valuable tool in portraying how the audience feels. Lighting and color are a huge aspect in the emotion of a scene, and through the use of bright colors, the show invites the audience to feel comforted and happy. For example, the Huang’s house is painted a bright yellow or white in most places and the blinds are always open. In Season 2 Episode 10, the Huangs celebrate Christmas, and to communicate this idea of warmth and family, there is not a single dark scene. The few scenes shot at night have bright lights illuminating it. This episode is especially bright in comparison to the rest of the season because it wants to communicate the happy feeling of family and togetherness .

Christmas at the Huangs

Cutting quickly between the actors talking also creates a faux excitement and energy that keeps the audience engaged. Whenever a character talks, the camera hard cuts to them with no transition. The camera keeps the characters face in full shot while they are talking, seemingly used to create a sort of intimacy between the audience and the characters. The show is also shot in single-camera, following the characters as they move around. This parallels the fast paced plot of the show, as the audience quickly follows each characters and their sub plots. Specifically in the episode about Christmas, the cuts are abundantly clear when the kids are arguing about presents to get their parents and the camera quickly shifts between each of the kids as they each but in to the conversation.

Eddie in close view

Overall, the cinematography in the show perfectly sets the scene for how the directors want the audience to feel through the use of bright colors and lighting and quick cuts.

Fresh Shots of the Boat

The show is fast-paced since it has to fit a story line in a 20 minute episode. For this reason, the show is shot in short takes to keep the plot line moving along. This matches the quick nature of the family they are following. The family lives a fast-paced lifestyle. In this episode, the mother’s sister is coming to visit and they need to show off their wealth.

Success Perm


The show shows them quickly getting ready for their family to visit and then the relatives arriving. Then, their family arrives and they move from outside where they discuss the house, to inside the house where they discuss their house more, to their restaurant where they switch between the women showing who got a better bargain and the men discussing the success of their business. Then they move back to their house where more is revealed. All of the shots are very quick and all the actions moves very quickly as it has to.
The show is lit well. This shows how the show is light-hearted and meant to be feel good. The color scheme is a bit dated since it is supposed to be put in the 90s. For this reason, the costumes are designed to look like they are from the 90s. The show also includes a clip from OJ’s trial and a small plot line with that to put in the time period.
This episode does not follow a different format as other episodes. Since the show is a sitcom, each episode tends to follow the same format. There is a conflict that is resolved in the last few minutes. For this reason, it makes sense to follow the same format in a every episode as there is not much time to change it up. Perhaps the last episode contains a cliffhanger without a resolution to keep viewers watching but as this episode is towards the middle of the season there isn’t a change in format.

Color and Cinematography in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt focuses on the life of its titular character Kimmy who possesses a positive and optimistic outlook on life. The color scheme of the show tends to match and reflect her personality. Kimmy’s and Titus’s apartment is full of color; the background of every shot showing vibrant yellows, turquoises, and magentas. Kimmy and Titus both wear vibrant, accent colors. The show’s setting tends to take place in well lit areas. In addition, almost every scene takes place during the day and rarely ever at night. The lighting and the color scheme help emphasize the positive ambiance of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
The vibrant colors of Kimmy’s current world juxtaposes her past where she had to live inside a colorless bunker. Even in the bunker, Kimmy and the other girls were the only source of color, wearing drab shades. As she comes out of the bunker, the color in Kimmy’s world explodes which is eventually reflected her clothing.

Kimmy talking to Charlie

Charlie “talking” to Kimmy

 

 

 

Split-Screen

The cinematography of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt matches the humorous nature of the show and is used for comedic effect. For example, in the fifth episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Kimmy Kisses a Boy!), Kimmy is told by Charles, Buckley’s tutor, that he loves her. The scene is set up with single shots of both characters talking on the phone to each other. Since the scene is from Kimmy’s point of view, the moment is portrayed as romantic and shows Charles talking in a soft tone. Later, when Kimmy goes to talk to him about the moment, she discovers that the he butt dialed her and was actually talking to one of his friends about a video game. Here, the show uses cinematography for a humorous effect when the show juxtaposes the earlier scene in a split screen to show Charles’s “conversation” with Kimmy and his friend.

Fresh Outta Film School

Fresh Off the Boat has a fresh visual design. The colors are bright, the cuts are quick, and the color scheme is warm. This show is so wholesome that it even reflects in the visual design. The colors are warm schemed, reflecting the warmth of the show and the inviting characters as the series wants to display their family dynamic. This has the effect of carrying over the program’s lightheartedness. There are no gloomy days, dark scenes, or special effects in the show. It is very clean cut and looks bright and cheery even when nighttime scenes are shown.

Image result for fresh off the opening gif

fight like sisters, love like sisters

The show has mostly longer scenes, with a plotline falling over an average to long timeframe, but shots are quick and clean. Conversations between characters are shot with quick cuts between each perspective, ping-ponging between lines of dialogue. Every once in a while scenes are shot differently, like the opening of Episode 7, when the Huang’s are in a mock robbery scene. The opening of the showtimes special edits with riffs and music. The narration is paired with shots, especially when narrating the thoughts of multiple characters at a time, which the show does often. These long takes help the development of the show by allowing for longer jokes and humor with better punchlines and more drama between the characters. Scene 7 also shows a fantasy of Eddie Huang wanting to hit on his crush, who he is intimidated by, by showing her his music taste. In this scene, he gets up to walk back to her and enters a fantasy edit with backup dancers and an autotuned bus driver. More intimate scenes, like one on one conversations between the mom and dad, are shot closer up, leading you into the conversation as if you were there. If it weren’t shot this close, it would feel as though you are observing something private, and may lose engagement with viewers.

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the way they look at each other <3

I find the intro of the show interesting cinematographically because it uses unique panning styles and zooms not used in the actual showtime. In the title sequence as well as most of Eddie’s scenes, the music is paired with the style of the shot. Zooms have riffs, sexy scenes have jazz, happy scenes have elevator music and Eddie’s got his 2pac. Is this show Straight Outta Compton or Straight Outta Suburbia?

The Huangs GET SHOT

Fresh Off the Boat takes an interesting turn in season two, episode nineteen. In the beginning of the episode, we see that Jessica is upset because her favorite drama t.v. show will be off air until its next season starts. Following this, the episode’s ambiance gradually  becomes more and more dramatic to emulate such a show, which is pretty different than the usual vibe. Usually, the show is very brightly lit and colorful, contributing to a light and very welcoming and easy-to-watch atmosphere. But in this episode, there is more use of darkness and contrast to add to the dramatic effect.

Some scenes in this episode are visibly darker than usual.

This reminds me of some of the shots from an earlier episode in season one where Louis agrees to coach Eddie’s basketball team. Eddie imagines his father playing basketball like an old kung fu movie, with flying fight scenes and dramatic dialog. The writers’ use of cinematography to change the mood or delivery of episodes is an interesting concept in my opinion. It introduces a lot of freedom to the writers’ roles in developing episodes. Writers can, and do, change some of the basic elements of the show from time to time to convey different things. I think this is a pretty unique quality for a show to have, and it seems like this show is a lot of fun on both ends of the production as writers can introduce fun episodes such as these.

One thing that remains constant, cinematography-wise, is the use of many cuts in a single scene. In the context of the viewer, this creates a feeling of a fast pace in scenes. I don’t really know why this would be desirable from a production standpoint, though. This may be a result of a low budget or the inclusion of child actors, so that many takes can be strung together without seeming out-of-place.

Shooting Fresh Off the Boat

Good evening, friends!  Let’s return to one of my favorite American families and their latest adventures.  Well, latest is a relative term, considering that Fresh Off the Boat is currently airing its fifth season, and I’m still watching and reviewing the first season… but that’s beside the point!  Their adventures are new to me, and for this assignment, that’s all that matters.

Angles, color, length of shots, and scene/plot complexity are all elements of a TV show that make it both watchable and unique.  Fast-paced shows (Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives comes to mind) incorporate bright colors and quick shots.  The Good Place uses lighter colors to represent a serenity of sorts.  Fresh Off the Boat combines multiple color schemes to convey a complex theme.  Lighter, pastel colors are often present when the whole Huang family is together, and these convey a peaceful tone.  When the entire family is in the same place (especially in their own home), the “better when we’re together” feeling is almost tangible.

In many of Eddie’s adventures in which he hangs out with his school friends or pursues yet another girl way out of his age league (sorry buddy, somebody had to say it), the color scheme is generally vibrant.  Not only is this bright palette attractive to viewers, but it is also indicative of pleasant, happy times for Eddie.

Typically, each episode is Huang-family-centered.  The main plot concerns most, if not all, family members.  Additionally, Louis always has some trouble with entrepreneurship, and Eddie has a problem with a friend (or a love interest).  So, each scene usually lasts for a few minutes, and the scenes that affect the entire family usually last a bit longer than those that only feature one or two.  Again, this detail points to the huge emphasis Fresh Off the Boat places on close family relationships.

As I have noticed throughout this entire first season of Fresh Off the Boat, the show really does feature close family bonds.  If all roads lead to theme, then cinematography is a highway in this sense.

Nice, pastel-dressed, happy family

One-Night Stands and Messed-Up Plans

Even before watching episode thirteen of New Girl, I had planned to write a blog post about this episode because I was expecting changes in color schemes to match Valentine’s Day as described in the title of the episode.  While I was disappointed by the lack of festivity, there is still plenty to talk about regarding the visual design of the episode and the show as a whole.

When your night isn’t going as planned

New Girl continues to stay upbeat while keeping viewers up-to-date with the daily lives of the main characters.  The color scheme of the show generally matches the tone with warm hues that are comfortable and cheery and is usually shot with quick cuts, often shifting camera angles in line with changes in speakers.  For instance, there’s soft lighting and brown tones in the furniture and decorations when the camera is focused on Nick and his girlfriend Julia.  During Schmidt’s and Jess’s conversation about their Valentine’s Day plans, the camera angle switches to focus on who is talking in the conversation.  After the initial warm, earthy tones set in the shared apartment, the color scheme of the episode takes a darker turn to match the time of day and later, Schmidt’s dark mood at being forced to be the third wheel and driver for Jess’s one-night stand.

The darkness makes the abrupt transition to bright office lighting even more jarring as the episode transitions to focus on Nick and intern Cliff (and Julia, in between her phone calls with Ming).  While the surroundings are now better lit, the mood doesn’t change much as the lighting lacks warmth and hominess.  The only person somewhat enjoying Valentine’s Day in the group of four is Winston who has unwittingly joined Shelby and her girlfriends for a relaxing night in.  While Winston is initially disgruntled, he fits in seamlessly with the girls, which the visual design of the episode demonstrates through cheerful, festive lighting and colorful reds.  Before the cut to Oliver and Jess, the camera zooms in on Shelby’s face to show how impressed and touched she is with how well Winston has integrated with her girl group.

In this episode of New Girl, the color scheme and lighting match well with the plot of the show and the mood that the show is trying to convey.  The visual design provides hints for the audience regarding when things are going well or poorly for the main characters and various experiences with romantic relationships during the evening of a day focused on romance and love.  As almost always with New Girl, the episode ends optimistically, though with suspense, showing a scene of the morning after when Cece has hooked up with Schmidt while Jess had narrowly dodged that bullet (and awkwardness) the night before.  The audience is left wondering what will happen next as it appears to be the calm before the storm.

Obadear, Let’s Shoot This Show

The first 30 seconds of season 2 of Search Party are an absolute masterpiece. Visually, we have a blank (ish) canvas; our protagonist’s face is looking directly at the camera (it’s soon revealed she’s actually looking into a mirror) with nothing else in the shot, save for a splotch of blood on her forehead. She’s facing what’s just happened (haha, get it?). The room feels so sterile.Without audio, this scene is particularly puzzling, especially for a first-time viewer. When you layer in the audio however, you can make the connection that our protagonist Dory has just gone through a very traumatic event. Snippets of recent happenings flash on the screen for a couple of seconds but disappear too quickly to get a sure sense of what is going on.

This inaugural scene sets the tone for the whole season: anxiety and mystery and trauma (oh my!). The camera work is shaky, implying a sense of urgency. The colors are muted (ironically, the only non neutral in the scene is the blood red sweater Elliot is wearing). The camera moves even with the actors, following Dory and Elliot upwards as he pulls her off the ground by her shoulders. There’s a strange intimacy hidden here, revealed deeply through all of these choices. That feeling, however, is immediately lost when Elliot comments about Chantal’s invitation to dinner. Our characters are still in the real world, even though this opening sequence is so dream-like. When I say dream-like, though, I really mean nightmarish. The scene is almost shot like a reality TV show. The camera focuses on the character’s face for much too long, almost uncomfortably close. A viewer could count all of Alia Shawkat’s freckles.

There’s another really beautiful scene in the episode where Drew is playing a melancholy keyboard tune. The room he’s in is blood orange, carpet included. The scene is lit very scarcely, but at the same time there is enough light for our characters to be bathed in a red hue. This scene is quite brilliantly shot, really, since it’s where Elliot, Drew, and Dory decide they are not going to report Keith’s murder to the police. It’s almost as if the redness is making their secret more evil.

One stylistic choice that stood out to me in this episode was the scene where they buried Keith. Remember that Search Party is, overall, a pretty dark show (pun intended). The lack of proper lighting actually bothered me as I’d have to constantly increase my laptop brightness to accommodate while watching. Thus, it’s interesting that in the darkest plot moment of the show, they choose to convey the characters outside. So picture this: four millennials, one freshly down from a coke high, burying a dead man (in a hot pink zebra stripe suitcase) in broad daylight.

Just pretend the suitcase is there too

Search Party is a very serious show, I promise.

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