English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: #ENGL1102tvfem Page 1 of 2

Corrupted Justice in Jessica Jones

From the beginning of my journey into Jessica Jones’s world back in Season 1 to where I stand now, halfway through Season 2, an aspect that always interested me more than any other, while equally intriguing me, was the law system in the show, more specifically its corruption. Anomalies within the justice system was present in many episodes, such as in the very first, when a married male strip club owner caught having an affair with another woman by Jessica, and issued a subpoena to attend court, still leaves with a verdict of not guilty, to the episode I am on in Season 2 where Jessica and her step-sister Trish are released from prison after falsely being accused of a murder committed by, pretty much, a monster. This constant repetition of false trials and incorrect decisions, in addition to representing the inevitable inconsistencies in the justice system in the real world, especially in a populous city such as New York (the show’s setting), also demonstrate the fact that justice is simply a relative term that can easily be manipulated by people looking to take advantage of its inconsistencies.

Jessica Jones is presented as an ideal example of someone who not only endures a lack of justice provided in the first place given her minority status in the overall population around her (a female with super-powers), but also someone who constantly has to endure the consistently manipulated justice. From the reaction of passersby whenever Jessica reveals a snippet of her superhuman strength to the reaction of the jury whenever her super-powers came into picture in the court, which she has visited plenty of times due to falsely being accused of crimes, it is obvious that the society dislikes anyone with such abnormalities, even if they have them without their consent, as is the case for Jessica as she was experimented upon as a child. In addition, she has also witnessed several instances of people using this flimsy justice system to their advantage, a prime example being Kilgrave, who, as Jessica herself has recalled several times, has raped her, forced her to kill someone, and provided her with a strong case of PTSD because of those reasons and his mind-controlling abilities, all without suffering any consequences. Jessica, however, after successfully managing to kill him in the end of Season 1, is sent straight to prison for murdering someone who has tormented her and several other lives.

Finally, as it can be seen by the instances above, Jessica Jones has made many more visits to courts than any male character in the show, including her neighbor Malcolm, who has been present with her following many of the murders (although to help her most of the time) and still remained unquestioned by the police. This trend can therefore relate the justice system in the show to gender axes as well, making the law system in the show that much more corrupted but still interesting to discover more corruption of.

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“One, keep denying it…”

What Fresh Off the Boat Teaches Us

As I’ve independently watched and analyzed Fresh Off the Boat, I have learned a lot from this show.  No matter how lighthearted the jokes may be, the show still offers a glimpse into the struggles of a child of foreign-born parents as he grows up feeling out of place.  So, for this last post, I’ll be looking at what makes this show successful according to some of its top names.

To begin, it’s worth mentioning that Fresh Off the Boat is loosely based on the childhood of the REAL-LIFE Eddie Huang.  Yep, that’s right.  He’s real, and he’s a TV chef!  Cool, huh?  As the show was first being developed, his input was taken into very close consideration because, after all, the show is all about him.

One main reason that allowed Fresh Off the Boat to give a different kind of insight into the lives of immigrants is summarized by Nahnatchka Khan, the showrunner.

“It’s told from the inside out, meaning the Huangs are always the ones who are telling the story, not the ones being looked at in a fish bowl and pointed at,” she says.  This element stands out in several aspects of the show.  The family is never portrayed in a way in which they look foolish.  Sure, there are some humorous moments in which the cultural differences come to light (see Jessica and the country club, S1E7), but these are always laid-back, and as confirmed by Khan, this type of joke was intentional.

Another main reason that Fresh Off the Boat has been successful and widely praised is its lack of stereotyping.  Yes, Jessica did homeschool her kids with her own version of “Chinese Learning Center,” but this was not presented in a demeaning way.  Rather, Eddie presented this whole ordeal (in his eyes) as something Chinese parents do.  It was neither harmful nor degrading; in fact, it was presented as beneficial to kids’ roundedness.  Constance Wu, who played Jessica, speaks to this aspect in an interview.  She says, “Stereotypes are only dangerous when they are used as the butt of the joke, and our writers have taken great care to never write a single joke that is based upon a stereotype.”  As a Taiwanese American and a lead actress in the show, her praise of this writing technique speaks volumes.

In a world in which many are quick to judge and stereotype others simply based on appearance, Fresh Off the Boat’s depth in legitimizing Chinese-American culture is extremely refreshing.  Here’s hoping this is a trend that sticks.

 

Sources: http://time.com/3696111/fresh-off-the-boat-constance-wu/

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/nov/18/how-fresh-off-the-boat-reshaped-sitcom-convention

Jessica said what we were all thinking when we showed up at Tech. Happy almost-end-of-the-semester, everyone!

Heritage and Tradition in Fresh Off the Boat – An Analysis of How the Huang Family Maintains their Asian Identity While Assimilating into White Florida Culture

Fresh Off the Boat struggles with a great many issues that Asians have had to face, and continue to face today. While the perceived benefits of assimilating into White culture are displayed extensively throughout the show (social acceptance, business success, and less judgement received from white neighbors) the Huangs have to constantly battle within themselves to determine their identity in a rapidly globalizing world today. This struggle is especially highlighted in the episode, “So Chineez,” in which Jessica observes just how far their family has changed to fit in with their whitewashed surroundings as she finally becomes close with her neighbors and Louis considers joining a country club. The conflict of this episode revolves around the Huang family’s appreciation of the American culture that they have assimilated into, including both the luxury and the leisure of life in the middle class, against Jessica’s desire to reconnect with the Chinese culture that has defined both her and Louis’s work ethics. As Louis begins to enjoy his visits to the country club both for its luxury and for its business opportunity, he and other family members begin to resist Jessica’s push to maintain Chinese culture because the life that they have fallen into in Orlando has become one that they are both comfortable and accepted in.

Jessica attempts to reconnect with her culture by donning some traditional Chinese garb.

Throughout this episode Jessica comes to the realization that it is nearly impossible to live in a white suburb without assimilating into their culture and discovers a certain middle ground in which one can both assimilate into a culture while respecting and understanding one’s historical roots. This establishes a key concept throughout the show of the Asian-American intersectionality in which Eddie is not entirely Asian, and not entirely American, but has pieces of his identity within both cultures. What Eddie tries to convey in his memoir that this show is based off of is that this is what separates Asian Americans from Asians and Americans.

“AKA Girl Power”: A Look at Gender Representation in Jessica Jones

Episode 4 of the second season of Jessica Jones, titled “AKA God Help the Hobo”, contains several gender representations that provide a strong structural gender background of the whole show itself. From the name of the show and its first episode of the first season itself, it became obvious who the central character is in terms of representation by time, decisions and actions: Jessica Jones. She is already portrayed as unique from the general public due to her superhuman strength, matched only by her close friend Luke Cage’s indestructible skin and her previous enemy, Kilgrave’s, mind-controlling capabilities. In addition to her unique power and being the only female, and human, to possess it, she is also the main protagonist of the show, with the show’s plotline revolving primarily around her, from her dark past (summarized very well by her in the opening scene of the episode mentioned above: “My whole family was killed in a car accident…someone did horrific experiments on me…I was abducted, raped, and forced to kill someone… ”), to her quest to hunt down and kill Kilgrave, which was achieved by the end of Season 1, to now find more clues about the company that gave her the superhuman abilities following the accident that killed her parents.

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Jessica at her first anger management therapy…

 

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5 minutes later

“AKA God Help the Hobo” is an episode that re-emphasizes all these previously established gender roles in the show, along with provide some new ones. One of the re-emphasized gender roles is of Malcolm’s, Jessica’s neighbor and partner investigator in his and Jessica’s co-founded detective agency, presence on the outskirts of the company he has half the ownership of. After a failed anger management class, Jessica returns to her agency/apartment and is met by a demanding Malcolm who begs for more opportunities to help her in her investigations, showing Jessica’s independence even though she eventually agrees after reluctance because of wanting to keep him safe. This inverse relationship of a man being on the outskirts and under the decisions of a woman is an important factor within the show that makes it especially worthwhile to watch in the modern day due to its proactive message.

 

The first new gender role it provides is in relation to Jessica’s female lawyer, who was initially shown to be self-employed but gets fired by a male investigator in this episode who is apparently at a higher power, showing a stark change in the pattern of gender representation thus far in the show as women, such as Jessica and her closest friend and step-sister Trish, have usually maintained dominant roles. The show also grounds itself to reality due to the reason the lawyer was fired: her developing ALS, a nervous system disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function, displaying a common limitation to many in the workforce today, especially women: an unavoidable factor such as disability.

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

Examining the Role of Women in the Labour Force According to the Ideals of Fresh Off the Boat

Within this episode, Jessica attempts to leave her life as a stay-at-home mom behind and join the workforce as a realtor. However, after her first attempt at the realtor licensing exam, she realizes that re-entering the workforce will be a much tougher nut to crack than she originally believed. One of the main challenges Jessica struggles with is her inability to accept the fact that she was a stay-at-home mom and has to cope with the struggles of others like her who have difficulty entering the work force. The difficulty within switching between the roles of motherhood to worker have long been a key issue in the battle for women’s equality within the labor market.

Jessica often aims to be the best at what she does, but she gives up easily when she faces opposition.

As the episode continues Jessica pretends to have earned her realtor license so as not to lose the respect of her husband, family, and friends and struggles with the concept of heavy competition within the workforce and her desire to avoid the label of stay-at-home mother. After hiding from her family and friends to pretend to be working she realizes that she will only be fulfilled once she has begun to work and is able to compete with the other realtors in the area.

Naturally this transition is one that must be balanced while Jessica maintains her duties around the home. It is her responsibility to both maintain her children’s grades and academic standing as well as to cook and clean around the house, which places a large amount of strain on Jessica. Due to her desire to work hard and to be better than everyone else however, she is able to overcome these barriers and maintain a healthy work-life balance that is often strained when beginning a new career. This episode highlights the difficult transition of women into the labour force as well as the rough odds of a woman being successful in the labor force when burdened by a family.

Fresh Off the Gender Stereotypes

So far in season one of Fresh Off the Boat, the genders have been fairly traditionally represented. The main characters are a nuclear family with young boys. In some aspects, I suppose the show could be somewhat progressive for the way in which the mother is represented as being rather equally in control over the family as the father. However, it is also his job that moves the family, he who is the main breadwinner, and she who is at home with the kids. For the purpose of playing devil’s advocate, it is true that she very much has a backbone and that she pushes the children in school and calls her husband on his BS, often times saving his skin at the restaurant, but she is also placed in very traditional roles, almost stereotypical for an Asian mother. This way, the show plays with the transitioning role of women in society and emphasizes the context of the character both in her sex and ethnicity in terms of her role in the family. She represents the progression of the role of women in society as she is not as empowered in her career, yet she owns being a stay at home mother and takes an active role in her husband’s business, indicating that although she is in traditional roles, she still has a backbone.

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the family-friendly “yo mama”

With the issue of gender, this show is much less progressive than it could be. There are only the two traditional genders represented, and even these aren’t represented very progressively. We don’t see any instances of the characters being gender fluid, transgender, cross-dressing, androgeny, or otherwise. All of the female characters are feminine and so far all have been straight. All of the men act and dress as a cis hetero male would. The show’s cultural focus is clear. It is not gender. It is not sexuality. It is about Asian immigrants in America. In a way, I can respect this because the focus is not being distracted from. The narrative is told. However, I also take issue with this because it does not reflect the reality for most Americans. Gender is a spectrum. Sexuality is a spectrum. Fresh Off the Boat isn’t too fresh with the facts.

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that’s the tea

Movin’ On Up

Broad City’s general brand of humor deals with the relatable yet wacky incidences of daily millennial life, and Abbi and Ilana are perfect portrayals of twenty-somethings trying to get ahead in life. While this brand of comedy accords with the general millennial, season four of Broad City takes a slight turn from wacky to mature. In episode 3 of season 4, titled “Just the Tips,” Abbi’s and Ilana’s characters progress from an innocent, early-20’s mindset to a more mature, late-20’s mindset.

“Just the Tips” reflects the general theme of season 4 in that Abbi and Ilana are not the same wacky, young semi-adults that they once were in earlier seasons. They are maturing into adult women, and they start to attain a sense of stability and maturity that is unlike themselves in earlier seasons. While there still is plenty of craziness that goes on, the protagonists are evidently growing up, and this episode reflects how in real life, people grow up, and they start to make more stable, mature decisions for themselves.

Season 4 of Broad City, spoofing Beyonce’s “Formation” 

In this episode, Ilana is enjoying the fruits of her new high-paying waitress job as she is able to afford daily things that were otherwise luxuries, such as a king-size bed. Abbi, interning at a graphic design firm, is coming to terms with her complicated relationship with Trey, her former boss, and she starts to realize that sex-only flings are not important anymore. While at a party, Abbi and Ilana confront these new lifestyle changes as Abbi is forced to think about her relationship while Ilana is forced to confront Lincoln, her former friends with benefits. Abbi realizes that she needs to invest more time in her well being, and Ilana moves on from the pain of leaving Lincoln as she talks with him face-to-face. Ilana even tells Lincoln that “I[Ilana] am much more mature than when you last saw me.” Both Abbi and Ilana acknowledge what they want, and they start to think for themselves as adults rather than young, innocent millennials. They face their past conflicts head on, and they do not shy away from improving their lives as adults in New York City.

Ilana enjoying her new disposable income

The theme of maturity and growing up in “Just the Tips” relates to the course of Broad City overall because the shift from the earlier seasons to season 4 resembles what happens in real life to most young people. In the earlier seasons, Abbi and Ilana are working dead-end jobs, and they engage in risky endeavors to unsuccessfully better their lives. However, in season 4, Abbi and Ilana are working at stable, worthwhile jobs, and they feel much more content. While there is still plenty of absurdity, Abbi and Ilana are clearly maturing into better versions of themselves. In the end, Broad City takes a more progressing turn as Abbi and Ilana “move on up” in their respective lives.

Ilana and Abbi leaving the party in “Just the Tips”

Representation of Women in Saturday Night Live

Early in our research stage, our group decided to explore the representation of women in comedy.  Specifically, we were interested in NBC’s Saturday Night Live, as it has been continuously airing for decades, and thus, allows us to compare and contrast the ways women were portrayed in the mid-1970s and how they are depicted now.  Initially, all our research was about Saturday Night Live, but we quickly realized that there simply were not enough peer-reviewed articles about that one show!  After expanding our search to late-night comedy, we read several pieces regarding the male dominance of late-night comedy shows in general.  With this in mind, we brought those ideas back to SNL.  Instead of exploring simply numbers of women on the show, we honed our focus on more specific aspects of female representation on Saturday Night Live.  We will distinctly direct our research toward women of minority races and female characters with different sexualities.  On a broader note, we will look for the way women are presented in the first season and identify any change in those patterns in the most recent season.

Our specific research question is listed below:

How have women, especially those of minority races and different sexualities, been represented on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, and how have these roles changed as the show’s seasons have progressed?  Has the correlating portrayal of women noticeably changed over the duration of the show’s airing?

Since Saturday Night Live is currently airing its forty-fourth season, and most seasons are comprised of over twenty hour-long episodes, it would be impossible for five people to watch and analyze every episode.  For that reason, we will concentrate on the inaugural season and the most recent complete season of the show. Not only does this allow us to go into depth on a smaller amount of episodes, but it also gives us the chance to see stark differences in the ways women are represented on the show forty years ago versus now.  The content of our research is important because society has changed drastically in the past forty years, and comedy is an excellent reflection of society. Thus, evaluating the evolution of characterizing women on Saturday Night Live will paint a broader picture of the changing ways women are treated in society.  

To answer our research question, we will approach each episode in Seasons One and Forty-Three with a series of specific questions regarding the orientation of jokes on the show when they involve women, how cross-dressing is used in the show (whether for comedic effect or as an acknowledgment of lifestyle choices),  ways in which politics are presented regarding women, and critical reception of the show by female analysts. We will also delve into the representation of non-heterosexual characters on the show, and the corresponding change in society’s view of the LGBTQ community in the 1970s and in the 2010s. Additionally, we will explore quantitative data concerning the number of women credited in each episode, and we will further break those numbers down into guest hosts, main cast members, crew members, etc.  Once we have compiled substantial data from both seasons, we will compare the two seasons and explore the changes that occurred over forty years of Saturday Night Live.

Thanksgiving with Jess: Themes in New Girl

This episode of ‘New Girl’  is centered on one of everyone’s favorite holiday: Thanksgiving. The theme of the episode is Jess and all her friends plus a new guy that she’s crushing on: Paul. By inviting Paul to their house, the day just turns into chaos. The episode goes over all the issues they have during the day such as Nick being irritated, all of the food preparation going wary (the turkey gets WAY too burned) and ends up with them finding a dead body in their neighbor’s house. Regardless of all of these scary and chaotic events, the group of friends still manage to have a meaningful and fun Thanksgiving day together.

Jess going all out for Paul and her roommates.

The show makes this argument by starting the episode with all of Jess’ roommates hating on Paul, but in the end, they all warm up to him and welcome him into their small family. This relates to the overall theme that despite issues and differences, people can still come together and enjoy a holiday together. This theme relates to the show as a whole because every episode, the characters have conflict but still manage to come together and realize their love and care for each other at the end of the day.

I think this episode, in particular, relates to a greater cultural meaning as it shows the importance of holiday’s, especially Thanksgiving, where in America it’s a holiday where you’re supposed to be thankful for the people regardless of the circumstances. Besides this, a lot of what happened in the episode was extreme, and would normally not occur in normal life, but it was done for humor purposes. Also, I have a feeling that Nick likes Jess, which I also think was the purpose of this episode – to overlay this fact. That is why I think Nick dealt with Paul, to make her happy. The things you do for someone you love are endless.

Only The Real Ones Will Know

One special episode of Broad City that represents its uniqueness in comedic writing is the fifth episode of season two, titled “Hashtag: FOMO.” The writers of this episode are the stars Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, who co-create and write the show as well as having co-created and written the web-series of the same name.

Abbi and Ilana 

Having the main stars write this episode is ideal because much of “Hashtag: FOMO” is Abbi and Ilana scrambling around the city from party to party trying to spend the best time, all while progressively getting more drunk as the night goes on. In this episode, the dialogue is structured mainly around Abbi’s and Ilana’s funny conversations and interactions with others. While there is a writer’s crew and a set script that the Broad City creators follow, the dialogue in this episode is structured in a way that reveals how unstructured the entire show really is. Abbi’s and Ilana’s conversations exude a feeling of familiarity where their perfect chemistry on screen makes the writing flow more naturally. The audience can take it as them improvising their dialogue, but Abbi and Ilana wrote this episode to truly show the natural conversations between two close friends, which makes it all the more relatable to the show’s demographic of millennial viewers. The unstructured feeling of the dialogue within this episode matters because the viewers get to see the true bond of friendship between Abbi and Ilana, which allows the concept of female friendships to be aimed at more than one specific demographic of viewers.

What real friends ask each other

While Broad City strays away from the tropes of typical comedy shows, Abbi and Ilana utilize “easter eggs” throughout the series to appeal to the observant, frequent viewers of the show. “Hashtag: FOMO” has a great example where towards the end of the episode, blackout-drunk Abbi drags Ilana to a underground speakeasy where the patrons receive Abbi warmly. Ilana is bamboozled, and Abbi assumes a persona unlike her named Val, a daring performer with a mid-Atlantic jazz voice who the audience loves. This easter egg refers back to the season two premiere where an old lady shouts “Val!” to Abbi on the subway, much to Abbi’s confusion. The audience does not know the context of Val until later, which shows how Abbi and Ilana write the show as if they are living in the moment alongside the viewers. There is not any dramatic irony between Abbi and Ilana and the viewers, but rather with Abbi, Ilana, the viewers, and the surroundings of the show. As the writers of the show, Abbi and Ilana use these easter eggs to create a more satisfying world where past actions influence future events, almost like real life. That is why “Hashtag: FOMO” is a standout episode of Broad City. The unstructured dialogue and the witty easter eggs create a hilarious episode where Abbi and Ilana find out more about each other than they ever knew.

Ilana shocked at Val 

Silence is Golden: A Look at Dialogue and Writing in Jessica Jones

The episode I am writing about, Episode 7: “AKA Top Level Perverts”, is written by Jenna Reback and Micah Schraft. Reback has been a production staff member of 7 episodes of the show “Red Window” and 9 episodes for Jessica Jones, including this episode, while Micah Schraft has been a production staff member of and written episodes for several shows, including 3 episodes for Jessica Jones and 14 episodes for Jane the Virgin!

Going back to the writing of episode 7, dialogue in this episode, much like many other components, is structured similarly to the other episodes: short segments of people conversing, Jessica Jones included, followed by long segments of the episode focused on Jessica herself either voiced over at times with certain quotes from Jessica or simply joined with jazz background music as she is either planning out a new idea involving capturing Kilgrave, coping with her traumas of the past, or even just walking around the bustling New York City at night-time. This emphasis on Jessica for the majority of the time in this episode, and others alike, continues to put the viewers in her point of view and empathize with her as she makes each decision and carries out each of her decisions, including her decision to first take the blame for Kilgrave’s murder of her lover in order to end up in a high-security prison to capture Kilgrave, to finding him in the police station and deciding to go with him to save the lives of the people around her.

A standard supermax prison cell, one that   Jessica wanted to go to

Silence, due to its continued prevalence in this episode as a large portion of it focuses on Jessica formulating the plan above and making mental decisions, is key in each episode as it allows for the viewers to learn more about her through her mental recollections. One of the things that become obvious is that she never liked her stepmother who took her from an orphanage and initially seemed like a nice person, due to her bad actions and intentions for her actions, something that took several moments of flashbacks by Jessica in each episode for the viewers to notice.

Finally, something that stood out to me about the writing of this episode, compared to the previous ones, is the way Kilgrave is somewhat justified in his actions, especially for his love for Jessica as he declared it when in the police station. He told her that he fell in love with her since she was the only one who was able to resist him to an extent, as in his power of mind control, showing that he admired her physical and mental strength. The writers therefore wanted to present Kilgrave as being somewhat rational, even though very over-the-top with many of his actions, which is definitely a unique idea present in this episode that was not present in previous ones.

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Kilgrave before admitting his love for Jessica

Jess teaching valuable lessons

I’ll be honest, the first two episodes of New Girl didn’t quite “hook” me, but episode three both hooked me and taught some valuable lessons in the process.  Any show that can spread a positive message while making me laugh earns my respect as a T.V. viewer.  This episode focuses on two main themes: dealing with past relationships and being true to ones self.  I want to discuss the latter and less obvious theme so let’s go!

Having the confidence to be your self is a theme that naturally come’s along with Jess’s quirky personality, however, this episodes shows her, and Schmidt, struggle to do so.  When the whole gang get’s ready to go to a wedding, Nick requests the help of Jess to be his fake girlfriend to make his ex, Caroline, jealous.  After a couple of drinks Nick begins to fall for Caroline again, Jess begins to make a fool of herself and Winston begins a fight with a child (let’s not dwell on that).  Jess, trying to be a good friend, pushes Caroline away leading to an outburst from Nick where he calls her a “ruiner”.  Jess is now stuck in a place where the guys don’t want her to be herself, but they got mad at her even when she tried to be different… alright now let’s look at the struggles of Schmidt.

Schmidt, the wannabe lady killer, spends the whole night trying to find a way to “get with” a girl he is supposedly crazy for.  But the whole night he ignores the advances of a girl named Gretchen with whom he shares an odd (mainly sexual) connection with.  

The only problem is, this girl isn’t exactly his type.  Schmidt ends up miserably chasing after a girl with whom he doesn’t connect because she would be better for his appearance and confidence.  He ignores his true desires, his true self because he’s worried about the thoughts of others.  Also, I know this might be too deep of an analysis of the womanizer that is Schmidt, but I really do believe it was the writer’s intentions to convey this message in parallel with Jess’s struggles.

So what happened?!  Well once Jess decided to unleash the weirdness that is her personality, she and the guys ended up having a great time blowing bubbles (don’t ask just watch).  And for Schmidt?  He ended up getting with Gretchen and I assume he enjoyed it.  So once our favorite characters decided to do what they really wanted to do, the results are better for everyone.  Sends a pretty clear message and set’s up a theme I think New Girl will relate to in many upcoming episodes.  And I promise to keep you updated.

 

 

Cinematography of Family Business Trip

Other than the main plot, cinematography is another essential factor directors use to communicate with the viewers. The way the director has designed the lighting, color themes, and shot choices can drastically change the viewer’s experience and the way the show is perceived. Lighting and color scheme can determine the mood of a particular episode and shot choices can create dramatic effects for action or dialogue. I decided to look how the directors designed the first episode of season two of Fresh off the Boat.

 

The episode begins with a flashback of scenes from the previous season, which is slightly darkened to give the typical “flashback” effect; however, it is not completely black and white like other scenes of flashbacks. It then changes back to the usual calming color theme that was predominant in season one. Since the show focuses on a family in a suburban neighborhood, it doesn’t necessarily have the vibrant colors of a big city but rather the color theme of a middle-class neighborhood in suburban Orlando. The shots vary in length as conversational shots are short and switches from character to character to focus on their facial expressions and responses to the conversation. Other shots could be longer but most of the comedic effects come from the conversations between the characters; therefore, the show has mostly short but well cut shots.

 

I chose the first episode of season two: Family Business Trip as it isn’t shot in the Huang’s house but rather at a resort that they went to. Instead of being mostly filmed in an indoor setting, many scenes of this episode showed the Huang family hanging out at the pool or at Gatorworld. As the scenes were shot in an outdoor setting, they were very well lit and portrays the idea of a family vacation in the hot, sunny summer. The indoor shots’ color theme and lighting remained relatively consistent with other episodes of the show.

Grandma enjoying her new hair at the pool

I think it is very interesting to notice how the show is filmed; I don’t always notice the cinematography behind each episodes but deliberately thinking about these factors made the show much more interesting to watch.

A New Safety, Scenery, Screwdriver

For this blog entry, I will be focusing on the cinematography of the episode “Imaginary Enemies”. In this episode, there are a lot of major plot twists and surprises. Piper is struggling especially adjusting to prison life, she seems to be at a low point, hallucinating, but is pulling through day by day. We get a glimpse of Piper’s new roommate Mrs. Claudette and her backstory of how she got here. At first, Piper was afraid of Mrs. Claudette as a result of her serious demeanor and brevity to call out whoever she likes. Mrs.Claudette is well-known for her seemingly wise personality and courage as a person. Piper’s issue with the screwdriver and constant memory loss suggests her mental health may continue to decline and suffer as the show goes on. One of the inmates Mercy has gotten an appeal accepted for her case and was released at the end of the episode, creating a flush of emotions and change throughout this entire plot. This helped the prisoners see that there is possible hope in their cases, and to never give up.

With the cinematography, scenes in the prison were shot pretty blandly. There are numerous long takes when focusing on a specific person’s important commentary, likely shot to help viewers concentrate more on each individual’s traits and details they contribute to the overall plot. However, in the midst of sensitive scenes dealing with racism or stereotyping where the details aren’t as important to the whole plot, I noticed that there are much more quick cuts and switches to different parts of the environment.

A large detail noticed in this episode is the lighting of various scenes. In the prison scenes, the lighting was dull and it was clear enough to see items clearly and distinguish faces easily, yet it was obvious those scenes weren’t well-lit or anything like that. On the other hand, in the scenes where they throw it back to Mrs.Claudette’s past, the house present in the scene was extremely bright, and immediately lightened up the mood of the plot. Also, in Mercy’s farewell scene at the end of the episode, the lobby room was unusually more lit up than the other scenes in the prison. I believe the screenwriter intentionally did this to signify two different scenarios and that emphasize the fact that although all of these women are dangerous and potentially bad characters, the portrayal of these scenes reminded the viewers that the women had a previous happy life and the actions that led them into where they are right now(prison) are not necessarily just.

Boo with Piper’s stolen screwdriver

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