The White Family Analzyed – A Visual Review

Since 2014, The White Family has been the fixture at Home Farm. Chrissie, Lachlan, Lawrence, and Dog brought back with them a legacy at Emmerdale, Robert Sugden, to stir up the village for the better (Robert) and for the worst (the rest of them and Rebecca). The Whites are the typical wealthy family that comes across being the ones with taste. They have options and could live anywhere, but they moved to Emmerdale. Since their arrival (and Rebecca White’s arrival) they have been polarizing in the fandom. Some enjoy them while others want them dead and gone.

It is no secret that I hate The White Family.  They are one Home Farm family that doesn’t seem to fit in any way shape or form. This becomes painfully obvious as I work my way through some older episodes of Emmerdale and watch those Home Farm families integrate into the village with ease.  Robert has come back and found his way back into the fabric and heart of the village. The White Family, not so much.

Recently, on Tuesday’s episode (10/17/2017) there was a small scene that grabbed my attention. It seemed to set up the rest of the week, but I saw something bigger. It seemed to be the perfect representation of The White Family dynamic and why they don’t fit into the village.

Here is where I put the general lessons I learned in my film classes to work. Some of this might sound weird, but these little hints or clues are subconscious ways of telling us more about a character. So, grab a drink, sit back and look at what the whites are and why they just don’t fit.

The Scene (Starts at the 6:54 mark and ends at the 8:17 mark): Chrissie is sitting on the couch doing her own research on this investor deal. Lachlan comes in to say that its good she is doing this because Robert is the one who put it together, not Rebecca. Meanwhile, Rebecca comes in all upset with Kath’s number. Chrissie confused at her anger tries to get to the bottom of it before Lawrence comes in and takes Rebecca’s side

Chrissie and Lachlan

Chrissie has always been the responsible daughter. She is the one with her own businesses (salons), and she has run the family business since we met her.  She is the one with the spark that has managed to fit into the village in little ways. She can be a real pill to handle, but she is the classic soap agitator.

In this scene, she is wearing a white top and black pants. She has an open stance of her body. This tells us that because of the white she is an innocent in this scene. The pants tell us that while innocent she has some darkness there or some bite to her. The openness of the body could tell us that she is open-minded and open to others coming into her space.

Which brings us to Lachlan. Lachlan was a teenager with issues. He thinks he can do anything or do anything to anyone.  He has a dangerous past of forcing himself onto others, trying to shoot his grandfather and being a general jackass. Since going to jail and getting a girlfriend, he has mellowed out working for the family.

He has a mostly dark suit with a white shirt. That could mean his dark clothes are making him appear closed off and not as angelic. However, the white shirt might show us there is something good underneath, but we may never see that. His stance is between open and closed. He is closed off but not to his mother. Just when Lawrence and Rebecca enter the room.  That could mean that Lachlan trusts his mother, but when it comes to Rebecca and Lawrence, he doesn’t.

Rebecca and Lawrence

Rebecca is the wild child of the family.  She is the youngest and never had the responsibility of having to take care of family business. Once a DJ, she has seen a lot of the world and tends to only think of herself and what the world can give to her (I’m a bit bias here…sorry it is going to be). She wants whatever her sister has. She thinks of herself as the princess and Chrissie as the goblin (remember the story Lawrence told Ronnie. I feel that was significant).

Here she is wearing a dark coverup with darker colored yellow. It’s the dark yellow they love to put her in a lot lately. The dark colors mixed in with a stripe of white might mean that she is muddled. Much like the writers and the actress playing her they aren’t sure who she is supposed to be or that might be what they are trying to tell us. She isn’t meant to be figured out yet. She is hiding a secret of sorts. Her stance appears defensive and continues to be defensive up to when Lawrence comes in.

Lawrence is someone who has been hiding all this life. He did what was expected of him. He married a woman. He started a business. He had children. He became a pillar of the community. However, he was hiding how he really felt. He didn’t like women but men. He never felt comfortable in his skin and just started feeling like he could be himself.

In this scene, he is wearing a black jacket with a light shirt underneath. His stance goes from open to defensive based on what he hears as he enters the house. What this could say is he is a lot like Lachlan. He has a lot of darkness but some light underneath. His defensive stance could be from him holding on his true love alcohol and in defense of his daughter, his only blood daughter in the room.

What The Hell Does This All Mean (God, this is weird!)

This is called mise en scene. This is a fancy way of telling a story not through the dialogue but through the visuals. The clothing, camera angles (Emmerdale does that a lot) and lighting. This gives us clues into the characters psyche and where they stand in the story.  It’s meant to be subliminal, and if you are like me, you took a film class that taught you to read the signs making movies/television easier to read (I figured out so many twists in movies because of my knowledge of how to do this…thanks film professors).

I see this innocuous scene as a definition of The Whites. We have two people on two different sides. The lines have been drawn.  Their clothing, their body language and the set this happens on tell me a lot about where The Whites stand as we go forward.

Chrissie and Lachlan are on one side. Their scenes are up against a wall. No layers there. What you see is what you get. They are not Whites by blood. They are mother and son. They are the ones that have their eyes open wide enough to notice that Robert might be up to something. Chrissie is a layered person who is capable of good and bad, but Lachlan is capable of more bad than good. This might feed into the speculation that Chrissie might be the one to take Lachlan out someday. (She is the one on his side but also the one to make sure he can’t hurt anyone again).

Lawrence and Rebecca are on the other side. They are positioned against all the open doors telling me that they have more than meets the eye. They are holding onto something that needs that much room. They are related by blood.  They both have heavy darkness on their side. They are capable of doing more bad than good. They are also the ones that Robert is messing with the most, and they are falling for it, hook line and sinker.

A small note about the Lawrence and Rebecca moment after Lawrence tells Chrissie off. The lighting. Before Lawrence and Chrissie are in shadow. Small shadows but shadows. When Rebecca goes to look at Lawrence, the light changes to give her a halo effect. Showing me that Lawrence sees Rebecca as the angel and not Chrissie. Meaning, that view Lawrence had before of Chrissie being the good one over Rebecca has changed.

The camera angles are interesting too. Chrissie and Lachlan are being filmed from a higher angle than Rebecca and Lawrence. This gives me a possible clue that Rebecca and Lawrence feel they are above Chrissie and Lachlan. Like, they don’t need them. They are better than them. They know better than them. This could play into their exits or their own destruction as a family.

This also tells me why The Whites never worked on their own. They were always tied to Robert, the more interesting character. The developed character. The legacy. Usually, this is how you get new characters introduced by tying them to a legacy character. However, without Robert, they floundered and never connected with anyone else. The Whites argue about their own petty problems and then move on. Then they do it again next week. It never ends. Robert adds that undue influence to move things along. Robert is needed, but that limits that character making the White useless to us as viewers. We don’t want to see Robert brought down, he is part of the village. He is better out there with Aaron and the Dingles. The Whites as characters just don’t work.

By the way, this could all be crap. Sometimes shows take the time to do this but for a soap opera on a time and budget crunch, it might be harder to pull off. However, I have faith in Emmerdale. I’ve seen them do great work with mise en scene before. I think they are doing it now too.

I don’t see The Whites sticking around. Hell, I don’t see a baby sticking around, but that is for another time. What do you think? Go watch the scene and tell me what you think is happening below or tweet me @AmandaJ718! Until next time, I’ll see you around in Emmerdale.

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