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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A Film Rarity: The Thanksgiving Movie

Welcome back! Thanksgiving. I know it’s a foreign term these days. Lots of us jump ahead to Christmas. Why? I don’t know, but I bet it is psychological.

Anyway…

Thanksgiving brings up lots of memories and feelings. Being my weird random pop culture self, I think about the movies I watched this time of year. Sure, I think about turkey, family and online shopping (like the normal American) but those Thanksgiving movies are the strongest memories for me.

I’m sure everyone has their favorite type of movies they like to watch this time of year. I have three that I always watch and for once I am not going to be talking about Hallmark movies! I assume everyone is giving me a high five right now. Nope? I don’t care!

Here is a list of my top three required Thanksgiving movies!

Home for the Holidays

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Home for the Holidays is one of those movies that no one talks about anymore. It rarely plays on television but when it does a strong wave of nostalgia hits me. What is very weird is I never saw this film till I was in high school. It makes no sense that I would get a nostalgic feeling while watching this movie.

That is the point of the movie, at least to me. The movie is about adult children coming home for the holidays. Each one is fulfilling a certain trope, but all disappointed in their lives…to a point. Even though all the characters are going through a lot of dramas the film still has a warm feeling. Almost like you, yourself had been to this Thanksgiving before or at least experienced a Thanksgiving like this as a child.

I like to watch this movie see a family fall apart just to come back together. I also watch it because no matter how bad Thanksgiving may go, it won’t be as bad as this families.

With Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft and Charles Durning (this movie is chock full of stars) it is worth the watch to feel that warm family drama and realize your family isn’t so bad.

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Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

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Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is a newer entry for me. I have a long-standing love/hate relationship with all things John Hughes (that is an upcoming blog post).  Let me just say that John Hughes have influenced me a lot as a writer. He is not the only writer that has influenced me but his work came into my life at a very exciting time.

This movie is one of my favorites of his because I love buddy comedies. Especially hate to love buddy comedies. It is opposites attract as two guys (John Candy and Steve Martin) get stuck in various weird positions as they try to find their way home for Thanksgiving. I think I love this one so much because Steve Martin and John Candy have a great chemistry between them. They play off each other so well. I sometimes wonder what else those two could have done. Maybe without them, Chris Farley and David Spade would have had a harder time breaking into that ‘buddy comedy’ type of film (controversial I know, but many of their movies remind me of this one).  I think Del (John Candy) is what truly makes the film for me. His ability to constantly be positive and try his hardest for his new friend (even when Neal (Steve Martin) is an ass) makes me root for him.

This movie is funny and reminds you that the holidays make everyone go nuts. Sometimes you need to relax and realize that life never goes to plan.

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Son in Law

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Son in Law is a Pauly Shore movie. Wait! Come back! Let me explain! Out of all the Pauly Shore movies, this one is my favorite, and it just happens to be set during Thanksgiving. A lot of people roll their eyes at how dull the film is. It is full of obvious tropes, and you can tell where the movie is going, but it still works for me. I hate to tell people this, but sometimes you just need a light, funny and sweet movie. Not everything needs to be dramatic.

This movie covers a common romance trope. Rebecca (Carla Gugino) from a small town in South Dakota goes to college in California. She does not fit in right away but with the help from her new best friend Crawl (Pauly Shore) she assimilates. Meanwhile, her boyfriend back home is waiting for her to come back for Thanksgiving to propose. Since Rebecca isn’t ready, she brings along Crawl to play her fake fiancé. Family bonding and hilarity ensues.

I love to watch this at Thanksgiving (all the time actually) because it is like visiting old friends. I get invested in these characters. You want the whole family (including Crawl) to be happy. The characters have a lot more going on under the surface that makes you love them.

The cast has great chemistry, and it does not slut shame the girl that is meant to be an irritant. In fact, the movie recognizes that she isn’t the problem, and she ends up becoming friends with the family. Sorry, went off on a tangent. It does not often happen in movies, so I like to point it out when it does. This movie is fun for everyone and can always get a good laugh out of me.

 

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 What are your favorite Thanksgiving movies? Let me know down below or tweet me @AmandaJ718! Until then, the randomness has ended. Hope you enjoyed!

 

 

Who has the Pride and who has the Prejudice? I Cannot Remember! (Pride and Prejudice Forever)

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Welcome back! Even though I want to hold on tightly, but even I have to admit, that summer is really over. The air is getting cooler by the week. The leaves are starting to change and fall to the ground. My attention is slowly turning towards horror films and feel good comedies (yeah…that is a real combination for me). One of my absolute favorite movies or stories to watch when the weather slowly changes is Pride and Prejudice.  I remember when I first read that book. I was in the ninth grade, I had just seen the famous Colin ‘Taking a dip in the pond’ Firth miniseries and wanted to read the book. So, each day in study hall I would read Pride and Prejudice completely enamored with each character and the situation they had put themselves in with their pride and their prejudice (Ha! Get it?).  Even now, as someone who is now 28 years old, Pride and Prejudice and its many incarnations, still holds a place in my heart.

As I watch the 2005 version for the millionth time, I could not help but wonder:

Why does this story still resonate?

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was first published in 1813. A story that has been around for over 100 years is still recreated and filmed in different countries to this day. Even spawning spin-offs, zombie tales and retellings from a more modern standpoint. This is not the only Jane Austen story that gets this treatment. This story seems to be the one that many people come back to without fail.

I know why I enjoy the story. It is fun watching two people fight their way into love. That is what Elizabeth and Darcy do. They are constantly coming up against their own pride and prejudice to come out a little stronger and more aware of their shortcomings. That is what I get out of the story…in general. There is a lot more going on but yeah that is the general romantic essence.

Also…Mr. Darcy am I right ladies? Who doesn’t love themselves some Darcy?

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(*Look at their faces! Perfect!* This photoset courtesy of the lovely Fuck Yeah Janeites! tumblr)

Maybe that is why this story is remade every couple of years.  This classic tale is a foundation for most romances we see on screen.

I think I liked it (beyond the romance factor) because I found the world these characters lived in to be an odd world. Women did not have much power and the ones who did were not really using it for good. It was mostly forcing people to marry or supporting them financially (looking at you Lady Catherine).  It was an interesting world that I have not experienced. I cannot imagine what Elizabeth (a fully modern type) had to experience. In retrospect,…it was really Jane Austen talking about the world she lived in. Some of the injustices she had to have seen in that time.

Nevertheless, really…it is all about Darcy and Elizabeth. The couple that seems to find each other no matter the century. They find each other in television, movies, books and the internet.

I’d like to hear what you all think! Why do you think Pride and Prejudice resonates with almost every generation on this earth?

Stick around because tomorrow I will be talking about my top three favorite Pride and Prejudice remakes, spin-offs and creative retellings that have come across my television and computer screen the past twenty years.

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For now the randomness has ended. Hope you enjoyed!

Inmates Running the Asylum? Fans and the Showrunner Relationship

Welcome back to the randomness. What is on deck today?

Showrunners and the fans that love them. 

That sounds creepy, but I have been thinking about how easy it is for fans to give real-time feedback to the showrunners of their favorite show. I have been around fandom land for quite a long time (Ok. I will admit it…I am old).  I have seen how that relationship has evolved from message boards to every social media platform imaginable. I can remember a time where you would have to physically write in to get the attention of a showrunner or the networks interns.

Things seem like they have changed but they have really stayed the same.

We now have an instant connection to the actors, crew, and showrunners through social media. In my experience, having that ability to read how the cast, crew, writers, and showrunners approached a scene or plot point in a show is fun. It is a bit like nerd porn for us television and writer lovers.

There is a dark side, however. It has been well documented. Fans losing their minds and going after showrunners and actors. Showrunners losing it and fighting back and in the process themselves looking and making the show they represent, look bad. For instance, when a “fan” that regularly took shots at Community creator and showrunner Dan Harmon he took the fans name and put it into the show as someone who the main character dumps to do a bottle episode. While I found that funny. It was not very professional.

This has been discussed so many places. How close is the showrunner to the fan base and is that a good idea?

Many people have used showrunners to answer that question. I want a fans perspective. So, I looked into the fandoms I am involved in. My point of view.

The craziest fandom I think I am apart of right now is the Young and Restless fandom.  This is more one-sided than anything else. One thing CBS is good at is social media.

Many fans have campaigns to tweet all facets of CBS daytime social media accounts with whatever they are unhappy with, which is fine. It is ok to be unhappy about a storyline or a character acting out of character. The extent of these tweets has become angry and slightly threatening. Yes, the show has extremely questionable storylines on screen right now but being rude or even attacking showrunners will not get anyone anywhere. In fact, in an article showrunner Shonda Rhimes said that the instant reaction to storylines is great, but the audience’s input on what happens next does not affect the story.

(Let me say the main people I talk to about Young and the Restless do not act like the crazies. I only surround myself with smart, thoughtful people.)

That quote reminds me of how Matt Weiner, creator, and showrunner of Mad Men, would love to hear what fans were thinking but made sure to tell them that all their opinions or reactions don’t change how he wanted to write his story. He appreciates the fans, but those fans are not running his show.

While that is the craziest, I have been a part of fandoms that are somewhat healthy in nature. That would have to be The Blacklist and Elementary fandom. I have noticed that the showrunners, John Eisendrath and Rob Doherty, are friendly and play along with the fans but draw a fine line when it comes to talking about future storylines or getting involved in fandom drama.  The Elementary and Blacklist fandoms are not drama ridden, but little flair ups happen. I noticed the showrunners do not engage in the negative and stay with the positive, which has given the fandom a reason to stay drama free. I truly appreciate that.

Then again, the positive showrunners might be using fans to measure how their stories are coming across to the highly engaged audience. Like how some showrunners use fan reaction as a dial test in a non-experimental setting. To see what can be improved down the line for other seasons.

Which leads me to my final assessment. That delicate relationship that makes or breaks television shows is not as one-sided as other articles make people think it is. Both sides are needed to make this relationship work. Both have to be less critical and more open to hearing what each other has to say. This idea may work better with cable, streaming or paid television show than network (network shows have a lot more to answer to than just fans).

What I guess I am getting at is, from my experience, having that outlet of hearing about a world I only dream of working in, is fun. However, if I, as a fan, do not abuse that outlet that delicate relationship will remain intact. It goes for the other side as well.

I am sure as social media evolves and new platforms emerge that relationship between fans and showrunners will grow stronger, it is really up to all of us to make it a positive growth instead of a negative one.

I really want to hear some thoughts on his topic. Do you agree with me or do you want to throw flaming arrows at my head? Write your thoughts down below or just shoot over to my twitter. Either way, the randomness has ended. I hope you enjoyed the ride.

Amanda Watches TV: How I Met Your Mother Finale aka The Hangover

Now that we got some sleep how does the How I Met Your Mother finale look now? I went to bed thinking that I would feel better after I have gotten some sleep. I woke up feeling a sadness and headache I can only equate to a hangover.

In the beginning I was all bubbly and taking small sips of this show. I liked what I tasted. Then I started to binge on the show (thanks Netflix). I felt myself falling into a comfortable buzz of happiness. Then, the last season. I started to feel a little funny and couldn’t stay up long to watch it but I figured it will all be OK. Then the finale aired. That is the point where the show really couldn’t stay down. The BS couldn’t stay down any longer. That is when I fell asleep hoping it would all be better in the morning.

Now, here I am. It’s the morning and man do I have a wicked hangover. Do I regret getting into this show? No. It was a good show. It had so much optimism about love, best friends and how we should wait for the right one. It is a welcome change from shows that were so cynical about love, fate and everything that comes with it.

Which is why I am still dumbfounded by that ending. It was cruel and dark. It didn’t feel optimistic to me. I don’t understand what makes show runners and writers think they have to go all out for the finale. Sometimes the narrative naturally dictates where the story should end. This story should have ended happy. This story was allowed to be corny. There is nothing wrong with corny and sweet.

I don’t know if Bays and Thomas realize but the world is quite dark on its own. Sometimes we all need a break and that break comes from our entertainment.  Why couldn’t everyone get what they wanted on this optimistic show? Why back pedal? Why ruin your show at the last-minute with the fans that stuck by you through everything? Made the show a success? These are questions I think I will be asking for a long time and I bet I won’t get any real answers anytime soon.

I would go into how every single characters was regressed but I won’t do that. Amazing fans have already written that in beautiful detail. That is something I will truly miss about this fandom. There were so many amazing and smart people populating and loving this world we called How I Met Your Mother.

Yes, we are all feeling hung over right now but it too shall pass. New shows will appear, old shows will gain our attention again or just possibly we will find a way to enjoy How I Met Your Mother again but cautiously and with the ending we wanted planted firmly in our heads that will make it all better.