Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Apocalypses in miniature

5.9 or 5.8 on the richter, depending. Rumours of a power couple divorce (i wasn't invested, either way), and then there's Irene. This morning—a dog hair in my coffee.

Friday, August 05, 2011

"good" guys vs. "bad" guys

these distinctions are getting old, as is the often repeated refrain of the actor: "it's always more interesting to play 'bad' guys."


it's not just that the line of demarcation between "good" and "bad" is old; it's no longer serving to accurately articulate the human condition as portrayed in either the written or visual narrative structure.
when actors miss the complexity in the noble men they've played (often the roles that have endeared them to any following they can boast), and mistakenly disparage those roles (even if only slightly) for not being "interesting," it vexes.
the first thing to realize is that everyone's motivations, in the moment at least, seem rational to him or her. no one is thinking "i'm a bad guy," but rather "i'm a guy who wants something and here is the course of action i've plotted out to get that." yes, there are levels of self-awareness or the lack of it, there's redemptive merit, etc., but really, in the thick of the plot, no character wants what he wants outside the scope of what he perceives to be reasonable.
"good" guys (or at least ones that aren't leveraging overt malice in the lives of others) can and do struggle with complex motivations, bouts of irrationality, a skewed self-concept, occasional meanness, and the high-handed belief that they know what's best for everyone in their lives. this is to say nothing of a duality of motivations between good on the one hand and another good on the other.
perhaps you've heard of the fatal flaw. every good man has one.
i understand that "good" can code as boring, but the inherent thing that makes a character interesting comes from within the performer. it's important to separate action from persona here. no good guy has ever been boring simply because he was on the side of right. if you've got the aura of tepid, watery tea, no script will ever change that. if daring and innate swagger is in your dna, no ostensibly mild actions will ever hide that.
i'm taking the time to put this in writing because i've read Jack Wagner say one time too many that he favors the role of Dr. Peter Burns above all others because it was more interesting and "sexy."
i can't take issue with the man's personal preferences, but i do take issue with his perhaps missing the point that his first tenable fans were not lured by the ostensible structure of Frisco Jones as written on the page. nothing on General Hospital was ever so compelling or so milquetoast that we inflated or ignored the essence of his performances. We were tuning in for all that stacked potential energy that thrummed because of who he is.
if 'Frisco Jones' had been portrayed by any other actor, the character would have meant nothing, and certainly wouldn't be anything to hang a career on, but rather the cardboard cutout i fear Jack thinks he is.
This can be said with a degree of authority because we had the unfortunate opportunity to see what that would be like for two weeks at the end of 1984 into the first week of January in 1985, and it left a fairly bad taste and a decided feeling of ick behind for everyone who was subjected to it.
Jack brought complexity, a sexy irrationality, paradox, simultaneous gravitas and lightheartedness to that character because of who he is, and there is nothing that emerged in Dr. Peter Burns that wasn't evident when he was Frisco. The energy gets directed differently perhaps, because of distinctions in character perception and motivation. Setting and direction of narrative, too, bring something to bear on it all, but come on.
i can't bear to have melrose place, nighttime serial, and perpetuator of cut-outs and archetypes get more credit than it's due.

Monday, June 13, 2011

frisco & Felicia: an undying love affair

i've written at length about my revisitation of this fictitious couple's narrative arc via YouTube. what's come of it in the last couple of months is this: a handful of new friends who are similarly preoccupied with them and their story, a delightful venture on facebook and wikispaces for enthusiasts who became fans the instant we first saw him seeing her back in '84. now, most of us are 35 + year-olds with interesting lives that include advanced degrees, husbands, children, careers, and yet still there is this thing about them--about us when we first "met" them--that goes on.

so, while our snug group finds its sea legs, we're having a blast, figuring it out as we go along, and commemorating the 25th anniversary of this super duo's first onscreen wedding. we're launching triva contests, tribute compilations, and having a lovely, ongoing conversation about the metanarrative implications of it all.

if you remember 'frisco & felicia' and have somehow stumbled here, i extend a warm invitation to you to click on the embedded links and join us.

beyond that, a heartfelt thank you to jack wagner and kristina wagner who, when they were jack wagner and kristina malandro, began to create something seminal, celebration-worthy, and unforgettable for so many.

no other two people could have done what you did to make f&f come off the page. if you ever wonder if the work you did on "General Hospital" mattered--it did. and does.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

mercury goes direct

but not before my personal retrograde arrived. . .

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

do you know you have a heart murmur? yep. mmhmm.

my heart is so meta. it's saying something subtextual beneath the ostensible beat. that is all.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

pt. 3: delving deeper into the narrative: finding the unexpected

it can't be forced. most movements and phenomena are only labeled as such after the fact. usually, you don't know you're in the middle of a zeitgeist while it's coming into being.

for months now, my intellect and my instinct have been sparring.

i am not someone who does this.

what is this? well, i've gotten into it a bit already, but more specifically, amidst the thesis making and dissertating on youtube clips, friendships have begun to emerge. i noticed that there were a handful of people whose thoughts i was especially keen to read, who i hoped would comment, whose perspective on the narrative snippets i trusted more than others'.

we were beginning to interact with a braided narrative structure: the content itself, the recasting of that content into a new context that allowed for textual commentary upon the visual, and we were also bringing our memory of watching these scenes in real time, twenty to twenty-five years prior.

We were kids when these dramas first played out, and we could see that in many instances we really didn't know what was going on then--and our adult minds were being a little bit blown by the implications we missed as young girls who simply wanted to see frisco & felicia kiss and make love.

to have the chance to go back and not just reengage the narrative, but to reengage who we were when the narrative first unfolded for us--in various parts of the country--has forged a bond i did not count on.

i am not someone who makes friends online.

soon the comments boards weren't enough. i began writing two of my yt friends via personal message--still not going beyond the parameters of the site--but we found there was just more to say than the 500-character comments limit would allow.

it was delightful. i found that i couldn't wait for the notifications to my g-mail account telling me that there had been some activity--a new comment, a reply to a comment, an upload, or a longer note waiting for me in my yt inbox.

lately, things have gotten even more meta. we've been dissecting some interviews and writings about the show and the actors, and sometimes you need to process from a more visceral place than a keyboard will allow. . .

one of my two main yt people wrote me in a note recently that after reading one piece i'd passed along that she wished she could call me to talk it through because her thoughts were going in so many different directions.

i sent her my phone number.

she gave me hers.

we didn't talk that day, but she called me last night. i'd already put her number in my phone, so when i looked down at the display and saw who it was, this whole thing became imminently more real.

greeted by her warm and cheerful voice, i knew i was in for one of those long, deep conversations that feels like finally finding a friend at camp, the first sip of a hot cup of coffee, and a breath of fresh air all at once.

there were no awkward moments, just a good, old-fashioned gab fest. we talked fast and animatedly about our feelings and memories about the characters. i was so happy, i was tripping over words, laughing, and saying things like "yes, absolutely," over and over again like some sort of babbling fool. and i didn't care.

i can't wait for the next conversation. or the effort that i and two other yt'ers are mounting. we're just letting the situation organically unfold.

whatever this is, i am someone who does this.