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Wednesday, January 30

January 30, 2013

Spongebob: Today we added two new archetypes to our list: the Fool and the Shapeshifter.

For examples of the Fool, we saw Michael Scott in The Office (the “Weight Loss, Part 2” episode) and then Mr. Van Driessen in Beavis and Butt-Head’s “Canoe.” Both of these fools are like Squidward: they think they’re a lot smarter than they really are, and they are consistently shown to be wrong (or at least foolish).

The second type of fool is more like Patrick — as Miss Coe called him, a “delightful idiot.” He is just plain simple-minded. Unlike the Eternal Child, this type of Fool is not always nice or innocent. However, he can often succeed in exposing the first type of Fool as a fool.

This, we called the “Rule of Dual Fools”: it’s a staple of comedy, TV comedy especially. Nobody makes the Fool (like Squidward) look as foolish as the second type of Fool (like Patrick).

The other archetype we began discussing today is the Shapeshifter. Jung would have called this one the Trickster; we are going to use “Shapeshifter” because it more easily accomodates “good” shapeshifters, like Mulan or Mrs. Doubtfire.

The Shapeshifter is any character who wears a disguise, whether that disguise is their own choice (the Wicked Stepmother in Snow White; Mulan) or is forced upon them (Kenau in Brother Bear; Tiana in The Princess and the Frog). Clowns are Shapeshifters as well; hence the Joker is a particularly nasty example of this archetype as well.

We talked about why this archetype would be a popular one, especially for kids: the idea of getting to be something different, of breaking routine, is a powerful one, especially when you are young and powerless. It dates back to the beginnings of organized religion; the Egyptians and their half-man, half-animal gods are examples, as are a number of characters (Zeus!) from classical mythology.

For Monday: try to think of at least one other Shapeshifter example that we didn’t discuss.

New Media: Today we finally talked about the reading assignment. We touched on a bunch of topics that will definitely come up again. It would be super great if you could hold on to these handouts as you may want to have a look at them again.

We then started talking about blogs. BLOGS. Blogs blogs blogs. Web log = blog. For now we’re focusing on single-author or limited-author blogs. The homework for Monday is as follows:
– Go to The Battleship. There is a post that includes links to Wikipedia and WordPress – read through these links.
– The second half of the post is a bunch of links to different blogs (I tried to link a variety of styles, but there are many, many others). Have a look at some of these.
– Click on links (or Google) and look at more blogs. Go on a blog binge. Blog it up. Find a few that you like – ones that think include quality writing or are interesting on a conceptual level, or whatever.
– Leave a comment (or more than one, if you want/need) with links to the blogs that you find most interesting. Try to post at least 2 links. (You’ll get points for doing this.)

On Monday we’re going to talk more about blogs and what you found/noticed.

Family Values: Today we watched an episode of I Love Lucy from November 1951, the fourth episode from the show’s debut season.

We noted several important things about this episode, especially when contrasted with The Goldbergs:

1. The humor is faster-paced; there are more gags per minute, much like in the sketch comedy of Burns and Allen.

2. The show looks more professional. That’s because it was shot on film, with the now standard “three-headed monster” camera setup, pioneered by Karl Freund.

3. This allowed for close-ups, which were necessary — we needed to see Lucy mugging for the camera.

4. All the physical comedy made the plot seem easier to understand.

5. So did the live audience, laughing along.

6. Lucy and Ricky are shown sleeping in the same bed, That was a big deal back then, even for a married couple.

7. Lucy gets all the laughs in this episode, but Ricky ends up being right. This is how just about every episode went.

I Love Lucy was also responsible for several other innovations:

1. Lucy fought for the right to use her real husband, bandleader Desi Arnaz. Studios balked at first because he was ethnic (Cuban) and not an actor, but she won out.

2. Lucy also fought for the right to shoot the show in California, where she and Desi lived, instead of in New York. She won, but it required that the show be shot on film to be sent back East. (Kinescopes would not have worked.) It was tremendously expensive, but the gamble paid off: I Love Lucy became the top-rated show on TV, and the first real hit sitcom.

3. Finally, you noticed that Lucy and Ricky didn’t live in the city. They lived in the suburbs. This was no accident. By 1953, the suburbs were growing at a rate 15 times faster than the rest of the country. Post WWII, people began abandoning the cities — and the dirt, crime and noise — for the suburbs, where they could raise their kids (and there were plenty of them, thanks to the Baby Boom) but still commute to work (now that more and more people had cars).

The suburban explosion would certainly dictate what was shown on TV, which is where we’ll pick things up Friday.

Press: Please read the small packets for Friday.

7th Grade: Spelling bee, then a writing/drawing game. Spelling quiz next week — study up!

Survey: Screenwriting: Today we continued watching Some Like It Hot. Your homework was collected, graded, and handed back to you.

The assignment for Monday is to write three spectacles (exactly in the same fashion that you did the first two assignments. See this doc if you need a reminder, and don’t forget to look at the examples: Screenwriting 1.23 – Assignment 1 Spectacle).
– One spectacle must involve a person
– One spectacle must NOT involve a person
– One spectacle must include some kind of action (describing not a still image but a moment)
This is due on Monday at the BEGINNING of class. Several of you were scribbling at the last moment – this is NOT acceptable.

Remember that you can type these up for a bit of extra credit. Don’t forget that these spectacles should not include anything that cannot be seen and should have enough detail to be interesting and unique, but not so much detail that it drags. No thoughts and no dialogue (or summarized dialogue) either!

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