English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: Drama

The Huangs GET SHOT

Fresh Off the Boat takes an interesting turn in season two, episode nineteen. In the beginning of the episode, we see that Jessica is upset because her favorite drama t.v. show will be off air until its next season starts. Following this, the episode’s ambiance gradually  becomes more and more dramatic to emulate such a show, which is pretty different than the usual vibe. Usually, the show is very brightly lit and colorful, contributing to a light and very welcoming and easy-to-watch atmosphere. But in this episode, there is more use of darkness and contrast to add to the dramatic effect.

Some scenes in this episode are visibly darker than usual.

This reminds me of some of the shots from an earlier episode in season one where Louis agrees to coach Eddie’s basketball team. Eddie imagines his father playing basketball like an old kung fu movie, with flying fight scenes and dramatic dialog. The writers’ use of cinematography to change the mood or delivery of episodes is an interesting concept in my opinion. It introduces a lot of freedom to the writers’ roles in developing episodes. Writers can, and do, change some of the basic elements of the show from time to time to convey different things. I think this is a pretty unique quality for a show to have, and it seems like this show is a lot of fun on both ends of the production as writers can introduce fun episodes such as these.

One thing that remains constant, cinematography-wise, is the use of many cuts in a single scene. In the context of the viewer, this creates a feeling of a fast pace in scenes. I don’t really know why this would be desirable from a production standpoint, though. This may be a result of a low budget or the inclusion of child actors, so that many takes can be strung together without seeming out-of-place.

Fresh Jordan’s… Fresh Writing… Fresh Off the Boat

“Home Sweet, Home School”, the second Episode of Fresh off the Boat, really sets up the way the rest of the show will operate based on the style of the writers. A team of four is responsible for writing this episode, including Kourtney Kang (known for her role as a producer of How I Met Your Mother) and Eddie Huang, the focus of the autobiography and the narrator of the show. I think part of what makes this show so interesting is that Eddie narrates his own past life. He knows exactly how he felt in the moment and how he feels now that he’s grown up. As much insight as this offers, it’s also valid to check ourselves with how much we trust him- I mean he is writing out his life for the world. The combination of he and Kourtney Kang in writing this episode makes for an interesting personality in the writing- with her Emmy nominated comedy writing skills and his life experience it really makes the show a worthwhile watch both as a social commentary and as a chill binge watch.

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the best of both worlds ;)

This show is absolutely filled with noise. There is literally never silence. Even when the character to character dialogue isn’t going, there’s Biggie, Stephen King movies, NASCAR races, 90s hip-hop, and restaurant chatter in the back. The amount of constant noise makes the show really full and fun to watch. AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON EPISODE THREE
My goodness, when Evan did the voice over of the white moms talking at the neighborhood meeting, I laughed harder than I have in a while. Between the hip-hop tracks which emphasize Eddie’s moods, the clapback narrations, and Evan… well, being Evan, this show doesn’t stop with the jokes. The writing of this show is just absolutely on point for the message of it. The constant allusions to quintessential American favorites- Whitney Houston, Biggie Smalls, Karaoke, NASCAR, Blockbuster, block parties, basketball, denim jorts, and Jordan’s- make this show what it is. Hilarious.

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Jessica having her Whitney moment #mood

This week’s task: “Write a Grey’s Anatomy episode that 22.22 million viewers would like”… hard chore, isn’t it?

Since its launching, Shonda Rhimes, and multiple Grey’s Anatomy credited writers, have managed to make us feel eager, miserable, ecstatic, furious, (add all the emotions you can think of), for almost 14 years (yes, it’s ABC’s second longest running show ever, in case you were wondering). However, we aren’t here to commemorate the greatness of GA (we know is the best show in history, end of discussion), the real question actually is “How did writers succeed in catching our attention since episode 1 if we get tired of everything (literally everything… food, clothing, classes, etc)? Well let me tell you a secret, a first season with trustful characters and a lot of drama is all you’ll ever need.

While re-watching Grey’s Anatomy (for the third time (yes, I’m a HUGE fan)), I’ve realized that making everything dramatic and trustworthy since the beginning is a principal element, and if you don’t believe me just ask Shonda Rhimes; creator and currently executive producer and principal writer of Grey’s Anatomy. This outstanding writer was not only responsible for the 16.25 million viewers the show got from just its first episode, but also for the success of uncountable “Shondaland’s” shows like Private Practice, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, among many others.

This are just SOME of the MANY successful shows Shonda Rhimes has actually made us                                                             laugh and cry at the same time

In the first episodes of the show, “A Hard Day’s Night” and “The First Cut Is the Deepest”, the character’s development and the credibility they exhibit is a writing element that stands out. Meredith, being the daughter of a brilliant surgeon, makes us belief that she has innate medicine skills; Cristina, being first in her Stanford’s class shows us that determination and perseverance will take her wherever she wants; Izzie, being capable of working as a model and as a doctor indulges us to support her career while trying to demonstrate everyone that one can be pretty, smart and hardcore at the same time; George, well, he’s the guy that everyone likes; and Alex, what can we say? He’s certainly used as a central element in humor and drama. In general, the writing of the show carefully develops each of these characters in such way that we would trust them to basically “safe our lives”.

Just an example of the way Izzie’s character’s developed through the writing of her lines

Additionally, drama is also a main component in GA’s writing. In the very first episode we have to deal with the fact that Meredith had a one-night stand with his new boss, that Ellis has Alzheimer’s, and that interns’ lives will be a nightmare. As the season continues, the last episode “Who’s Zoomin’ Who”, with 22.22 million views (written by Gabrielle Stanton and Harry Werksman (husband and wife also credited in shows like Ugly Betty, Moonlight and Castle)) maintains a dramatic climax till the very end, where we are confronted with the fact that Derek is actually married! In other words, there’s a reason why Grey’s Anatomy viewers and ratings are still top ranked: it’s writing always leaves us wanting more.

My reaction to every Grey’s Anatomy episode


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