Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Likeable Villains, Part 1

So you guys. One of the side effects of not having a husband for the summer is a vast amount of TV-watching. Largely consisting (now that I'm all done being obsessed with Roswell) of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I just finished Season 4, and one thing that's really struck me so far with the series is how much I liked the Mayor from Season 3.

The first few times I saw him in the series, I didn't actually notice him. He was just some higher-up who talked to Principal Snyder sometimes. But as he got more screentime, and as his character and evil plot were developed more, I started to like him a lot.

If you haven't seen Buffy, well, you might want to look into it some time. Buffy is a Vampire Slayer, the Chosen One. She hunts and kills vampires and demons, keeping the world safe for democracy and not being killed on the street corner. She lives in the town of Sunnydale, California, which is located on top of a Hellmouth, pretty much a huge hotbed of demonic activity.

It's revealed in Season 3 that the mayor, Mayor Wilkins, is actually over 100 years old, and has been the mayor before, posing as his own ancestors. He built Sunnydale on top of the Hellmouth on purpose, because of some dark ritual he's going to enact, at which he's going to Ascend. (It's revealed that this Ascension is going to transform him into an uber-demon that's going to kill them all, thus enforcing the "authority figures as demonic evil forces" symbolism that the entire show, being based on a "high school as Hell" metaphor, revels in.)

So far, he's not sounding too awesome. I mean, ok. Dark ritual, kill everyone, become a demon. The fun thing with this character is that instead of being all byronic and brooding, he's a total goofball. He befriends a rogue slayer named Faith, and often treats her like a lovable niece, offering her minigolf and ice cream, and dressing her up in pretty sundresses. You know, in between giving her presents like very sharp knives and asking her to kill people for him.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Nontraditional Performance

Have you seen this??

A girl took all these pictures of herself with a whiteboard, quitting her job, then emailed it out to the whole office, because apparently her boss was a total d.b. Then today, this came out... apparently the whole thing was a hoax.

Here's what makes this fun for me: She's an actress. They held a casting call and everything, to cast this girl as Jenny.

SO. What makes this an acting job? She didn't have any lines. She was never actually filmed. As far as performance goes, there was very little, beyond still facial expressions and poses. Is this different than a modeling job?

Is this a performative experience for us, the "audience," as it were? Performance, to me, is generally defined as a person doing or saying something with the knowledge that he/she is being watched/observed. That makes this a performance... in that the blog post was done with the intention of fooling us, with being seen, and with being believed.

Random question: (If this were a class we'd discuss it, but it's not, so just think about it, ok?)

How are these pictures of "Jenny" different than these pictures?

Could we call these pictures a form of performance as well? (Just throwing this out there: I could probably call just about anything a performance-- and come up with a way to justify calling it that. lol)

(The Disney pictures, by the way, are part of the Disney Dream Portrait Series, as photographed by Annie Leibovitz.)