Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Narrative Breakdown Podcast on Irony

Hey guys, the Narrative Breakdown podcast is back with a run of new episodes, and they were nice enough to ask me to drop by again.

Today, James Monahan and I discuss irony and our conversation pushes my thoughts on the subject into areas that I’ve never covered here on the blog, so you might want to give it a listen!

Check it out on the web here or subscribe on iTunes here!

And here are some of my previous posts on the topic:
Seven Types of Storytelling Irony.
All Good Stories Are Ironic.
Successes and Failures Should Be Ironic.
Misunderstandings Must Be Ironic (featuring The Apartment)
Lincoln vs. Amistad.
And my write-up of Margin Call.

Point of interest: Here on the blog, we were discussing motivation earlier this week and whether or not TV characters can have more complex motivations than movie characters.  I mentioned that I hated movies where detectives are supposedly motivated by the fact that the victim reminds them of someone they failed to save long ago...
...but in the podcast, I praise the long-running storyline on “Homicide” where precisely that dynamic comes to fuel the character of Det. Bayliss.  Again, the difference is time.  On the show, we see the orignal case fall apart, we recognize the picture of the girl in Baliss’s cubicle year after year, we share his frustration, we feel the resonance when he gets similar cases, years later.

When movies attempt this sort of long-distance motivation, it feels cheap and unearned, because they’re referring to an event that means nothing to us.  On TV, if they’re committed to the long haul, they can pull it off beautifully.

(Also, it’s worth noting that whenever a case reminded Bayliss of the unsolved Adena Watson case, that usually meant he was about to screw up. Complex motivations are more likely to lead to failure  than success!)

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