TV

Some thoughts on Glow season 2

*contains spoilers

Glow season 2 is an all-together stronger effort than its enjoyable first. That is not to deride the first season in any way, certainly, the first season was well-written, engaging and at times, rather innovative, allowing women the ability to adopt and perform comedic personas. Rather, season 2 shows its audience what a series can offer when provided with the freedom to create and experiment.

Watching Glow, it strikes you just how unusual it is to watch a cast that is predominantly made up of women, and notably, women from a variety of backgrounds. The series knowingly plays on stereotypes and undermines them to highlight their absurd nature. Thus, Debbie’s Liberty Bell, self-proclaimed as ‘American as apple pie’ is shown to be consistently on the edge of a breakdown, indelibly affected by her divorce and the subsequent guilt that she has to contend with when earning money and raising her son. Similarly, Tamme, as welfare queen, is confronted with the perception of her racist character trope when her son, who she so proudly boasted about during a parent’s weekend at an Ivy League university, attends a live taping of the show.

Rather presciently given the recent publicity of the #MeToo campaign, it is Ruth’s narrative that has attracted the most media attention. Ruth, when invited to a dinner with the head of the studio, quickly makes runs away when propositioned, and, rightly, stands steadfast in her decision when explaining to Debbie the sudden change in the timeslot of the series. Lumbered with a 2am timeslot, Debbie is aware that Ruth’s decision has impacted all involved with the series. This scene, in which Debbie argues that Ruth should have handled the situation differently is notable. Debbie does not suggest that Ruth should have slept with the man who holds the power to the success of their show, but rather, brushed him off with excuses.

She argues that, in an industry in which men hold the power, Ruth should have pretended that such an act was possible, but just not possible at the moment. On first viewing, Debbie may come across as unduly harsh or unfair to Ruth, but when considering the scene again, it becomes clear that Debbie, thanks to her prior TV success, has experienced such a scenario on many occasion, and has, therefore, become adept at handling it without damaging her career prospects.

Debbie does not for one moment excuse or make light of the scenario, indeed, firmly decrying it, but Debbie has, through necessity, been compelled to find a way to survive. Contrast her response to Sam’s, who immediately decries the behaviour, and stridently asserts that they will not make any allowances for such behaviour. While Sam’s response is entirely right and is arguably the correct one, his response highlights both his and Ruth’s naivety. As a man, Sam has not had to consider such behaviour himself, while Ruth, not yet working in the apparent illustrious echelons of TV, has simply not encountered it. Rather, while Debbie’s anger towards Ruth is entirely misplaced and misdirected, her reaction highlights the complex nature of being a woman in society.

 

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Keeping Faith: series review

* spoilers ahead

Regardless of your opinion of Keeping Faith, its success is impressive. With more than 8 million views on iPlayer, and almost 300,000 in Wales ‘have watched each of the weekly episodes … the highest audiences for a non-network drama shown in Wales for over twenty years, the series, produced in both Welsh and English, focuses on Faith (Eve Myles check name), as she tries to uncover the whereabouts of her husband after he simply fails to arrive at work one morning.

The central conceit, while fairly standard, is engaging, and the status of their relationship, currently fractured after the birth of their youngest child, allows for discussion surrounding the nature of her husband’s disappearance and her own identity. The couple, both solicitors running a firm together, have seemingly drifted apart and Evan, struggling to drum up business while Faith is on maternity leave, becomes increasingly secretive and distant. Interesting, while Faith is obviously bereft at her husband’s disappearance, her character also displays a great deal of righteous anger, recognising the selfishness and ignorance that her husband has displayed.

It’s a shame then, that with a strong central narrative, the series chose to focus on a myriad of storylines that add needless complication and distracts from that central relationship. While I understand that the moments showing Faith supporting clients, fighting for their cause and defending them in court, is intended to aid character development, it frequently results in a baggy, loose narrative in a series and genre that relies on cohesion for its success. Myles is a strong enough actress that such backstory or additional detail is merely unnecessary.

We can see from the interaction with her children that she is a good mother, in the same way, we can see from her interactions with her peers and friends that she is a good person, thus a collection of scenes that end up feeling a collage, are not needed. In fact, all they do is distract from the central story, and in turn, undermine its importance. While it is clear that Faith is concerned about her husband, her various exploits and attempts at investigating, become the central focus with little connection to her apparent central mission of finding her husband or at least uncovering his reasoning for leaving. Perhaps then, it’s a question of balance in terms of narrative or editing. Certainly, we would expect Faith to be desperately searching for answers, but when this search is set against a backdrop of humdrum activities (defending a client who has stolen from the church collection), it results in the viewer losing their hold on the narrative thread.

Similarly the use of repeated incidental music, along with a handful of songs, to signal emotional development, immediately cheapens the series. The acting is strong enough to convey these feelings to the audience without the need for additional emphasis from poorly judged music choices. The repeated music actually impedes any real development, or sense of the story moving forward, and in turn, slows the pace.

This confusion is perhaps best exemplified in the series’ final moments. After spending much of the series searching for her husband, and getting increasingly angry at his actions, Faith admits her feelings for Steve, whose generous help has afforded Faith much needed support. This moment, in which Steve arrives at Faith’s house after the apparent narrative conclusion, allows for an instance of physical closeness between the two, with a clear declaration of romantic feelings. This scene feels like the right conclusion for the series, and their relationship, in its sensitivity and realness, feels entirely believable, is instantly brought into question by the apparent reappearance of her husband. This revelation is entirely misjudged. Evan as a husband has shown himself to be entirely lacking, and no amount of sun-dappled scenes in a meadow (which consistently intersperse the series) can convince otherwise. Thus, his arrival is one, for me at least, that was entirely unwelcome. His disappearance had allowed Faith to reassert herself professionally and intellectually, and rediscover herself, why then, should his reappearance take place? It feels lazy, resulting in a schlocky conclusion that is simply included for the opportunity for a second series.

That is not to say that the series as a whole is unwelcome, but rather, that the series could have been so much more. It is immensely gratifying to see a Welsh drama receive so much attention, and yet, the decision to produce it in both Welsh and English, when a version in just Welsh would have sufficed, smacks of attempting to appeal to the masses. Given the plethora of dubbed neo-noir series that have seen huge popularity, there seems to be no real reason to have produced two versions. With news announcing a second series, one hopes that a Welsh version alone will be released having proved its merit.

Monica and Chandler’s pallid marriage

Given the release of Friends on Netflix, it seems inevitable that many, myself included, have re-watched the much-loved, and retrospectively maligned sitcom. Of course, much has already been written about the series’ attitude toward gender roles and homosexuality, and I myself have written on the questionable nature of Ross and Rachel’s apparent aspirational relationship. Now my viewing has reached the ninth season (the one in which Monica and Chandler begin trying for a baby after the birth of Emma) it is becoming increasingly apparent that the writer’s simply didn’t know what to do with Monica and Chandler after they have married.

A quick google of Monica and Chandler brings up countless articles and lists in which the pair’s relationship is consistently referred to with the positive moniker ‘couple’s goals’. Certainly, on the surface the relationship, one which originates from years of friendship before converting into romance, is admirable. Initially, the pair truly respect one another and know every facet of each other. Their relationship, being borne from so many years of friendship, is one that is rooted in equal and positive dynamics. Thus, the early days of their relationship, during the time in which they felt compelled to keep the changing nature of their friendship secret, is one that is rooted in both attraction and excitement. The pair regularly employs tactics to avoid detection but ultimately fail due to their all-consuming passion and desire for each other.

Such chemistry is long forgotten by the time season 9 arrives, and indeed long before that. The pair, when hoping to conceive a child, perform the physical side of their relationship in an entirely perfunctory manner. Following an argument, after Monica discovers that Chandler has smoked, Monica and Chandler angrily place restrictions on the act: ‘no kissing your neck’, ‘good I hate it when you do that’. The fact that the pair, who by this point have been together for several years, don’t seem to know what pleases each other is notable. The scene is played for laughs, with Chandler retaliating with the line ‘and lots of kissing your neck’, but the response, rather than sparking a conversation between the two, simply highlights that their previously passionate relationship is one that has become entirely staid with little pleasure.

The power dynamics between the two is, when watching the episodes in quick succession as I have done, rather startingly in its change. Previously, Monica and Chandler appeared to respect one another, asking for advice and discussing issues at length. Later, when Chandler is working in Tulsa, Monica readily stays In New York for a job opportunity (to which, rather positively, Chandler gives his blessing to) and quickly forgets the very presence of her husband. The group sitting in the coffee house sans Chandler, remind Monica that Chandler is not currently present when she refers to everyone being present. Monica’s realisation again played for laughs, is to exclaim her shock and surprise, but not truly register the problem. Why then, is their relationship, one that started in such a positive way, so rapidly rendered as one without true understanding or respect. Why is it one that is perceived as aspirational by so many?

The series’ presentation of marriage, or a long-term relationship, is not wholly positive. Certainly, no such relationship is free from faults, but the manner in which the audience is encouraged to both accept and laugh at the state of Monica and Chandler’s relationship is questionable. Gone is the respect, and in its place, a relationship that relies on quips and apparent witticisms to demonstrate apparent contentment.

Love and the need for reflection


Streaming services have indelibly changed the manner in which we watch and consume TV and film. The widespread viewership and the immediate availability of a newly released series means that critics and writers are increasingly clamouring to be the first to make comment. Thus, albums, films, and entire series are reviewed within hours of release. While this may sate those keen to read the popular verdict, there is something lost in this mode of consumption. Media texts that were previously given space to ruminate, and afford an opportunity for reflection, are watched, reviewed and promptly forgotten about.

What this can often subsequently lead to, is a series which relies on a viewer’s ability to reflect, being misconstrued or misunderstood. Frequently, I have felt compelled to binge-watch a series in order to avoid spoilers, or watch a series over a single weekend due to enjoyment, and then realised weeks later that I have very little memory of the nuances of the series. It was this then, that prompted me to limit my viewing of the third and final series of Love to no more than two episodes a weekend. Doing so allowed me to use the time in between viewings to further develop my engagement with the characters of the series.

Already an established fan of the series, I found the gaps in between episodes emphasised my enjoyment of the series. Rather than simply selecting another episode in a fairly passive manner, I was able to schedule in my viewing time enabling and ensuring that my full attention was given to the series. I looked forward to my next viewing, a feeling that, when binge-watching, is too often lost. Frequently when watching an entire series over a weekend, like I have done with Westworld, the final few episodes pass by in a blur, and the act of viewing takes on a mission-like approach. Watching the last episode becomes an achievement in itself, rather than a chance to see the narrative’s trajectory end.

Perhaps then, this is why comments focusing on the apparent unrealistic nature of Gus and Mickey’s relationship has surfaced, with online comments focusing on the perceived unbelievability of their relationship. While I have always felt invested in their relationship, I can understand how some, when watching episode after episode, may view Gus and Mickey as being mismatched. She, a recovering addict, and he, an on-set tutor, seem to have little in common on the surface. Certainly, their temperaments initially seem at odds with one another.

Yet, the more the series progresses, the more apparent it becomes that Gus and Mickey are not simply perfect for one another, but strikingly similar in their action. Aside from simply getting on with one another, a spectacle all too rare in representations of relationships, they are in tune with one another. Both frequently exist in a state of denial, and it takes Mickey the effort of self-reflection to realise that she needs to be upfront about her addiction readily sharing this information with Gus’ parents. Gus initially attempts to prevent his parents from discovering this information about Mickey, purportedly to protect Mickey from embarrassment, but in reality to protect himself and the image his parents have of him.

Similarly, we discover towards the end of the series that Gus’ continued, and often slightly grating, nice-guy routine is simply a front, an exercise in ultimate self-denial. In reality, he has suffered a huge career embarrassment and is too ashamed to tell Mickey about this, despite his desire for her to be honest with him. In a lesser series, these setbacks would have prompted melodrama, but in Love, they simply allow narrative development. Thus Mickey and Gus feel like real people, and the series wisely does not give in to clichéd moments of drama.

Perhaps one moment in particular that truly encapsulated the subtlety of Love, was a moment in the episode in which Gus’ band performs in a bar. Mickey, accosted by a man while sat at the bar, steals his cigarettes. The man becoming aggressive is rapidly warned off by Gus. As soon as he leaves, Mickey admits to Gus that she did steal the man’s cigarettes, to which Gus replies, he knew. It is this understanding of each other that demonstrates the realistic nature of their relationship. They understand one another. In watching a series through all at once, moments like this are lost in the myriad of other moments. Surely, it is only through taking your time with a series, or revisiting it, that you can really identify and highlight such moments.

 

Friends: Ross and Rachel’s toxic relationship

 

1996 DAVID SCHWIMMER AND JENNIFER ANISTON OF THE TV HIT SERIES "FRIENDS"

I, like many others, have spent the last few weeks rewatching Friends on Netflix. In reality, this watching has largely consisted of hate-watching, as it becomes increasingly apparent that the series is even less-progressive than first recalled. Much has been written about the rampant homophobia that runs throughout the series, with references to sexuality regularly serving as an insult or a punchline. Much too, has been written about the series’ questionable representation of women in general. What has become most apparent in this period of rewatching is the toxic, and abusive nature of the series’ central relationship: Ross and Rachel. The status of this relationship, despite its breakdown in season three, runs throughout the ten seasons. Characters regularly revisit its demise, with Ross frequently proclaiming ‘we were on a break’ as an eternal defensive catchphrase. Audiences held, and still do hold, this relationship in such high esteem, that it is often perceived as a litmus test for relationships. Many fans believe that the difficulties the pair experience somehow result in a fulfilling outcome when the pair are eventually reunited.

It is strange then, given the regard for this relationship, that the dynamics are so questionable. Ross, always a selfish and irritating character, becomes positively tyrannical in his claim for Rachel’s affections. For Ross, his love, stemming from a childhood affection, validates his ownership of Rachel. From the very beginning of their burgeoning relationship, he holds little regard for Rachel or her feelings, seemingly more in love with the idea of Rachel than her as an individual.

Leaving for China, Ross proclaims that he is hopelessly in love with Rachel, yet readily returns with Julie. His love for Rachel, supposedly so pure, quickly disperses when he is reunited with a woman who returns his propositions. Yet, we are led to believe that Ross’ love and care for Rachel should be held in such high regard, that it is only right that he enters into a relationship with Rachel.

When they do finally embark upon this relationship, it seems to be a matter of minutes before Ross commits an act that undermines Rachel’s self-esteem and sense of self by creating a list of pros and cons, comparing Rachel and Julie. Rather than simply profess his love for Rachel, who he regularly insists on being a source of constant fascination for a number of years, he decides to logically decide which woman he should continue to be with. While he apologises to Rachel and tries to make it up to her on multiple occasions, it is not long before Ross, believing that he has made suitable recompense for his misdemeanour, begins to question why Rachel has not forgiven him yet. Essentially, Ross is able to manipulate and emotionally blackmail Rachel into entering a relationship, as she forgives him after watching a home video.

After Rachel begins a job, which she is passionate about, Ross immediately demonstrates his jealousy and desire to control. It is notable that Rachel’s decision to further her career by quitting her waitressing role at the coffee shop is one that is prompted by Chandler, not her apparently loving and supportive boyfriend. Given that Rachel regularly states her dislike of her job, and shows no enthusiasm for her role, it becomes noticeable that Ross has never discussed her career with her. Rachel’s career progression, made possible by her friendship with future co-worker Mark, merely presents itself to Ross as a means through which he may lose Rachel.

When she begins her role, he goes to great lengths to reassert his dominance. When speaking to Mark he pointedly states his relationship and status, remarking that he is Ross ‘as in Ross and Rachel’ implying that Rachel should only be known in relation to him. Rachel remarks that she likes being a separate, individual at work, and enjoys the freedom this awards, yet Ross continually invades her own space, arriving at work unannounced, sending her a myriad of hyperbolic romantic tokens that take over her desk leaving her unable to work. It would appear that Ross preferred Rachel as a waitress when her job role left her easily accessible (with the group regularly visiting the coffee shop while Rachel is working), and less ambitious. Early on in their relationship, she discovers that he has already determined the trajectory of their relationship, right down to the number of children they will have and where they will live. At no point does Rachel’s personal ambitions feature, nor her feelings and thoughts on the idea. Ross’ concept of their relationship is not one that invites discourse or discussion, but rather is an opportunity for him to mould and create a relationship that satisfies him, particularly given his past relationship with Carol.

After Ross’ infidelity, and Rachel’s subsequent decision to end their relationship, it is not long before Ross refers to Rachel’s decision as being ‘crazy’. He may have apologised initially, but to Ross, this apology should be enough to erase his lack of care and consideration. It’s entirely questionable then, that this controlling, and damaging relationship, is one that is still viewed by audiences as being one to aspire to. Even at the series’ end, Rachel is still compelled to leave behind her career, one that she professes to feeling inspired and excited by, in order to reunite with Ross.  Ross then eventually achieves his dream of having Rachel and a child with her. Yet Rachel has had to renege on her career aspirations and personal ambitions in order for Ross to achieve this. What is Rachel’s dream? Is this ever truly addressed, or considered? Viewers seemingly believe that Ross’ dream is Rachel’s too, but can any viewer really identify what her dream is?

Derry Girls – Review

Derry Girls currently showing on Channel 4, is an entirely welcome series. A show that highlights both the comedic potential of the female gender, as well as the myriad of comedic opportunities as presented by the teenage experience. Shows such as The Inbetweeners have tried to depict the teenage psyche, but too often strayed into the hyperbolic to truly be meaningful. Derry Girls, however, is both inherently comedic and offers an incisive social commentary. Set in the early 1990s, the narrative action takes place against the backdrop of ‘The Troubles’. Such inclusion instantly politicises the writing, yet through the casual manner in which the young girls view events (such as their school bus being forced to take a diversion due to a suspected bomb) is simultaneously rendered as simply part of everyday life. For these girls and their families, such events are, rather than a cause for panic, simply an inconvenience. Such representation, through its seemingly unpolitical nature, instantly becomes utterly political. This is not to suggest that the series offers a diatribe, but rather, through the inclusion of events in a specific and divisive period, ensures that notice is awarded appropriately.

The central conceit, following the various exploits of four teenage girls and a male English cousin, is, while often rather inane, entirely plausible and grounded in reality, a feat that ensures that the humour lands successfully. Each character is well-drawn, each presented as individual in their own right, while also interacting in such a manner that the friendship is entirely believable. Thus, the first episode, which witnesses the girls return for their first day of school after the summer, highlights the new-found confidence that students suddenly find themselves invested with when they perceive themselves to be veterans of the school. This bolshiness, encouraged by Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell), who is invested with new-found bravado having watched Pulp Fiction with her father the night before, lands the group in trouble, accused of bullying. The act, which saw Michelle attempt to threaten a group of new girls into moving from the back seat of the bus, is thoroughly recognisable. So too, is the regular Friday night trip to the local chip shop. Each narrative thread thus far is entirely rooted in both school and the domestic, and it is this, along with wonderfully timed comedic performances, that helps to ensure that Derry Girls is a welcome addition to the genre.

Friends and the representation of women

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Friends has arguably dated, and dated poorly. The series, released on Netflix this month, has once again attracted discussion regarding its representation of homosexuality in particular. While this subject has, quite rightly, attracted much discussion, the representation of gender, especially women, has not received the same attention. This discussion is entirely warranted, and needed, given the objective influence of the series. Such is the hyperreality of the series that viewers regularly view themselves through the lens of the characters, questioning which character they most resemble, or using the narrative of the series to influence the manner in which they interact within their own relationships.

When teaching English Language A Level, there was a specific clip from the series which was regularly used to demonstrate the supposed differences between gender and language. The clip regularly garnered both laughter, and recognition from students, with students genuinely believing that the clip represented an accurate depiction of the manner in which men and women interact, as well as view pivotal moments in relationships. While this may be true for some, the fact that the clip is often the starting point, rather then merely a reflection for the majority is concerning. Many viewers of a particular generation grew up watching the series, and indeed, viewed these gendered interactions and assumptions about relationships before they were in relationships themselves. Subsequently, then, the series has been viewed as a learning tool, encouraging the viewer to use the myriad of relationship difficulties depicted in the series as a model through which they can position their own.

This in itself is questionable enough, but the very depiction of the women in the series, particularly the three female leads, must be questioned. Each woman, despite her own identified independence, is ultimately diminished by the men around her. Each, forging their own successful career, is compelled to compromise both their original ideals and their own concept of their career.

Rachel for example, proving herself to be so successful within the fashion industry is offered a job in Paris. A role that she readily describes as both exciting and scary. Despite the potential of this role, she is, once propositioned by long-term romantic interest Ross, quick to return to New York. There is then little mention of her career prospects, suggestive that ultimately, it is family that is the ultimate goal.

This idea of family as being the true measure of success is echoed in both Monica and Phoebe. Monica’s life is deemed complete once she is able to adopt two babies. Her previous lack of success in conceiving a child with her husband is, seemingly for Monica, some marker that highlights her as lacking. The topic, of the difficulty in conceiving, is given little rumination and all suggestion of difficulty is quickly forgotten once the prospect of adoption is proffered. In earlier episodes Monica is regularly seen at work, forging a career as a successful chef, but as the series continues, these insights into her work seem more sporadic, suggesting that this is no longer important to Monica’s character development.

Similarly, Phoebe heralded as the quirky and eccentric member of the group who disdains convention becomes utterly conventional. In marrying Mike, Phoebe shows that her attempts at kookiness were entirely superficial. Her lifestyle, previously a defining feature of her character, is entirely uprooted. She struggles with spending money on her wedding and considers donating it to charity in order to help people who have had similar experiences to her. Rather rapidly, however, she is willing to use this money for her own means, decrying it as deserving considering her previous life. It is surely at this moment that Phoebe has consciously rejected her own nature, and instead, freely submits herself to convention and married life.

Each character, when comparing the first series to the last, is entirely unrecognisable. Of course, character change over the duration of a series, particularly one that has the duration of Friends but these characters have not merely naturally progressed, but rather rejected past incarnations of themselves arguably in order to submit to the men around them.

The merits of First Dates

Channel 4’s First Dates and Gogglebox were released around the same time. Both, fairly similar in tone and style, have enjoyed huge success, but while Gogglebox‘s premise has become increasingly tired, with its supposed regular featured viewers demonstrating that they are ever more aware of their own audience, First Dates has, despite Channel 4 attempting to inject the series with a new appeal through the hotel concept, remained enjoyable. The series’ premise is incredibly simple, so much so that it seems strange that the series was not developed sooner. Featuring a range of couple each first on a date, the series charts the featured participants as they embark upon the prescribed date. For some this experience is exciting, for others, it presents a situation in which they feel increasingly vulnerable.

It is this opportunity for vulnerability that engages, and in turn, compels the viewer to consistently watch. Scenarios in which participants have lost a loved one, or endured difficult, at times abusive, relationships immediately connect with the viewer on an emotional level. Similarly, it is the universality of these situations that so aid the series’ success. Each date is well-orchestrated, and there is never any sense of meanness or maliciousness on the part of the producers when matching couples.  Rather, it is clear that the producers, in creating the show, have recognised that for sustained success viewers don’t want to witness awkwardness or conflict, but instead, want to experience positive connections between participants. This is rather notable, as the regular tendency with reality programming is to attempt to generate aggression and argument in order to attract viewers. Instead, First Dates is, simply, a nice show.

Call the Midwife: dangerous hyperreality

Given the nature of the Christmas period, it is inevitable that many end up being subjected to television programming that would not have ordinarily been selected as part of their festive viewing. As such, it was my misfortunate to be subjected to BBC’s Call the Midwife Christmas special on Christmas Day. Having some insight into the nature of the programme I have, thus far, intentionally and purposefully avoided the series finding the clichéd, halcyon representation of life in the 1950s entirely questionable. Having no option but to endure the episode on Christmas Day, it became rapidly apparent that despite my initial misgivings, the series is far worse than I could have anticipated, largely due to what it attempts to represent and the manner in which it is received by its targeted audience.

The central narrative needs little explanation, with the numerous subplots focusing on the various entanglements that the midwives become involved with through the nature of their work. The storylines themselves are not entirely questionable, despite their saccharine nature, but rather the manner in which they are presented. The world of the series is entirely cosseted, harking back to an era that, for its targeted audience, is one that is desirable. A time in which, despite the hardships and prejudices, was one in which things were simple. It is this attitude that proves to be so damaging, with viewers noting the lack of central heating, and the hyperbolic weather as a rite of passage, or as a marker of hard work and determination.

Such an attitude creates a divide, both in terms of generation, class and gender. The careers of these women are still largely restricted to the domestic sphere, and the myriad of intrigues are similarly centred. The gender roles of the women featured are lacking in progression and predominantly rely on stereotypes: the matriarch, the unintelligent woman focused on her appearance, or the overly emotional. While these approaches in themselves are questionable enough, it is the interaction that it encourages from its audience that highlights the series is far more ominous than its first appearance may present. Viewers, obtaining information from one specific media source and then finding their television viewers habits similarly aligned, simply create an echo chamber for their views.

The problem with Christmas 24

The form and tone of a Christmas film is an interesting one. Given the nature of the holiday season, viewers are far more likely to be forgiving when it comes to a film’s quality, allowing for poor acting or cliché so long as the film’s central conceit of celebrating Christmas, is successful. There can be little other explanation then, as to why so many films that largely focus on the same theme or topic attract multiple viewings. While some of these films are permissible, despite their failings, some, such as those that feature on the Christmas 24 channel is entirely questionable in their entire premise and execution.

Those films that are offered and presented for consumption at Christmas time on this channel are seemingly innocuous, with their entirely vanilla representation of relationships and family dynamics apparently entirely innocent and inoffensive. Arguably though, it is this very presentation, in its simplicity that is actually so sinister.
The world of Christmas 24 is overwhelmingly white, and WASP. The relationships are heterosexual, and the representation of all involved is entirely heteronormative. The diegesis that exists within these films is one that is entirely unrecognisable in reality, but though its persuasive presentation and manipulation of festive emotions, form some manner of hyperreality with viewers believing that these worlds did exist, and can exist once more.

Given the overwhelming conservative approach that these films take, and the core ethos that it attempts to engender to its audience, these films despite their seeming inoffensive nature, are in fact utterly pervasive and should be treated as such.