In The Name Of The Place
August 10, 2016 3:39 PM   Subscribe


Billy sucks.

sorry, it's a reflex.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:05 PM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I love the name of your post
posted by wester at 4:40 PM on August 10, 2016

This is amazing. I fondly remember gathering around the TV in my dorm's common room for Melrose Place. I had no idea this was going on.
posted by Mavri at 4:42 PM on August 10, 2016

It's funny, I was never interested in prime time soap opera nonsense, but wow! This is awesome! Now I'm going to have to search out episodes.
posted by evilDoug at 6:01 PM on August 10, 2016

I like it. I'm also reminded of Adorno's argument in "Entertainment as Mass Delusion" that "successful" dissenters are usually backed by a powerful figure that knowingly permits the expression of dissent. In that way, this is clever and interesting and thought-provoking, but not really subversive.
posted by listen, lady at 9:30 PM on August 10, 2016

This is really interesting. I'm surprised I hadn't heard of it before.

I was first going to day that simply making a commercial television show thought provoking might be subversive in itself given the interests of the commercial network, but that was a little glib. This kind of work is fascinating because of the layered meanings that might be inferred from it.

As a comment on the themes of the show itself, it adds a layer of awareness over the underlying moral attitudes of the characters with references to the underside of celebrity life and sex and so on which if one is aware of the connection, makes the show richer in meaning than it otherwise would be.

Awareness of the mise-en-scene as a form of comment on the situations of the characters though is hardly a given. That such a thing occurred at all on network television is not absolutely unheard of, but still laudable for having happened as comment. Knowing of it also can serve as a sort of reward for one set of viewers, those aware of the placements, serving to separate them from all the other viewers who aren't aware of any purpose or meaning associated with these items.

Given those interested in modern art or this kind of cross commentary are already far more prone to belief in "subversive" ideas, then the comment serves mostly to reinforce feelings of difference from the dominant perspective on the show and culture at large. Yet in the same way, it can't be subversive to those viewers aware of the placements because it does reinforce their understanding rather than question it. In other words, like so much subversive material awareness of any subversive possibility precludes it from actually being subversive for those aware of it since they already question mass culture.

I think Chin is right then in denying subversive attempt since that in itself can place the work in a more limiting context of attack on a cultural perspective rather than as comment intended to enrich ones experience of art and culture more generally.

All that said, watching those clips just reminds me that no matter how much I admire Chin's work here, I still can't imagine bringing myself to watch Melrose Place, I just can't stomach that dialogue for very long without feeling nauseated.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:02 PM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Love this. Love that something so mindless as a soap could be imbued with such meaning. I especially love this one:
Also included was a homespun-looking quilt embroidered with the molecular structure of RU-486, the so-called “morning after pill” then current in the news, which one character was seen wrapping herself in as she chatted on the phone about her pregnancy.
Related: Street Artists Hired By 'Homeland' Hide Accusations Of Show's Racism In Plain Sight
posted by Brittanie at 5:23 AM on August 11, 2016

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