Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Revenge: what happens to cake that is morish

I had planned a wonderful father's day post about porter cake for today. I even thought about tying it into the disappointing performance of the Irish football team in the UEFA euro 2012s. I prepared a whole celebration of Irish things that are actually good (you know as opposed to the football team) like Irish music, scones, stew, our language, our rugby team, and of course Guinness. I had this whole story about all the nights where the adults in my family would suddenly become fruit cake fiends after nights of trad music and traditional beverages. Good ole Irish times! So maybe you're asking why not just write this post?? Well I made the cake, I gave the cake as father's day present and before I could take any pictures, it was gone. He reported that the cake was delicious, my bf's father also got a cake and said that it was really tasty and yet I do not have a single photo to share this recipe and it just feels like recipe without photos is fairly useless. So it seems I will need to post about something else and I have recently been watching 'Revenge.'

 Revenge is the story of a young lady who grew up with her father in the south hampton society until a tragedy befell her family. She is torn apart from said father who then died without proving himself innocent. Now having received millions of dollars from an investment her father made she is back in the hamptons to get revenge against all those who betrayed her father. The pilot episode opens with murder and intrigue and uses this to hook the viewer's interest, and to be honest, it works....kinda.

The opening scenes are so random that the natural reaction is to wonder how this happened and even what's really going on in the first 3 minutes. According to the wikipedia page, the show has received 'generally favourable reviews,' and has very high viewer ratings among the all important (for advertisers) 18-49 year old groupings. So why is this who so popular? In looking at this I would like to take an initial positive positions and then discuss the numerous elements that I disliked.

To start with the show's resonates not just with our emotional need for 'justice,' but also with an age-old tale of avenging our loved ones. This is not an original concept; Greek mythology, Shakespearean dramas and numerous modern classics, as well as everything in between, have featured this theme and taped into our human need for restorative justice. Much like a great Shakespearean drama it appears that perhaps this story will also explore how negative actions from negative emotions can frequently result in negative consequences for everyone, including the protagonist. If this is the direction the show is headed I can definitely respect that.

Secondly this show is exploring the lives of the rich and socially respected only to highlight their faults and use said faults to knock these people down. I can imagine that there are any number of people who would like nothing more than to knock socialites down a peg or two. We live in a world of reality television and meaningless celebrity, where those who already swan around high society feel that their every thought and action must be caught in tweet, print and/or video form so that everyone can hear how brilliant they are while they collect money for every numb-skull who entertains this behaviour. Yet behind it all there is corruption, distortion and lies. We all know, we all wait in excited anticipation for the next break-down, or up, the next drama, the next costume mishap or misguided decision. We revel in undermining the power that we ourselves have given to these celebrities and socialites. Therefore a show like this one fits perfectly with many people's concious or unconcious dislike for rich people.

Thirdly it also encompasses a number of different fantasies; from basic dreams of receiving unexpected millions and living the easy life, to more unlikely fantasies of marrying into royalty, in the wake of Kate's big day. This show therefore represents an hour of escapism, of reveling in unadulterated hatred and passionate destruction. All in all this show taps in nicely to the undercurrent of anger and longing that is so prevalent in our post 2008 world and for this I tip my hat to the writers and producers.

Now the negative. The story seems to reflect many of the great themes of drama. Unfortunately the actual storyline also feels a bit random. I felt like I was watching some mishmash of 'Gossip Girl,' and 'The girl who kicked the hornet's nest.'

The main character Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke (played by Emily VanCamp) just seems to good at, well, everything. The girl has supposedly spent the best part of her life in some lock-up psychiatric unit and yet everything she does, she does perfectly. Yes, i get it, she has meticulously planned this massive revenge stunt but somehow I don't see her being able to fake an entire life, which she apparently lived for many years before the start of this show (hence her party planning friend from years ago?!) while also learning computer hacking, horse-riding, painting, cooking skills, etiquette, fashion, hair styling (her curls are far to defined for that humidity), disguising oneself, stock market facts, how to shoot, martial arts, and the list goes on. In every episode it appears that she is just a complete jammy dodger ;)! In one episode people even break into her new house and conveniently never discover her box of father/revenge plan keepsakes or anything that might reveal her true identity! It all a little too convenient if you ask me.

I won't lie, I am looking forward to each new episode but couldn't tell you if that's because this show is so amazing or just because there is literally nothing else on until True Blood Season 5. Either-way the show is entertaining, the acting is dramatic enough to be funnier if you're tipsy and the overall storyline is intriguing, if somewhat unlikely. I will keep watching this show and if you have been considering it, I would recommend it; not brilliant but good for summer television.

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