Tag: Writing

Checkov’s Knucklehead

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“Sons of Anarchy” is a great show, because it doesn’t try to portray the MC world as it truly exists, but, as Paris Barclay and Kurt Sutter say, a “great comic book.” A character on “Vikings” has it right when he says “Everything begins with stories,” and the mythology of “Sons” has power that extends beyond the world of bikers. There’s so much story told underneath and in between the narrative, and that is what is powerful, not all the speed and guns.

For instance, two or three times in this final season, we’ve seen the guys in the garage working on restoring JT’s 1946 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead, the bike John was killed on, that the bike not just be the unfired rifle hanging above the fireplace mantle that Checkov references. I believe the SOA mythology will wrap with Jax dying on that bike. Jax’s riding a big bagger Road King this season isn’t just about his needing a replacement bike after his parked Dyna Wide Glide was run over by that pimp from early in the season. He’s become the leader he was destined to become, and the Road KING helps reveal that. Riding a bike with bags also, I think, represents the additional *baggage* he’s accumulated since taking the gavel. It’s not just for the convenience of having saddlebags in which to hide the gun he needed to kill Damen Pope in the Season 5 finale. Unto his last, Jax’s stepfather Clay, who was responsible for JT’s death, always rode a Dyna. He was never the legitimate King of SAMCRO. Jax is, and that has changed him. I believe it will ultimately kill him. 

Gemma was always grateful that “the family flaw,” a heart defect that she survived, but killed Jax’s younger brother Thomas, didn’t manifest in her oldest son. What she has realized, over the past seven season of “Sons,” though, is that a darker flaw, passed down from JT to his firstborn, an existential question shared with Shakespeare’s Hamlet, did, and it’s one that if not answered correctly, will be Jax’s undoing. JT let the flaw overcome him and drive him to despair and the loss of his will to fight for his life. Jax took the opposite road, attacking the question head-on, determined to overpower it. The correct response lies in the middle of these two choices, and it’s one that the audience hopes Able will discover. Fix the problems you can, while not letting those things you can’t control destroy you.

Like “The Shield” before it, a show Kurt Sutter wrote for, “Sons” is a masterclass in telling a story on television, and as a writer, I’ve learned a lot from it. I hope to work with KS someday.

Update: ***Spoiler*** Looks like I was right, though I admit that when I wrote this, I had no preminition that *The Shield’s* Michael Chiklis would play a part. I also realized, in posting this update, that Jax hadn’t replaced his Dyna Super Glide with a Road King, but a Harley Road Glide. Sorry about that. 

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Conspiracies and Manipulation (the good kind of both)

A couple Mad Men notes this morning.

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STOP!

While reviewing the past couple episodes in preparation for tonight’s first-viewing of the new ep, a couple interesting lines of thought came through.

First off, I’ve noticed in the past couple years, that Mad Men has been leading the charge against DVRing and fast-forwarding through the commercials. While some are going for the “we’ll make them stop and watch the commercials” by turning off the ability in some devices/cable systems, AMC is accepting the practice will continue, and programs to take advantage of it, or at least mitigate the damage.

When you fast-forward through video content, you are watching with the maximum amount of attention you have, because you’re trying to determine exactly when to hit “play” and resume watching the show. AMC is inserting quick Mad Men promos in the commercial blocks in order to trigger that “STOP” reflex. They get promo views, and hopefully, the fast-forwarding viewer will assume the show will be right back, and lays off the accelerate button. I would imagine the advertiser whose spot follows the FF-break pays a higher rate.

Last season, an advertiser created a campaign that looked and felt like Mad Men, and would always cause me to stop the advance, but I can’t remember the client, so I guess that explains it’s absence. Here’s an NPR story on the campaign.

There’s also an ongoing rush of Mad Men stars starring in ads that play during the show. Christine Hendricks (“Joan” on the show) does a whiskey spot, and John Slattery (Roger) voices and appears sometimes in commercials for Lincoln-Mercury, but the best is Jon Hamm as the voice of American Airlines, the big fish his firm of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce needs, but never gets. Ironically, Hamm’s character, Don Draper, has always been against going for AA, since they have an airline client in the small, regional (and fictional) Mohawk Airlines.

Foreshadowing?

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In the episode “The Better Half” recently, Megan was seen on the balcony of the Drapers’ Central Park high-rise apartment in her underwear. Some viewers, understandably, didn’t notice the emblem on her t-shirt, a large red star. No, Megan isn’t displaying her support for AMC’s newest show, The Amerikans, but she is wearing a shirt identical to the one actress Sharon Tate wore in an Esquire Magazine photo shoot. Sharon Tate, you may remember, was murdered in the Hollywood Hills by Charles Manson and his band of merry crazies.

Internet blogs and discussion boards are buzzing with the theory that Megan will be killed, citing Don and Betty’s daughter, Sally, was reading Rosemary’s Baby (the movie Sharon Tate was starring in when she was killed, by the way) and the season’s poster, which features a number of police officers. Here’s a good roundup of the rumors.

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