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Old 12-15-2012, 06:49 PM
  #61
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"Familiar with candle, with book, and with bell."

The title of movie shown at the drive-in in YA 3, Bell, Book and Candle, refers to the old Catholic rite of excommunication. Give that the movie otherwise seems to have little to do with YA, it seems to suggest that Jake is excommunicating herself by cross dressing -- as the drive-in scenes illustrate nicely: she's seated between a boy (Hamilton) and a girl (Lena), both of whom want her, but neither of whose affections she can accept. It also fits nicely into YA's sequence of symbolic religious life-cycle imagery: symbolic baptisms in the lake, a symbolic wedding at the cotillion, a symbolic funeral at the cemetery next to Bella's mom's house; it comes at the point in the drama where one might expect to find a symbolic "first communion" or "confirmation," but is exactly the opposite, an excommunication.

And in YA 5, Jake's mom, Monica, is described by Jake as having played Grisabella in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, Cats, based on poems by T.S. Elliot. Grisabella's a forsaken character who sings the musical's best-known song, "Memories," and finds redemption -- taken up into heaven ("The Heaviside Layer") in the musical's closing number.

But there's a link between the two, one I just now noticed:

In the opening musical number of Cats, "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats," the cats are described as being "familiar with candle, with book, and with bell."

References in modern pop culture to the medieval Catholic rite of excommunication are rather uncommon.

So it may be, I suspect, no coincidence that YA 5 contains an allusion to a musical that contains an allusion to the "bell, book and candle" excommunication rite to which YA 3 alludes.

Antin does something very similar by having Scout refer, in YA 6, to the film, My Best Friend's Wedding (when he says, at the diner, "Cameron kills Julia"), which features, in a totally ironic way, the love song played at the close of the cotillion in YA 4, Fred Astaire's old "The Way You Look Tonight." The allusion to My Best Friend's Wedding helps us understand that the use of that love song in YA 4 is also ironic, because, as YA says repeatedly, "things aren't what they look like." Similarly, the allusion to Cats in YA 5 helps us focus on the religious symbolism in the title of the movie shown at the drive-in in YA 3. The retrospective intertextuality in YA runs deep. And to appreciate YA fully, one really must not only catch its allusions, but read or watch or listen to them.
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Last edited by Finnegan; 12-15-2012 at 07:08 PM
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Old 03-27-2014, 02:43 PM
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Okay, so this is the most appropriate thread I could find for this Television Without Pity will close down soon, which in turn made me reread the YA episode descriptions they did waaay back in the day, and they are still pretty much golden Here, have the most appropriate summary of the show ever:

Quote:
It was a summer of love. A summer to remember. A summer to become sexually confused. It was one summer Pamie spent letting us peek into a world where girls become boys, boys become objects of man-love, sisters become lovers with brothers, and Mamawhore reigned supreme. Relive the laughs, the shivers, the untimely death of Saint Clare the patron saint of television I. Feel the power of Verve’s stare. Warm yourself up by the Lake Homoerotica fire. Quote the cheesiest lines with glee. Dance to the Steel Drums of Non-Gay Love. Young Americans was some really good eye-candy. Like all thing sweet, it was gone too soon.
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Old 04-10-2014, 05:42 AM
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The last few sentences are spot on
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Old 04-11-2014, 11:12 AM
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Oh man, you should read the full episode commentaries. They are so hilarious!
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Old 04-12-2014, 06:24 AM
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I'm so sad to like discover this site after it's been shut but yeah I'm gonna go through the episode commentaries and read them
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Old 04-13-2014, 03:53 AM
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I am so tempted to read through all the old school recaps about Dawson's and Roswell and stuff!
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Old 04-14-2014, 11:55 AM
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I read all the short show descriptions, I don't have the memory to go reading episode recaps
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Old 04-14-2014, 11:57 AM
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Yeah, I think they're best if you've recently rewatched the episodes
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Old 04-14-2014, 12:00 PM
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The only recaps I really ever read are for American Idol and other singing competitions cause those are hilarious and often without pity and filled with spite
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Old 04-14-2014, 12:02 PM
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Is there any other way to review shows, especially talent shows?
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Old 04-14-2014, 12:08 PM
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Sometimes people take it seriously and actually review the talent
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Old 04-14-2014, 12:16 PM
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If you're taking reality shows that seriously you're doing something wrong
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Old 12-16-2014, 05:32 AM
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(1) Railroad tracks; (2) More on names in YA: Hamilton, Consuela

Year after year, one continues to see new things in Young Americans. Some thoughts I've had in the past few months:

-- (1) The symbolism of the railroad tracks in episode 8 may be more than just the stock "forever/infinity" metaphor. The convergence of two parallel lines at the horizon might also refer to the convergence of YA's two story-lines at the end of the drama ... and outside it. They converge in the viewer, by contrasting - a story of true love, and a story of a love that thinks it's true but isn't.

-- (2) More on character names in YA.
"Consuela" is Jake's consolation for having an inattentive mother.

"Hamilton Fleming" has an obvious, surface-level meaning that I'd previously missed. He's a "ham," someone who enjoys acting, a joker, a trickster. And he's "flaming" - conspicuously, blatantly gay. Together - a character who enjoys pretending to be gay because he has a "jake prat" (acceptable ass).

The deeper, Biblically-rooted meaning I've posted before for "Hamilton Fleming" may still apply, for several reasons:
-- The superficial level, indicating that Hamilton is a trickster who is never quite what he seems, suggests a second level of meaning.
-- "Jake Pratt" has two levels of meaning: she's an acceptable ass not only in that her body is the right gender for Hamilton despite appearances, but also in that her character is redeemable depsite her assinine behavior.
-- Jacqueline never calls him "Ham." Always "Hamilton" (or, in play, "Hammy"). I always wondered why. Now I have an hypothesis - it may be a clue to, as Will tells Caroline, "look deeper."

"Ryder" - It may be more than an allusion to Brideshead Revisited, to the sexual confusion in Waugh's novel, and the langorous beauty in the BBC television production of it. It may be a reference to Evelyn Waugh himself. Take a look at Waugh's biography (e.g., on Wikipedia). The guy was a total rotter, called the nastiest man in England. And he started being a rotter when he was shipped off to a college [English version of US prep school] that he loathed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finnegan (View Post)
Elsewhere on his forum, I've pointed out that the names of the protagonists in YA all mean something, e.g., Will Krudski (a guy overcoming his cruddiness through willpower) or Bella Banks (beauty, morally limited by the trauma of parental abandonment).

And I've pointed out that Ryder's name may be intended to evoke Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, the full title of which notes that that novel is the recollections of Captain Charles Ryder.

Lena's name means something, too. It's short for Eleanor, meaning "compassionate," from the Greek ἔλεος (pity, mercy, compassion). Too appropriate to be a coincidence, don't you think?
Happy holidays and best wishes for the coming year!
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Last edited by Finnegan; 12-16-2014 at 05:39 AM
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Old 12-18-2014, 02:12 AM
  #74
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Happy holidays to you and your family as well! It's nice to see you back around here again
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Old 12-01-2016, 07:50 PM
  #75
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"Crunch 'n Munch" toffee-flavoured popcorn in YA1

For years, I've wondered: What is the mysterious object behind Will Krudski in Young Americans episode 1, when he's reading a book in the Rawley Boys' common room (the 1999 Agnes Scott College version of it in Decatur, Georgia) and Finn walks in to give him the "good news" that he passed the entrance exam without cheating and the "bad news" that Finn thinks he's a writer.

The object in question is lying on its side, partly hidden by Will's chair. It has two lines of print on it. In each line, one can see only the first letters of a word: in the first line, "Cru ..."; in the second line, "Mu ..." It's 2 minutes, 36 seconds into this clip.

Having been fixated on the many literary allusions and cultural symbols in YA -- not without reason -- I'd always assumed that this mysterious object was a book. Many a time I Googled for a book entitled, "Cru ... Mu ..." To no avail. Finally, about two years ago, I gave up.

Today, watching YA episode 1 for the first time in many months, it occurred to me: maybe it's not a book. Maybe it's food. Like, maybe, "Crunchy Munchies." A heartfelt prayer to Our Lady of Google was quickly answered: the mystery object is a bag of "Crunch 'n Munch" toffee-flavoured popcorn with peanuts:


This raises the question: Why should there be toffee-flavoured popcorn in "heaven under our feet as well as over our heads ... the perfect people, the perfect life ... a place where dreams really do come true"?

Maybe it's there do suggest the difficulty of Will's task at Rawley, the difficulty of moral rejuvenation -- to suggest that to "go to Rawley," to shed adult complacency, exceed expectations and dream dreams worthy of us is as difficult as reacquiring a child's fondness for such sugary delights as toffee-flavoured popcorn ... which sounds truly yucky.
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Last edited by Finnegan; 12-03-2016 at 07:13 AM
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