About Clever Things
Let’s talk medium and message. Both are parts of the transmission, and both vital. The message can be as sophisticated or as simple as the transmitter wishes. Sometimes, the simpler the better.
Then there’s the medium. For examples let’s talk story, and specifically, Stranger Things. I’m just slipping into the second season, but I really enjoyed the first.
But boiling it down, the writers and producers made some really clever decisions involving the medium of the story.
So many monster movies, books about dark worlds, inter-dimensional tales, ghosts, on and on. This isn’t my specific cup of tea, but a good story is a good story.
There’s nothing revolutionary in the message of Stranger Things, but the medium plays the starring role. We see much of this pretty unbelievable situation through the minds of some clever kids. We can’t help but adopt their attitude to the perils they face, at least to some extent. It’s fun to become a kid again and take a more credulous view of the world for a little while. When weird things start to happen, it makes sense that some kids would go with it. They have a whole worldview and way of doing things already in place to help them cope with the adventures to come. Very sharp.
And it doesn’t end there. We also get to see the events unfold through the eyes of the (somewhat clichéd) cop who has a hard time believing in anything. It’s fun watching him slowly become a believer, however, and when these two separate views become as one, it’s a lot of fun.
There’s more to it than that, and I really have a hard time with the crazy mom routine, but whatever, nothing’s perfect. Hopefully the second season will find as many ways to draw us in. Simple storytelling decisions can really make or break something though. Things to consider.
See you after.