Opaque minds. Mad Men and the representation of interiority in TV series

Gianluigi Rossini

Abstract


One of the most visible features of Mad Men is the opposition between the lavish visual surface and the lack of depth in the description of characters. It's very difficult to empathise with Don Draper and many other Mad Men's characters, because their psychology often seems completely inaccessible or unexpressed, contrary to what happens in most contemporary TV series.
The aim of this essay is to show how and why the authorial agency conveys an 'opacity effect' that clouds the spectator's understanding of the thoughts and feelings of the characters. In doing this, I will place Mad Men inside a tradition of TV series centred on the psychology and emotions of characters. The analysis will be carried out within two theoretical frameworks: James Phelan's rethorical theory of narrative and Celestino Deleyto's model of film narrative.

Keywords


Serial narration; TV series; Mad Men; Narrative rhetoric; Internal focalization

Full Text:

PDF (Italiano)

References


Allrath, Gaby – Gymnich, Marion – Surkam, Carola, “Introduction: Towards a Narratology of TV Series”, Narrative Strategies in Television Series, Eds. Gaby Allrath – Marion Gymnich, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

Bal, Mieke, Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1985.

Barthes, Roland, La retorica antica, trad. it di Paolo Fabbri, Milano, Bompiani, 1972.

Booth, Wayne C., The Rhetoric of Fiction, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1983.

Bordwell, David, Narration in the Fiction Film, New York-London, Routledge, 1985.

Bordwell, David, Poetics of Cinema, New York-London, Routledge, 2008.

Cardini, Daniela, La lunga serialità televisiva. Origini e modelli, Roma, Carocci 2004.

Carveth, Rod – South, James B. (eds.), Mad Men and Philosophy: Nothing Is as It Seems, Hoboke, New Jersey, Wiley, 2010.

Chatman, Seymour, Coming to Terms. The Rhetoric of Narrative in Fiction and Film, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1990.

Creeber, Glen, Serial Television. Big Drama on the Small Screen, London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Deleyto, Celestino, “Focalisation in Film Narrative”, Narratology: An Introduction, Eds. Susana Onega – José Á. García Landa, London, Longman, 1996.

Edgerton, Gary R. (ed.), Mad Men. Dream TV Come True, London and New York, I.B. Tauris, 2011.

Feuer, Jane, "The Lack of Influence of thirtysomething", The Contemporary Television Series, Eds. Michael Hammond, Lucy Mazdon, Edimburgh, Edimburgh University Press, 2005.

Gaudreault, André – Jost, François, “Enunciation and Narration”, A Companion to Film Theory, Eds. Toby Miller – Robert Stam, Malden, MA, Blackwell Publishing, 1999.

Genette, Gérard, Figure III. Discorso del racconto, Torino, Einaudi, 1976.

Giovannetti, Paolo, Il racconto. Letteratura, cinema, televisione, Roma, Carocci, 2012.

Goodlad, Lauren M. E. – Kaganovsky, Lilya – Rushing, Robert A. (eds.), Mad Men, Mad World: Sex, Politics, Style, and the 1960s, Durham and London, Duke University Press, 2013.

Hayward, Jennifer, Consuming Pleasures: Active Audiences and Serial Fictions from Dickens to Soap Opera, Lexington, KY, University of Kentucky Press, 1997.

Klauk, Tobias – Köppe, Tilmann, “Puzzles and Problems for the Theory of Focalization”, The Living Handbook of Narrative Theory, Ed. Peter Hühn et al., Hamburg, Hamburg University, URL: http://www.lhn.uni-hamburg.de/, 2013.

Marcus, Daniel, Happy Days and Wonder Years. The Fifties and the Sixties in Contemporary Cultural Politics, London, Rutgers University Press, 2004.

McCabe, Janet – Akass, Kim, Quality TV: Contemporary American Television and Beyond, London-New York, I.B. Tauris, 2007.

Mittell, Jason, “On Disliking Mad Men”, «Just Tv», 29 luglio 2010, URL: http://justtv.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/on-disliking-mad-men/.

Niederhoff, Burkhard, “Focalization”, The Living Handbook of Narrative Theory, Ed. Peter Hühn et al., Hamburg, Hamburg University, URL: http://www.lhn.uni-hamburg.de/, 2013.

Ono, Kent, “Mad Men’s Postracial Figuration of Racial Past”, Mad Men, Mad World: Sex, Politics, Style, and the 1960s, Eds. Lauren M. E. Goodlad, Lilya Kaganovsky, Robert A. Rushing, Durham and London, Duke University Press, 2013.

Perlman, Allison, “The Strange Career of Mad Men: Race, Paratexts and Civil Rights Memory”, Mad Men, Dream TV Come True, Ed. Gary R. Edgerton, London and New York, I.B. Tauris, 2011.

Phelan, James, “Rhetoric/Ethics”, The Cambridge Companion to Narrative, Ed. David Herman, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Phelan, James – Rabinowitz, Peter J., “Narrative as Rhetoric”, Narrative Theory: Core Concepts and Critical Debates, Ed. David Herman et al., Ohio University Press, 2012.

Rossini, Gianluigi, “Mad Men e la nostalgia”, Contemporanea, 10, 2012.

Schmidt, Johann N., “Narration in Film”, The Living Handbook of Narrative Theory, Ed. Peter Hühn et al., Hamburg, Hamburg University, URL: http://www.lhn.uni-hamburg.de/, 2014.

Smith, Greg M., Beautiful TV. The Art and Argument of Ally McBeal, Austin, TX, University of Texas Press, 2007.

Stern, Danielle M. – Manning, Jimmie – Dunn, Jennifer C. (eds.), Lucky Strikes and a Three Martini Lunch: Thinking about Television's Mad Men, Newcastle upon Tyne, Cambridge Scholar Publishing, 2012.

Stoddart, Scott F. (ed.), Analyzing Mad Men: Critical Essays on the Television Series, Jefferson, North Carolina and London, McFarland, 2011.

Thompson, Robert J., Television’s Second Golden Age: From Hill Street Blues to ER, Syracuse, Syracuse University Press, 1997.

Timberg, Bernard, "The Rhetoric of the Camera in Television Soap Opera", Television: The Critical View, Ed. Horace Newcomb, Oxford-New York, Oxford University Press, 1984.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/1167

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-17109

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


Between Journal is published by the University of Cagliari - Maintenance for this OJS installation is provided by UniCA  Open Journals, hosted by Sistema Bibliotecario di Ateneo.

Between Journal is published with the funding of the Bank of Sardinia Foundation.

ISSN 2039-6597

CC-By lockssDOAJ seal SPARC Europe