Episode 64: The Lava Lamp of Society

Sheely and Wrather wrap up Gossip Girl Season 5.

TFT PodcastSheely and Wrather mark the little death of Gossip Girl season 5, focusing on the cyclical aspects of the finale, sociology’s individual vs. society chicken and egg problem, heteroglossic discourse, and more.

We’re taking suggestions for TFT Summer School. What should be on the syllabus? Leave a comment below.


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18 Comments on “Episode 64: The Lava Lamp of Society”

  1. Amanda #

    Hey guys, this is totally random but, I was watching Freaks and Geeks, wanted to imdb (yes, I use it as a verb) an actor in it and found out that Paul Feig was inspired by Berlin Alexanderplatz. And so began the wikipediaing (yes, another non-verb verb I use)…

    I went to a German school in Brazil (and after that, to a regular school in Germany, with a year at an American school in Virginia in between, but that’s another story), and in my last year of high school, my German History classes started at 7 am. This is relevant because the fact that they started so early actually impacted how much I was able to understand in class. Just the year before I did just fine in German History, and then that year I could barely follow what was going on. But I do remember some talk of the Weimar Republic, and thinking about how fascinating it sounded when I was able to pay enough attention.

    Anyway, during my wikipediaing, I came across some interesting info on the “effing” that went on at that time, and how things that were technically even illegal were becoming normalized. So there’s the F connection. As for the T in teenagers, I don’t have one yet. But as for the pop culture connection, there’s the montage of Cabaret that Amanda Palmer was part of that happened in Boston a few years ago. Not quite pop culture, I know, but still, sort of.

    My point with all of this is, I’d love to learn more about that period, from whatever perspective. Also, you guys are intelligent and weird, which seems like a good match for the subject. And the TFT podcast is one of the weirdest, most random and yet thoughtful places of intellectual discussion I know, so I guess I’m just hoping you guys can find the teenage connection in all that and maybe dedicate an episode or even just part of one to the subject, or any bit contained within the subject.

    That is all.

  2. Amanda #

    ok, maybe that should have been an email (hides face in embarrassment at the length of the comment)…

  3. Timothy J Swann #

    I’ve just gone through all my TV subscriptions, it seems the only show with Effing Tees in is Twin Peaks. But the story of Laura, Bobby, James, Donna, Audrey and Maddy is quite an interesting one, and there’s Eff-related tension at least.

    • Amanda #

      Welcome back Tim! Do you only listen to TFT over the summer?
      And Twin Peaks is a good idea :)

      • Timothy J Swann #

        I only listen to TFT when it is a show I’ve seen – viz. Skins, the Hunger Games bit on that one episode.

        I guess letting Sheely near a mystery-driven show might be a bad idea.

  4. Pasteur #

    Have either of you guys (or any other TFT fans) checked out the british show “Misfits”? I recently watched the show and couldn’t help but think of how aptly it fits the discussions of power structures and teenagers (both fucking and aspiring to fuck) that envelope this podcast. It’s three short seasons/series, and from what I can tell, it appears to be on Netflix. (As always, it’s available on the waffles.)

    It’s no The Wire, but it’s cleverer and quicker to the pace (and the fucking) than Skins, and offers a lot to work with for overthinking.

    • Amanda #

      Hey Pasteur, do you have an invitation to the waffles for me, if that’s even how those things works now?
      Also, I’ve seen the first ep of Misfits, seems like a good idea :)

    • cat #

      I feel like Misfits has come up as a suggestion before. I totally support it. It brings up a lot of interesting questions about power and legitimacy in a different certainly less privileged society with supernatural powers. Also, I can’t remember where the discussion of Burn Notice and Leverage came up on the site but it would be interesting to focus on the way teenagers operate outside of the system. While the teenagers on Gossip Girl do underhanded, possibly illegal things, their interests often coincide with the interests of the dominant ruling structure.

      I do wish they’d done more with their powers in Season 1. They could have used Curtis to a greater degree to explore gender and sexuality.

      • Timothy J Swann #

        I suppose it would give me a reason to catch up with Misfits which was certainly very well regarded here. And us lucky Brits have 4od.

      • Pasteur #

        Curtis’s character is pretty much always a disappointment in terms of the writers flushing out the meaningful (and obvious) themes, which I think is part of why I really want to hear Matt&Ryan et al spin off on what it means to be a time-travelling gender-bending fucking teenager.

        (Tim could even guest to catch us up on what exactly Kelly is and why it matters!)

        • Timothy J Swann #

          I’m all for that, as I imagine the record time is a touch more flexible.

    • Dale #

      I’m voting for Misfits, it’s interesting to see a show not cut away from the sex scenes and actually having the teenagers say “fuck.” Like in the second episode where the one guy is making out with the chick that looks like Nancy Drew from the 40’s and I was expecting it to end there but then she whips her bewbs out and then the sex scene just kept going. It didn’t feel like it was there just to spice up the show like it does in Game of Thrones where the sex is so brief it can’t provide any characterization.

      Also it would be cool to hear something on Berlin Alexanderplatz.

  5. Joff #

    I’d really love to see TFT tackle season one of Pretty Little Liars this summer. Becca left a great justification for it last year, which you can (and should!) go re-read here (http://www.overthinkingit.com/2011/06/24/tft-episode-44/#comment-32261), but I’ll offer my own.

    PLL is essentially a cross between Gossip Girl and Veronica Mars. A year after queen bee Alison’s murder, the group of girls she ruled over start getting text messages from a malevolent Gossip Girl, A, purporting to be Alison. The plot is pretty much insane, but is probably more coherent than Gossip Girl, so whatever.

    The emotional core of the show is how the four main characters have to cope with both A and the repercusions of their friendship with Alison. Alison is very present in flashbacks, and we see that she had a role very similar to Skins’ Tony in the group: she held the group together, and essentially toyed with them and their neuroses for her own enjoyment in all the ways that a teenage girl bullies other teenage girls – exploiting body issues, confused sexual identities, sibling rivalries, troubled family lives, differences in popularity, and the like. The liars have to deal in the present day with both the aftershocks of her relationship with them, but also with the bullying she inflicted on others (and especially the creepy-as-all-hell blind chick.)

    So Alison messed up the liars good. Against that backdrop, they have to deal with A, who presents his/herself as Alison, and seems to know every secret they ever told Alison. A communicates mostly through text messages, and blackmails the liars in various ways, both as a group and individuals, by exploiting their divisions, their particular psychological vulnerabilities, their relationships with others, and their isolation from authority figures.

    The liars themselves are very well realised characters, there’s a tremendously enjoyable supporting cast, and the show manages to be both a ridiculous roller-coaster ride of plot and an interesting study of the characters and their relationships.

    And there’s fucking.

    • cat #

      Is there? Is there really? All I can think of is Hannah/Caleb and as a really recent development Aria/Ezra. Otherwise not so much of the f***ing.

      • Joff #

        Well Jenna’s raping people all over the place, Spencer/Toby, there’s heavily implied Maya/Emily, and the smouldering looks Noel Khan gives have to count as some sort of intercourse.

        • cat #

          Oh that’s right. I forgot about the Maya/Emily thing where Maya decorated the room with paper and lights and what not. Jenna has been in lingerie but I don’t know if that counts. Spencer/Toby has seemed pretty innocent for the most part unless I’m forgetting something.

  6. cat #

    How about Awkward (MTV) or The Lying Game (ABC Family)?

  7. Peter Tupper #

    In the anime series Speed Grapher, there’s a mid-season clip/recap show, in which the incidents in the storyline are recounted in terms of how much they cost the antagonist corporation, with the screening showing items typed into a spreadsheet. This fits the series’ theme of capitalist alienation, such as when a character’s death is memorialized as only as a line-item for a discount funeral service.

    How about Buffy the Vampire Slayer? These Vampire-Slaying Teenagers?