Monday, October 13, 2014

Leaning into the trope HTGAWM

As you may suspect, I'm going to talk about "How to Get Away With Murder", specifically the second episode, so if you are not caught up and/or care about having plot bits revealed, you have been warned. 
In the first episode we learned that Wes (or Mr. Elle, as I like to call him) had an across the hall neighbor of Rebecca.  Rebecca had rebuffed Wes's attempts at neighborly bonding, but in episode two she suddenly knocks on his door and says that the upstairs neighbors must have clogged the drains because her shower is oozing and could she please borrow his shower because she needs to get the bar stank off of her before she can sleep.  And then, of course, she headed into his shower and disrobed before, oops, remembering to close the door.  And, yes, my eyes rolled, and I was tempted to throw things at my TV because it's such a terrible cliche even though, no one, in the history of ever has borrowed their neighbor's shower.  But, I chalked it up to silly TV things that people do and moved on.  Except that later in the episode, after Wes watches the police arrest Rebecca he suddenly seems to realize the same thing, and checks his bathroom to discover that in fact, it seems Rebecca was stashing evidence at Wes's in case her apartment got searched. 
And that was brilliant.  I remembered the scene clearly, because it seemed like a dump tropey thing to do.  So, I didn't spend more time wondering why today she was basically voluntarily being neighborly when the other times she had told him to basically get lost.  But they expected me to not think too deeply about that scene and it made the reveal of the extra layer that much better.  There's a lot of talk, heck there's whole websites dedicated to tropes, and tropes, like cliches, become tropes for a reason.  And there are ways to use them badly (like if she really had just been there to use the shower) and ways to use them well, or even play on the audience expectation surrounding them.  And this, is one of the reason "How to Get Away With Murder" has been such a treat to watch. 

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