A Little Less Narration, A Little More Action Please

heroes-mohinder-syringe-21Narrators are tools.  Wait, no.. narration is a tool.  That’s it.  A tool that can be used to progress the plot, be beyond the 4th wall or to sum up the moral you couldn’t quite tell with actions.  Like when you make the worst episode in Smallville history and you have to fix it somehow, you turn to totally non canon narration.  Most of the time I kind of tune out the narrator but I couldn’t help but notice how many shows they’re popping up in, especially for something that comes to mind as archaic or old fashioned. 

Greys has Meredith telling us some central theme that pulls all the characters together, this week it was insomnia.  I generally like how they use this time to show other characters and that they’re not afraid to let them interrupt to speak in between pearls of internally wisdom.  I do sometimes question where exactly this script is coming from because it seems like they’re things that are beyond Meredith’s understanding or at least her elegance from episode to episode.  Are we reliving the show from the future?  that’d be a good plot twist.  DENNY’S BEEN RUNNING THE SHOW ALL ALONG! The End. 

The narration of Greys reminds me of the narrator from Desperate Housewives, which I quit watching after the second season so I’m not sure how they’re using her now but she was great in the beginning because she knew the answer to the whole show’s storyline, who murdered her.   How I Met Your Mother does the same thing, a character we know, from the future with more information.  Same with Everybody Hates Chris.  I like the idea of the story teller knowing the end of the story and knowing more than the audience.  Maybe it give the feeling that the writers/producers know where the shows going.   

Heroes, a favorite topic this week, has the same style, show starts and ends with narrator who is also a character on the show speaking of things they probably don’t know though it’s more believable that Mohinder came up with something deep, poetic and thought provoking than Meredith Grey.  This got me to thinking, Why Mohinder?  If it was Kring’s original vision to have a episodic feel to the show with featured characters of the week then why would they pick one central character to pull it all together?   Familiarity?  maybe.  I would not say Mohinder’s the main character on Heroes, an important one but not the main character.  I would have loved, though it’s too late now, to have seen the most featured character get a chance to do the narration of kristen-bell2the week depending on what was happening in the story. 

Veronica Mars featured a voice over by Veronica though these seemed more character informed from episode to episode, Veronica not knowing anything more than she or the audience knew in each episode.  Bell carried this feature over to Gossip Girl.  I even tried to watch it just for her but I couldn’t, sorry.  Scrubs brings it directly into the present moving the show with a stream of consciousness feel  And then there’s Arrested Development that used it to introduce scenes and move from story to story. 

 The late Pushing Daisy’s, One Tree Hill and Dexter, the list goes on.  I would even consider DarkAngel’s Eyes Only and the reality tv interview stylings of The Office as a forms of narration.  It’s interesting to see the different ways that narration is being used and why it’s being used.  Sometimes it’s to cover a fault, or to give outside information or even just to bring some sort of familiar form to episodes.  Love it or hate it, chances are it’s here to stay.

– DoubleBitch

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~ by doublebitch on November 23, 2008.

9 Responses to “A Little Less Narration, A Little More Action Please”

  1. I loved the narration in VMars, and it was great in AD and necessary to HIMYM. Grey’s, I think I like that it allows for opening and closing montages more than I like the narration itself, and I think it’s only use on Heroes is to try and give gravitas to the show.

  2. I kind of feel that Mohinders bits make it closer to a comic book, like hes doing the little yellow boxes at the begining and the end, and it made more sense during the first season because he was doing all this research and had that map of all the different people with powers, thought it was like it was his personal tape recorder telling you what hes learned as he enters this world of super powers and crazy shit. Above all its nice to have that closure to tie the episode together, especially if it was one that didnt go anywhere.

    That worked for season 1 and possibly 2, but now hes done doing that and Amazing Spider-Mohinder is back to selling drugs to bad guys so… yeah. They should definately switch it up more and give the narrator spot to whoever is the more prominent character of the episode.

    At this rate though, if it ever got canceled (god forbid) they should close it off with Mohinder sitting by a fireplace, smoking a pipe and reading from a 9th Wonders anthology a la Heroes Masterpiece Theatre.

  3. THAT WOULD BE THE BEST ENDING EVER! though he’ll have like 8 arms..

  4. He should be covered in a ragged shawl, in a cave somewhere. But still smoking the pipe.

  5. Okay, is it just me, or does that Mohinder pic look like he’s hanging from the mast of a pirate ship on a foggy day? Perhaps not a real pirate ship, but one used as the set for a musical.

  6. totally. If you had super.. whatever he has, is that the first thing you’d do?

  7. Star in a pirate musical? Well, if his whateverness cures shyness and grants singing ability, then I’d say yes!

  8. Lord, we love the booty!

  9. Arrested Development’s narrator is awesome dude, they do not try to find prolific meaning in their episodes which is a huge folly of the narration tool these days.

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