Skip to main content

The Daily Beast: "Revenge is not only winking noir, it’s a retribution fantasy for the 99 percent"

ABC’s hit nighttime soap Revenge is not only winking noir, it’s a retribution fantasy for the 99 percent.

Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, in which I visit the set of Revenge and talk to its creator, Mike Kelley, and cast members--including Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe, and Gabriel Mann--about the show’s popularity.

It’s difficult to escape the narrative lure that ABC’s nighttime soap Revenge—equal parts vengeance fantasy, noir-tinged thriller, and sprawling character-based soap—casts in its wake. The drama (Wednesdays at 10 p.m), inspired by Alexandre Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo, has been featured everywhere from the cover of Entertainment Weekly to a sumptuous Oscar-night promo.

Every one of its deliriously unexpected plot twists is voraciously dissected on Twitter by the Revenge faithful, captivated by the show’s premise: a young woman, Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp), returns to the Hamptons to wreak havoc on those who destroyed her family, exacting a bitter, um, revenge that tightens a noose around the necks of the wealthy residents of the Long Island community, even as she finds herself caught in a love triangle between Daniel (Joshua Bowman), the son of femme fatale Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) who destroyed her family’s fragile happiness, and her childhood crush, Jack (Nick Wechsler). Emily—criminal mastermind, computer hacker, cat burglar, and willing arsonist, not to mention a ronin in Giuseppe Zanotti stilettos—recalls Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander as much as she does Dumas’s Edmond Dantès. Forget about the Hamptons, this show is firmly based in Crazy Town, as Emily commits every crime short of murder to achieve her ends.

“She wants them to suffer the way that she has suffered her entire life,” said VanCamp, sitting in a smoke-filled dive bar a few blocks from the ocean, which is standing in as a low-rent meeting place for her character. “That’s the only satisfaction that she can ever get. She’s missing that forgiveness is ultimately the best way out.”

While VanCamp said this, she was wearing a brown wig, sapphire-blue contact lenses, and the sort of low-cut skimpy dress that would have landed Lindsay Lohan in the tabloids back in the day, a disguise pulled from Emily Thorne’s figuratively bottomless bag of tricks. This costume is fairly standard fare for Revenge, which deals easily in vertiginous doubles and assumed identities, among other tropes. An attempted murder is caught on tape from the belly of a whale statuette; two characters are revealed to be unlikely siblings; a down-and-out stripper bludgeons a private investigator to death. It’s heady and out-there stuff, the show’s innate campiness fusing with a dose of actual homoeroticism at times. From the outside, Revenge is a show that should never have succeeded, one with a seemingly ludicrous and close-ended plot, stuck in a dead-end time slot, and with a star who had made her bones in earnest fare like Everwood and Brothers & Sisters. Yet it’s getting roughly 8 million viewers per week, with just the right sort of audience in these ratings-starved times.

Continue reading at The Daily Beast...


Alex said…
I have to admit that I was so against the show before it premiered last year. As you mention, it has an utterly ludicrous plot that I felt wouldn't hold up... apparently I was wrong. I am now a huge fan and watch it avidly each week. It's soap melodrama at its finest and sometimes that's all you need for a mid-week pick me up.

You should check out my podcast, Geek Out Girls, where I talk about all things entertainment related.

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

BuzzFeed: Meet The TV Successor To "Serial"

HBO's stranger-than-fiction true crime documentary The Jinx   — about real estate heir Robert Durst — brings the chills and thrills missing since Serial   wrapped up its first season. Serial   obsessives: HBO's latest documentary series is exactly what you've been waiting for.   The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst , like Sarah Koenig's beloved podcast, sifts through old documents, finds new leads from fresh interviews, and seeks to determine just what happened on a fateful day in which the most foul murder was committed. And, also like  Serial  before it,  The Jinx may also hold no ultimate answer to innocence or guilt. But that seems almost beside the point; such investigations often remain murky and unclear, and guilt is not so easy a thing to be judged. Instead, this upcoming six-part tantalizing murder mystery, from director Andrew Jarecki ( Capturing the Friedmans ), is a gripping true crime story that unfolds with all of the speed of a page-turner; it

BuzzFeed: "The Good Wife Is The Best Show On Television Right Now"

The CBS legal drama, now in its sixth season, continually shakes up its narrative foundations and proves itself fearless in the process. Spoilers ahead, if you’re not up to date on the show. At BuzzFeed, you can read my latest feature, " The Good Wife Is The Best Show On Television Right Now," in which I praise CBS' The Good Wife and, well, hail it as the best show currently on television. (Yes, you read that right.) There is no need to be delicate here: If you’re not watching The Good Wife, you are missing out on the best show on television. I won’t qualify that statement in the least — I’m not talking about the best show currently airing on broadcast television or outside of cable or on premium or however you want to sandbox this remarkable show. No, the legal drama is the best thing currently airing on any channel on television. That The Good Wife is this perfect in its sixth season is reason to truly celebrate. Few shows embrace complexity and risk-taking in t