Virginia’s question #3
The rescue/escape motif in melodrama is still prominent today. When a character feels hopeless or trapped, like the odds are stacked against him, much more pathos is created for the reader/viewer. While rescue/escape is played out and characterizes thousands of plots over the centuries, it is still an effective and powerful tool in modern melodrama and will continue to be. Every television drama and many movies employ this today. Grey’s Anatomy had a shooter who took hostages, One Tree Hill had a stalker tie girls up and attempted murder in a basement. Even comedies employ this tactic to increase the melodramatic feel. For example, in How I Met Your Mother when Robin is trapped in Barney’s apartment closet she isn’t scared for her life but still calls her friends for a rescue. Even in real life rescue/escape stories provide sensational news stories, from the coal miners in South America to the rescue of three young women and their children in Cleveland, Ohio that had been kidnapped up to a decade before.
Gideon’s question #2
My first opinion was that Williams was a cynical academic lacking the patriotism necessary to truly get pumped for the Olympics. But upon further reflection, I realized she definitely has a point. Broadcasting an athlete’s personal struggles that they had to overcome definitely employs melodramatic qualities. Williams explains, “sensationalism produced a popular culture fascinated with pain and suffering,” (20). As a society we are drawn to stories that tug on our heartstrings. We root for the underdog.