‘A STAR IS BORN,’ Romcoms And Love Addiction

Ethlie Ann Vare follows up the post on her blog last week about A Star is Born and its unintended psychological effects. Remember the old Spider-Man slogan, “With great power comes great responsibility?” That’s something filmmakers definitely need to start keeping in mind.

by Ethlie Ann Vare

As I predicted, A STAR IS BORN is a blockbuster hit, never mind the fact that it sends a terrible message to all the potential love addicts out there. (See my previous blog post on the subject here.) But I can’t be too hard on Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. After all, my whole life I’ve been given horrible messages from star-crossed onscreen romances – messages that might not damage a reasonable person, but can send an unreasonable obsessive like myself pursuing a bad idea straight to the gates of insanity or death.

I’m not blaming the movies; much of this is in the eye of the beholder. One person can watch LEAVING LAS VEGAS and swear off drinking; another sits through the same screening and decides to grow up to be Nicolas Cage’s suicidal alcoholic or Elizabeth Shue’s self-destructive prostitute. Because they’re so, you know, tragic and misunderstood. And sexy; don’t forget sexy.

Here, then, is a litany of cinematic woe for those unable to control and enjoy their love lives. The list is weighted for blockbusters and recent releases, because I only had so much space and it was too depressing to consider watching every Doris Day-Rock Hudson movie ever made. Feel free to chime in with your particular favorite.

Caution: Some spoilers ahead, but my guess is you’ve probably seen these movies already, maybe more than once. (Also note, a version of this column was previously printed in Substance Magazine.)

1. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) A rebellious heiress and an out-of-work newspaperman fall for each other while she’s running away to elope with another man. “I don’t know very much about him, except that I love him,” says rich girl Claudette Colbert about penniless reporter Clark Gable. I still adore this movie classic, but I did finally figure out that relationships work better when you’re actually acquainted with the person.

2. LOVE STORY (1970) A rich boy and a poor girl fall in love as Harvard undergrads; he defies his family to marry her. Their perfect life is cut short by her fatal illness. “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” young Ali McGraw tells young Ryan O’Neal, because if you truly love someone you will never hurt or disappoint them in the first place. This is a terrible lesson to teach a love addict; we already expect you to read our minds and then resent you when you can’t.

Read it all at Affection Deficit Disorder

WGA Awards Deadline Reminder

From the WGAW to God’s ears…and yours too:

If you’re a pro who wrote their heart out on a TV series/special or a film seen, or scheduled to be seen, by the public this year, this definitely is something to shoot for.

Best thing about this info: You don’t need to do any additional writing.
Worst thing about this info: You have only 2 more days to jump through the hoops.

Break a leg!

“I write disabled characters who aren’t evil, piteous, or helpless”

Everyone is happy (or says they are) about seeing more diverse characters on TV these days. But one “diverse” group of actors we aren’t seeing is those we could characterize as “disabled.” For those who wonder what’s up,  we bring you this report:

Kaite O’Reilly

by Dawn Foster

“What is normal?” playwright Kaite O’Reilly asks during a break in rehearsals for her new play, And Suddenly I Disappear. “What is normal for you, isn’t normal for me. We’re so limited by these ideas of normalcy, what it is to be human.”

O’Reilly’s play, debuting at the Southbank Centre in London , on Wednesday, then touring around the country, comprises what O’Reilly calls her “D-monologues”: fictional soliloquies discussing aspects of disability, difference and diversity. Two of the actors, Ramesh Meyyappan and Sophie Stone, are deaf. “There are so few good parts for people who are different, whose bodies don’t conform,” O’Reilly says. “And, invariably, they’re not performed by disabled or deaf people” – a fact highlighted by the row over the casting of a non-disabled actor in the remake of The Elephant Man.

“I decided I wanted to write work that challenges the normal perception of what it is to be disabled,” says O’Reilly. “I’m perceiving the world differently because of the particular body and senses I have. I’m grateful that I can really explore disability, and the political and cultural perspective that brings.”

O’Reilly describes herself as a person with a visual and physical disability, writing for disabled actors. It means she has avoided the tendency to use characters’ disabilities exclusively as plot devices, or disability being a metaphor for moral bankruptcy. “Disabled characters are often metaphors or tropes, representing very negative aspects of what it is to be human. So you’re evil personified, or you’re piteous or you’re helpless, or, since the 2012 Olympics, it’s gone the other way, we’re inspirational – ‘The extraordinary bodies, look what they can overcome…!’”

Read it all at TheGuardian.Com


We’ve written about TV writer Ethlie Ann Vare and her Affection Deficit Disorder blog before. Here’s Ethlie’s thoughtful look at the new version of A Star is Born and what it really says about life, love…and love addiction.

by Ethlie Ann Vare

Okay, it’s time to talk about A STAR IS BORN from the perspective of love addiction as well as substance addiction. I should start out with a spoiler warning: I am going to reveal the ending. So if you haven’t seen the mega hit movie with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga – or the 1937 version with Janet Gaynor and Frederick March, or the 1954 version with Judy Garland and James Mason, or the 1976 version with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson (they all have the same plot) – feel free not to read any further. I won’t be offended. You can bookmark this page and come back after you have seen it because, trust me, the pressure to see it will be extreme.

Why is this story so resonant and enduring? Film buffs generally claim the plot has repeated and repeated for a century because it’s a fable about the price of fame. (You may know that the original intellectual property was actually called “What Price Hollywood?”) I think the story endures because it is a pure love addict fantasy, and I do not approve. Every iteration of A STAR IS BORN risks creating a fresh generation of love addicts.

The first half of A STAR IS BORN is essentially a rom-com, because rom-coms are always about the beginning of relationships. The meet-cute. The all-things-are-possible phase. That’s the part love addicts are not only attracted to, but physically addicted to. That’s where the dopamine is. Dopamine is all about the intoxication of anticipation. The daily gave-and-take of actual relationship holds very little attraction for the love addict.  Most rom-coms end with a kiss and a proposal, rolling the credits before boring real life starts. Here, they flip the script from comedy to tragedy as a device to leave before the humdrum sets in.

Here is the story, in a nutshell: A seemingly ordinary girl is singled out by a powerful man who sees her for the beautiful and talented person she really is. (This falls under the official SLAA characteristic “a need to rescue or be rescued,” with a dash of the characteristic “we assign magical qualities to others.”) They fall in love instantly. (“We become sexually involved with and/or emotionally attached to people without knowing them.”) Sadly, he’s an addict/alcoholic and often treats her terribly, but their love endures (“We stay in and return to painful, destructive relationships”). Finally, he kills himself as a… let’s call it a grand gesture. Like filling her room with roses, except, you know, fatal.

This is your ideal romance…?

Read it all at Affection Deficit Disorder

South Africa’s OUTtv is Fighting the LBGT Fight

“Everything’s a battle” is a truism of the television industry, worldwide. Take this one, for example:

Why the gay-focused channel OUTtv on DStv will only be made available in South Africa and not the rest of Africa
by Thinus Ferreira

The gay-focused OUTtv channel will only be available in South Africa and nowhere else in Africa where organised opposition and resistance to the broadcast of “pro-gay” television content the past few years have landed Naspers’ MultiChoice pay-TV arm and channel distributors in hot water with the rest of the continent’s censorship board and regulators.

MultiChoice told TVwithThinus in response to a media enquiry asking why OUTtv will only be available to DStv Premium and DStv Compact Plus in South Africa specifically, that MultiChoice only cleared the content rights of the gay programming for this specific market.

OUTtv will run from 4 October to 4 November in South Africa as a month-long pop-up channel on channel 198 on DStv with content deemed too risque for the rest of Africa’s conservative audiences, especially Nigeria and Kenya as the continent’s second and third largest pay-TV markets after South Africa.

OUTtv will broadcast programming ranging from movies, drama, lifestyle, comedy, reality, music and travel shows that appeal to the LGBTQI+ community.

Titles on OUTtv will range from RuPaul’s Drag Race All StarsBig Freedia Queen of Bounce, Australian series like Deep Water and WentworthDegrassi: Next Generationand Hey Qween!, as well as OUTtv original series Knock Knock GhostSex &ampViolenceShadowlandsThe Boulet Brothers’ Dragula and Don’t Quit Your Gay Job.

MultiChoice was asked whether OUTtv will come with a general age restriction, like for instance 13PG, but the pay-TV operator says OUTtv is structured and programmed as a lifestyle channel and that the channel’s gay content won’t carry any overall age blocking in South Africa.

“There will be no channel age restriction. Any age restrictions will be programme specific,” on OUTtv says MultiChoice….

Read it all at teeveetee blog