I may be too optimistic about the Archive 81 adaptation at least in this one regard, but i’m not really jumping to negative conclusions from the vague statement that a “dark, deeply emotional romance” is at the core of the show--in many ways, I already see it that way. thoughts on a81 as a romance under the cut
To me, the vague info we have isn't enough to conclude they’ve completely rewritten Melody and Dan as romantic interests, at least not in a conventional sense. I've seen some upset reactions suggesting this, so I think some may be assuming the worst, but I'm not quite there yet. tbf...Melody already is Dan's love interest, at least in s1! By which I mean she is the name and voice onto which he projects his desire for human connection. (he does the same thing in s2 with clara. it's a thing he does.) Quite honestly, I did see the source material as a “romance,” in the dark and dysfunctional sense of a romance as consumption—dan consuming and being consumed by the tapes, developing a one-sided relationship with the melody he invented in his head because hers was the only voice he had for so long at his loneliest and darkest time. because she was the only one who could possibly understand what he was going through. because he was vicariously experiencing her life through the tapes--to him, it felt like they shared experiences, although in reality he was only a passive witness...at least at first. (and this is really interesting to me--it's like the whole blue velvet conundrum, "i don't know if you're a detective or a pervert." are you solving an archival mystery, dan, or are you just a voyeur getting way in over your head and inventing intimacy where none exists? can we have a relationship with someone we "know" through documents without being known in return? what does that look like, what does that mean? what is the role of an archive and an archivist, what are their relationships to subjects, how do documents form narratives?)
season 1 was a romance on multiple levels—between Melody and Alexa, and also about people like Melody and Dan who can’t stop listening and poking and prodding at something until it’s eaten them alive. also like…marc is a producer on the show and it's his material that includes gay characters in prominent roles in every season so. Just sort of hard for me to imagine taking archive 81 of all things and turning it into a milquetoast straight love story, because it's so...it's such a weird thing, honestly still in shock it's even being adapted for TV. It feels like one of the last things you'd even want to add visuals to because so much of what it's about is sound and noise and the weird scrappy writing that swings wildly at every pitch, misses a lot of them, keeps swinging anyway with greater vigor. It's actively worse and less interesting by leagues to turn it into a played-straight romance between Melody and Dan rather than Dan developing a disturbed parasocial relationship with the voice of a woman who is narrating him past the point of no return while she herself ventures deeper and deeper into something she will never really escape ever again. (And then manages to build a life like that with her wife anyway.) Then again, this is television, so maybe worse and less interesting is the goal...but then I have to think there are easier stories to adapt than this one. 🥴
The romance is Dan and the tapes, Melody and the Visser mystery, people and the inexorable pull of knowing things we are not meant to know even if it kills us or, as is often the case in a81, irrevocably alters us. That's the story I hope they're interested in telling.
I think this is why season one was really peak for me. I wouldn't necessarily make the romance genre claim for other seasons, but for this one I would. (In the vein of calling House of Leaves a romance.) Then again, it's Netflix, so I'm prepared to eat these words--it's possible they'll try to shoehorn in a conventional romance to draw in viewers who otherwise might look at the premise and source material and go, what the fuck is happening here? Which of course detracts from what a81 has going for it, which is swinging and missing and swinging again in an off-the-beaten-path medium without the rigidly enforced genre and plot limitations of television where listeners know what they're getting is a labor of love, something weird and silly and rough around the edges and always changing. I'll watch more out of morbid curiosity to see if I can understand how and why and what is gained/lost when an audio story like this is adapted...even though at the end of the day, for me, the joy of a81 was really the exuberance of the storytelling and witnessing mr. dan powell's obsession with sounds and odd noises...a love letter to sound indeed.
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Oh yeah!! I got my trade mentor certification 🥰
I've been holding off posting my classes because I want to wait for my one year anniversary in game to see my progress but, !!!
know I am getting so close to maxing everything!!
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