The Gray Area Season 2
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Inside the Gray Area; “The First Illusion”

July 28, 2020

Writer and showrunner Edward Champion continues with his thoughts on “Paths Not Taken.” In this installment, he discusses theoretical plumbing, the problems with the royal we, what “the first illusion” may be, the 1994 flashback, his surprise during the casting at the enthusiasm of teen actors (and their parents) for candid dialogue, the incredible combination of Emma Smuyla and Nat Kane, why he went all the way to Vermont to record some of this episode, the unexpected joys of writing teen dialogue, why it's vital to show behavioral patterns over the course of a character's lifetime in art, Madonna and David Letterman, the important connection between queer representation and feminism, how the timing of the Letterman appearance inspired a plot twist, what it was like to try and purchase Madonna's Sex book in the early '90s, how same sex unions have completely altered in the last two decades, Obama's early opposition to gay marriage, Ellen Klages's “Time Gypsy,” Octavia Butler's Kindred, the problems with time travel stories, well-intentioned writers who pay mere lip service to changing norms and subcultural realities, why the terrific M.J. Cogburn was cast as the mother, our failure to discuss how childhood abuses transform into adulthood debilitation, why radio interference was incorporated in the sound design, more on his research into queer culture, vodka vs. gin martinis, Antonioni's The Passenger, the malleability of identity, why January is a vital theme for the full “Paths” story arc, why cold pizza is a strangely apposite breakfast, dates and palindromes, how the perception of time can be packaged into other sensory perceptions, why Patricia Highsmith is a significantly understimated writer, Todd Haynes's Carol and its slightly ambiguous ending, relationships and fatalism, aspects of a relationship that we fail to dramatize, the translator Anthea Bell, Stefan Zweig, how Beware of Pity influenced the story, how bowls and kitchen utensils resulted in ethereal sound effects, the Star Trek transporter sound effect, why the “Lane in Paris” reference is important, dating apps as a surrogate for Biff's sports almanac in Back to the Future, why it's important to have characters who deliberate over morally sketchy decisions, how the real-life Brill Building inspired the fictitious Brillstein Building, his efforts to push back against gender disparity and patriarchal stories by taking the time to dramatize women getting ready for work, breaking cliches in time travel stories, the Virginia Gaskell connection, why Jack Ward is a magnificent force for good, honoring other artists who have inspired me by casting them in this narrative, the real-life origins of the Savoy and Henrietta's, Rock Hudson Sundays, how James Joyce honored Dublin by including real-life locations, why Alicia occasionally speaks in funny voices, why our lifetime relationships are often forged before the age of twenty-two, where some of the slang came from, how Alicia's love monologue made many early listeners cry, Yelp, and why the Receptionist is an important figure and why nobody but Zack Glassman can play him. (Running time: 28 minutes, 20 seconds)

 

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