In 400 words, describe and analyse a short sequence of no more than 3 minutes from a film or television programme of your choice. How does the sequence contribute to the overall meaning of the work it is a part of?
Mr Robot (USA Network, 2015-Present) arguably presents an archetype of masculinity in crisis following shows such as The Sopranos (HBO, 1999-2007), Dexter (Showtime, 2006-2013) and Breaking Bad (AMC, 2008-2013) which signified a shift away from the popularised portrayal of the metrosexual male, which what Simpson has argued as being “a commodity fetishist: a collector of fantasies about the male sold to him by advertising.” (marksimpson.com, Online)
However, the ways of which the protagonist Elliot is presented provides not only an insight into the ways of which masculinity has shifted from a subverted male gaze but to one of vulnerability, embodied by capitalistic ideology. In particular, the scene in which Elliot explicitly explains how modern society annoys him to his therapist (‘eps.1.0_hellofriend.mov’, 2015) epitomises how vulnerability, specifically through the aspects of mental illness, is depicted through a masculine lens as the show progresses. Throughout the scene Elliot deconstructs how society has regressed to a desensitised, paralyzed state due to the ways of which those who “[hold] the means of material production” use the “control...of the means of mental production”. (Marx Engels Archive, Online) Depicting icons such as Steve Jobs and Bill Cosby in a negative light, Elliot essentially adopts the persona of John Nada from Carpenter’s They Live (1988), metaphorically unveiling the monstrous repercussions of consumerist ideology in modern society.
Although while Nada is presented as a stereotypically masculine heroic figure, one which attacks the monsters of modern consumerist society head on, Elliot projects the means of which he is trapped by. Commenting on how society ‘masquerades insight’ through the means of social media, Elliot inadvertently presents how he applies the same ‘cowardly’ approach to his own mental psyche. This thematic of isolation is inherent to Elliot’s character as the show progresses and it shows much of what shows such as The Sopranos, Dexter and Breaking Bad attempt to create through their representations of masculinity.
The ways of which mental illness and vulnerability are presented through Elliot’s characterisation owes very much so to the portrayal of an encumbering consumerist driven society in comparison, one which rejects the heroic capabilities which Elliot seeks to employ and instead replaces them with dissociative identity disorder through the way which Elliot addresses the audience by breaking the fourth wall instead of having the freedom which Nada has in They Live. Disregarding masculine vulnerability and projecting a heavily authoritative driven masculinity, Nada’s character arguably presents a polarised opposite to that of Elliot, one which is troubled and isolated by the perceived inflictions which consumerism has had on his mental well-being.
Breaking Bad (2008-2013) AMC, January 20 (2008) - September 29 (2013).
Dexter (2006-2013) Showtime, October 1 (2006) - September 22 (2013).
‘Eps.1.0_hellofriend.mov’ (2015) Mr Robot, Season 1, Episode 1, USA Network, 24 June.
Marx Engels Archive (no date) The German Ideology Available at: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01b.htm (Last Accessed: 20/04/2017).
Mr Robot (2015-Present) USA Network, June 24 (2015) - Present.
Simpson, Mark (no date) Here Come the Mirror Men: Why The Future is Metrosexual Available at: http://www.marksimpson.com/here-come-the-mirror-men/ (Last Accessed: 22/04/2017).
They Live (1988) Directed by John Carpenter [Film] USA: Universal Pictures.
The Sopranos (1999-2007) HBO, January 10 (1999) - June 10 (2007).