Sunday, April 25, 2010

Peep Show and In the Cut

I've been rewatching the BBC comedy Peep Show (watch), and it occurs to me that as over-the-top as it's internal monologe voiceovers are, they also can be horrifically accurate representations of what it's like to be male.

Peep Show has a POV camera style which puts you inside the heads of it's hapless male leads as they try to cope with the baffling loveliness and irresistible irrationality of the females in their world. I think most guys would have to admit at any given moment our perspective in dealing with the opposite sex hovers somewhere between the helpless, desperate cluelessness of David Mitchell's Mark (left) and the unearned self-confidence, entitlement and essential cluelessness of Robert Webb's Jeremy. These two characters come to represent in miniature the duality of the male psyche in our dealings women, like a highly reductive, extra-horny version of the cast of characters in The Brothers Karamazov (or "Herman's Head", LOL).
Appropriately reductive, I should say, as the show seems to stick to portraying the diminished, distinctively male mindset mostly experienced when badly needed brain blood is occupied elsewhere. There is a wincingly familiar moment that occurs in the third act of most the episodes where either Mark surveys his abject romantic failure and says to himself "You. Fucking. Idiot.", or Jeremy appraises his unfounded, inexplicable romantic success and says to himself "You fucking bastard."

On the other side of the chromosomal scale, my friend Lilah recently showed me Jane Campions' (In the Cut (watch)), the romantic thriller starring Meg Ryan. While I can't declare that In the Cut was a complete success as a film, it did seem to me to be perfectly successful in transporting you into the female mind. The difference between this movie and most other serial-killer thrillers is analogous to the difference between mainstream Silicon Valley grindhouse porn and the soft-focus story driven lesbian variety they make for women. Everything here: the over-saturated colors, the disconcerting sound design, the grotesque and lyrical images seem designed to conjure a particular sensuous and hormonal female mindstate. From our heroine's perspective, all of New York, all the people and things in her world are imbued with Eros and muted, strangely alluring menace. Blood, murder, sex and romance swirl around her in the thick sweaty air of a Summer in the city. Even the way the film is plotted seems to transmit a feminine sensibility, eschewing the linear, implicitly masculine thrust of the average thriller's plot development for a languorous, organic pace more attuned to our main character's indecisive, overheated state. Oh yeah, and it has some hot, hot sex, which I think is something that we can all appreciate no matter our gender perspective.

No comments:

Post a Comment