Amy Stern (bigbrotherreads) wrote,
Amy Stern
bigbrotherreads

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Chapters 2 and 3

Chapter 2

"Prim, let go," I say harshly, because thsi is upsetting me and I don't want to cry. When they televise the replay of the reapings tonight, everyone will make note oef my tears, and I'll be marked as an easy target. A weakling. I will give no one that satisfaction. (23)

Pre-show (maybe pre-show will be a category of its own?) there's a limited amount of information the audience can use to evaluate its prey the contestants. Pre-show information usually includes a brief video interview with each, a list of their favorite things, and a photograph of them doing their best to look appealing- or, at the very least, to appeal to the demographic they're targeted to appeal to. (This will come up later with the flames costumes.) A character who looks like they cry a lot is tainted forever as someone who can't handle it, and often they're held up (by the audience if not the show) as someone who can't handle it and should have given their spot to someone who could. (Kathy's posts on SurvivorSucks could be pretty helpful here, I think.)

Chapter 3

I cannot afford to get upset, to leave the room with puffy eyes and a red nose. Crying is not an option. There will be more cameras at the train station. (34)

More of the above. I'm also thinking about things that are done, successfully or not, to avoid emotional moments being caught camera, and whether or not it works. There's also the question of whether someone's considered a better character if they do or don't show emotion, as well as deciding POV for "better character"- according to producers, or to the person playing the part?

"Maybe [...if I win...] we'd be as rich as Haymitch." (26)

The prize for a reality show being monetary improvement should be self-explanatory.

"I don't even know if there'll be wood," I say. Another year, they tossed everybody into a landscape of nothing bu boulders and sand and scruffy bushes. I particularly hated that year. Many contestants were bitten by venomous snakes or went insane from thirst.

"There's almost always wood," Gale says. "Since that year half of them died of cold. Not much entertainment in that."

It's true. We spent one Hunger Games watching the players freeze to death at night. You could hardly see them because they were just huddled in balls and had no wood for fires or torches or anything. It was considered very anti-climactic in the Capitol, all those quiet, bloodless deaths. Since then, there's usually been wood to make fires. (39)

Survivor: Africa (the first one) was considered disastrous because people almost died of dehydration. Audiences don't want to see people with actual problems, they want to see backstabbing. And front-stabbing, really, if the opportunity arises.

I immediately wonder if this will be his strategy in the Games. To appear weak and frightened, to reassure the other tributes that he is no competition at all, and then come out fighting. This worked very well for a girl, Johanna Mason, from District 7 a few years ago. She seemed like such a sniveling, cowardly fool that no one bothered about her until there were only a handful of contestants left. It turned out she could kill viciously. Pretty clever, the way she played it. (40-41)

Or, as we like to call it in these parts, Playing Will Kirby.

We go to another compartment to watch the recap of the reapings across Panem. They try to stagger them throughout the day so a person could conceivably watch the whole thing live, but only people in the Capitol could really do that, since none of them have to attend reapings themselves.

One by one, we see the other reapings, the names called, the volunteers stepping forward or, more often, not. We examine the faces of the kids who will be our competition. A few stand out in my mind. A monstrous boy who lunges forward to volunteer from District 2. A fox-faced girl with sleek red hair from District 5. A boy with a crippled foot from District 10. And, most hauntingly, a twelve-year-old girl from District 11. She has dark brown skin and eyes, but other than that, she's very like Prim in size and demeanor. Only when she mounts the stage and they ask for volunteers, all you can hear is the wind whistling through the decrepit buildings around her. There's no one willing to take her place.

Last of all, they show District 12. Prim being called, me running forward to volunteer. You can't miss the desperation in my voice as I shove Prim behind me, as if I'm afraid no one will hear and they'll take Prim away. But, of course, they do hear. I see Gale pulling her off me and watch myself mount the stage. The commentators are not sure what to say about the crowd's refusal to applaud. The silent salute. One says taht District 12 has always ben a bit backward but that local customs can be charming. As if on cue, Haymitch falls off the stage, and they groan comically. Peeta's name is drawn, and he quietly takes his place. We shake hands. They cut to the anthem again, and the program ends.

Effie Trinket is disgruntled about the state her wig was in. "Your mentor has a lot to learn about presentation. A lot about televised behavior." (45-46)

So much to unpack in four paragraphs.

Watching each others' reapings is fascinating to me; I haven't seen shows that do that, but then, I don't watch American Idol. (Maybe I should start? I can quote Big Brother chapter and verse; it's not like there's a lower place.) Having just a few stand out is clearly, in the writing, so that there don't need to be 24 distinct characters, but it's also helpful because- come on. As an audience member, you're not going to remember everyone. It takes me about a month of Big Brother to figure out everyone's name, and I'm watching them 24/7. Tonight is the ninth episode of this season of Survivor, and I still can't name all of the castaways. Etc. There are always a few larger-than-life characters (Santino! Todd! etc.), and the rest slowly come out over the course of the season. Or, in this case, the course of the Games.

The last line: "Your mentor has a lot to learn about presentation. A lot about televised behavior." OH THIS IS EXCELLENT ON LEVELS. Starting with the fact that- dude, yeah. He was part of the games. The way he acted on camera whenever he participated was what let him be the one out of 24 still standing. Presumably, he knows more about behavior when you're about to be Kaysared killed by your opponents than Effie does, the same way Richard Hatch can in some ways explain Survivor better than Jeff Probst can. Also, the idea that for a "real"/unscripted show, the important thing is presentation and televised behavior? Yeah, that's true, and honestly, could be an entire subtopic of its own.

(I think the best way to discuss this one would be using all-star seasons, specifically BB7 and Survivor8, both of which have people who know how they were edited, know how they WILL be edited, know what questions are asked for what reason, and essentially are there to produce a show.)


In my head, it made more sense to go through as much of the book as possible with post-it notes and just identify all the passages I wanted. It's going to take a while to get all of these typed up.

Also, new default icon! Because... spool of lies. That's the dumbest FAKE answer I've ever heard.

(I get that I'm pretty much in an echo chamber with these references, but if I'm going to be in an echo chamber anyway, I might as well make it an entertaining one.)
Tags: hunger games: chapter 2, hunger games: chapter 3, hunger games: part 1, reality: alumni, reality: performativity, reality: pre-show
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