16 March 2013

The Doctor Diaries II.10: "Love and Monsters"

On Narrative Frames

Nah. Nope. Lame. Dumb. Boo.

But anyway, I guess I can still write about NARRATIVE FRAME. That's about all I enjoyed in this episode. The Narrative Frame or Frame Story is the story-around-the-story; the framing device; who tells the story, when, etc. Framing devices are very popular in both written fiction and TV/movies. They occur whenever the story or its chronology is put at least one remove from the reader/viewer. It might be told in the form of letters or diary entries. It might be a dream sequence. These methods were very popular in the 18th and 19th century, especially in novels, especially in those written by women. Here are some examples:
- Frankenstein is a lovely nested form of three narratives within one another. The interior story is the "Monster" speaking to Victor Frankenstein, telling of his own waking, education, and experiences. The story outside that is Victor Frankenstein talking to a ship's captain, Robert Walton, narrating his childhood, education, making of the creature, and subsequent disasters. The outside layer is a series of letters (into which everything else is transcribed) by Robert Walton to his sister.
- Wuthering Heights is told in the form of a narrative by Heathcliff's tenant, Mr. Lockwood, as told to him by Nellie, the housekeeper of Wuthering Heights.
- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is also in the form of letters to a friend, and then inside these letters the narrator transcribes the whole of someone else's diary so that we get her story in her own words.

So, this episode has a clever framing device: the whole story is told by a minor character who filmed the whole thing on his home video camera. He gets to choose the time sequence, then, and the perspective. Nice idea.

But that's it. It was a really dumb episode otherwise.

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