Belief in the “Suspension of Disbelief”
Dinner? Check. Fluffy couch? Check. TV on? Check. Preparing my nightly routine of eating my dinner while purveying the latest television gold, I began to percolate with ideas for this week’s blog entry. While I hemmed and hawed and weighed my options I haphazardly scrolled through the channels unaware that my topic was right in front of me. As I stopped to watch 30 seconds of this and 2 minutes of that I noticed an emerging theme; all of my new television faves and some of my oldies were fundamentally built around the idea of a fourth wall voice over; that narrator from the sky hinting and illuminating what is to come.
True Tori on Lifetime, while overly dramatic at times, well most of the time (Shhh! Don’t tell Donna Martin I said that), it does always have special insight from an anonymous narrator over-dubbing many of the characters’ dialogue.
NBC’s new smash hit A to Z is narrated beautifully by Married with Children’s star Katey Sagal. The interesting factor in the way this show decided to showcase the stellar pipes of this TV royal is that her narration is completely 4th wall integrated and not at all engrossed in the goings-on of the actual characters. Her function is to guide the viewer through the tangled web of the main character’s love story over a period of eight months.
Perhaps one of the most current and beloved shows of the last decade that integrated this type of narration is CBS’s wildly acclaimed sitcom How I Met your Mother, known to its millions of twitter followers as #HIMYM. With a vivid and detailed account of each milestone, the main character Ted (Josh Radnor) weaved a tale sprinkled with both love and a heavy dose of cynicism, all the while captivating audiences through nine seasons, right down to the very last line of the show (aptly 4th wall narrated as always): “And that, kids, is how I met your mother”.
Spent from my “suspension of disbelief” I recommend to all the bad boys of voice over out there a few more shows that might appeal to your penchant for breaking the fourth wall: Netflix original House of Cards is deliciously evil and its use of the fourth wall makes the viewer privy to what seems like secrets told to us in the strictest of confidence. Lastly, America’s number one-rated television sitcom, ABC’s Modern Family, boldly goes where no show has gone before, and no I don’t mean into Cam’s closet…instead they stare directly at the viewer unapologetically scoffing at what seems to be the mayhem ensuing behind them. Pure genius!
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