Welcome back to 🎉 Fav Scene Friday 🎉 where I spend a lot of time on a little clip that I can’t stop watching. This week I’m still freaking out over my new favorite show “Search Party”, specifically that scene in pilot where Dory screams at Drew to “shut the fuck up!” in the middle of a street. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can check it out on the link below ∇∇∇
(There was no clip of this scene, or really any scene, so I had to record it on my iPhone in a mini tripod and air drop it to my laptop. Why didn’t you just upload it to YouTube like a normal person? Well, I got really nervous that it would get reported and then the channel for my web series ((double parenthesis, still had to link it)) would be connected to an account that uploaded stolen content and then I was like okay I’ll just upload the file directly to the post- but then I didn’t have a premium subscription or $200 so I had to link it to my google drive. I still feel kind of bad but it’s in the name of TV science and I bought the entire season on iTunes so I could watch it without internet. You can watch it for free here.)
Okay, first off, how cool is it that the scene is all one take? As I was watching the series, I started to notice how long they’d linger in a certain scene or camera angle and I think it’s a brilliant visual choice that draws the reader in. On a purely literal level, since the whole conversation takes place while walking, the frame is pushed forward only when Dory tries to plow ahead, and in front of Drew. It swivels or pivots back to catch him as he stops in the street- pulling back Dory with him. You can see her increasing frustration each time as she feels stuck in this situation she can’t escape. Especially in this scene, that camera work helps to subconsciously identify Dory as the “protagonist” of this argument even though (and especially because) she ends up screaming, in infuriated astonishment, “shut the fuck up” so many times. This whole episode introduces the audience to Dory’s emotional spectrum very quickly and I think the writing and camerawork make an effective effort to emotionally and visually connect her to the audience which is a necessity in having us follow her along on the case of Chantal.
Second, god I just love John Reynolds. I was either going to post this scene or the other fantastic pilot scene where his neighbor April screams at him in the hallway. I love that he gets screamed at twice in two episodes and both times the slow-reacting shock and choice to be more bewildered and embarrassed than inflamed is both hilarious and highly telling of his character for the rest of the series.
One of my favorite things about “Search Party” is their ability to take the structure of a crime-centered/mystery series and fill it in with such outrageous shifts of tone. This scene was a highlight for me in the pilot, especially, because it established the intensity these scenes could suddenly reach. Drew doesn’t escalate it or treat Dory’s reaction normally, but it’s only referred to one more time before being forgotten. It follows the logic that any story has to have set “rules” in the world and anything not assumed by every-day life should be introduced as quickly as possible. If the stakes in the show weren’t raised in the beginning, the dramatic twists this show would take might seem to come to out of the blue, or expose a conflicting style. This scene is so, so, so funny to me- and Alia Shawkat does such a wonderful job of compounding the exhaustion and stress and self-doubt from previous moments and unleashing them all with a specific wrath- but the writers and crew also created a very important scene that lays groundwork for more meltdowns to comes while orienting the audience to the lead’s conflicted internal life.
Also, shout out to the Easter egg at the end. The guy recording Drew is one of the series creators, Charles Rogers (SVB can be spotted a few scene before on the train next to Dory). I don’t know if you would have guessed it, but I love that stuff.