Exposition! - Macleans.ca

Exposition!

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Preliminary thought after watching act 1 of 90210 (I’ll finish the rest very soon and talk about it tomorrow): nothing has really changed when it comes to the ancient art of clunky exposition, has it? The first scene consisted primarily of the characters telling each other things they already know — they moved to Beverly Hills to be with Grandma, Dad’s the principal — just so we would hear it. It reminded me of that scene from The Simpsons:

Homer: I’m just reminding everyone; after all, we did promise to attend his self-help seminar.

Bart: What an odd thing to say.

Understand, I’m not knocking the writers for having the characters tell each other things they already know; it’s implausible, but delivering exposition in a plausible way often wastes too much time or makes the early scenes confusing (because we haven’t gotten all the background information up-front). It just kind of struck me as interesting, because I’d sort of gotten it into my head that writers today try to avoid that kind of exposition, or make it more subtle, and here we have a show that begins with that old stand-by: characters talking about stuff at the end of a car trip that they probably wouldn’t have even said at the beginning.

Also, between the line “family first,” Jessica Walter, and the wacky flashback to Shenae Grimes doing The Pirates of Penzance, the first act felt a lot closer to Arrested Development than they probably intended. Though they didn’t have Ron Howard delivering the exposition.

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