Monday, October 10, 2005

Hey, I'm a Believer!

I am here to engage your mind and introduce you to various ideas related to the writing and making of ABC’s Alias. Today class, we will be focusing on one literary term that may shed some light on the unbelievable world of international espionage.

How is it that a television show like Alias, clad with jet-legged cross country flights, suited with government corruption, 15th century prophets and giant floating red balls, hasn’t been laughed off the TV screen? It’s called suspension of disbelief. Suspension of what, you say? Suspension of disbelief. According to my literary dictionary, suspension of disbelief is a willingness of a reader or viewer to suspend his or her critical faculties to the extent of ignoring minor inconsistencies so as to enjoy a work of fiction.

Suspension of disbelief is generally used to pass off low-budget "cheesy" props and occasional plotholes, in order to fully engage with an enjoyable story – which may be the more so for those additions to its inherent outrageousness. Alias counts on our suspension of disbelief. It is important that we believe that as black-op CIA agents, Sydney and the gang can do whatever, whenever, however they want. They have unlimited resources, knowledge and means; they can land an injured plane unscathed, they can destroy a big red ball, anyone and everyone can escape CIA custody with Jack's help, and they can fake death, cheat death and cause death with one or more of Marshall’s little next-gen inventions. Part of the wonder of Alias is being able to let go of all logical and rational thought and emerge ourselves in the bizarre and ultra-secret functions of a world that is unknown to us.

As viewers, we have to operate under the assumption that Sydney can and will find a cure for Vaughn’s bloody fingernails, or that Marshall will come through and find the grave before Sydney takes her last breath. We have come to beleive that SpyDaddy will stop at nothing to save his daughter’s life (even if it means killing her mother or faking her fiancés death.) The writers are depending on our ability to ignore reason and grasp the idea of Sydney maneuvering her way through the dark criminal underworld while carrying a child, and that whoever has been frozen (I am leaning toward Renee's father now) will thaw out and give APO a run for their money.

So, let us continue to suspend our disbelief; I have a feeling it will need to be stretched and skewed this season. Let us rely on what we do know about Alias; nothing is as it seems, there are dangers we can’t even begin to fathom and good always wins over evil, ultimately.

14 comments:

jenn256 said...

I totally get what you mean about suspending our own knowledge of reality. This was quite evident I think in the last episode when Syd, Weiss and Dixon flew a Stealth bomber to catch up to the plane Curtis was on, then docked with it in mid-air at 30,000 feet and baorded it without anyone's knowledge. I was even saying at the time, come on!! Yes, there have been quite a few of those moments, and yet here I am still watching fiver years later and participating in a blog about the show! There is a fine line between a far-fetched but great story and a cheesy one and I think Alias hits the nail on the head and gets it right every time.

By the way, I agree about Renee's dad. I had a pretty out there thought...since Renee is obviously French and we now know Vaughn is really French (Michoux), any chance they are possibly siblings? Vaughn never mentioned his family much. Maybe Irina didn't really kill Bill Vaughn, but helped him fake his death and helped put him in the freezer. Maybe he had a terminal illness and he and Irina found this freezer idea and put him in there until they could bring him back. This would explain why Irina didn't kill Vaughn at the end of last season, she wanted Vaughn to find the freezer and discover she never killed his dad. I need a life!!! :)

Kiki said...

It would make sense that Daddy Vaughn would know about ht crynogentics, as he did help crack the code. And it is possible his death was faked. And I think it is very possible the Vaughn and Renee are related. Go to www.alias-media.com they have pics for this week's episode. There is a pic of Syd, Tom and Renee reviving an old gray haired man, I presume the man in the box. Hmm, it made me think.

srg-alias said...

It really is quite something how Alias convinces us to believe the unbelievable...that people can be "doubled", brought back from the dead, etc. Something about Alias lets you accept that these crazy things could happen. I think it's a combination of excellent acting, great direction, music, and movie-like action sequences that lets you slip into the Alias world without feeling silly or that the story is cheesy. They make you believe that anything could happen and you happily accept that.

I think the idea that the man is Renee's dad is plausible, and also the idea that it's both of their dads, meaning that Renee and Vaughn are bro and sis.

jvpastor said...

Sorry to barge in here, I came across the site by accident. I am an avid Alias fan. I had never watched an episode until last season. After catching the first episode of season four I went out and picked up the first three seasons on dvd. It took awhile, but I finally got caught up by the end of last season. It is pretty crazy the way the show reinvents itself from season to season, however the suspension of belief is getting difficult for my wife. She is seriously doubting the whole butt kicking pregnant spy, but I am loyal and want to ride it out to the end.

I'm looking forward to learning more about the two new spies...

Kiki said...

Thanks for visiting JVPastor and tell your wife about suspension of disbelief. Tell her to hang in there. Be sure to stop by again!!

birdietwoshoes said...

Suspension of disbelief! Genius. And yeah, jenn256, I too was saying "Come on!" when the stealth docked with the other plane, yet I'm still a huge fan and willing to say, "Well, ok, maybe that could happen." for the sake of the show. Sometimes I need a break from reality (and reality shows!) to watch a great fictional show with suspense, drama and Syd kicking some butt! Entertainment at it's finest. And sure, you may have to stretch a bit, but that's why it's entertainment.

A thought came to me while reading what Jenn said about Renee and Michael being siblings. Any chance that Irina could be Renee's mother? Just a lingering thought...

jenn256 said...

I was thinking about that also. You know all of the possible theories of people having affairs and different mothers and fathers, etc. I'm quite sure Irina knew Renee's dad since she seems to know EVERYONE!! It's funny how we all keep coming back to the same notion that one of these characters can't possibly have the parents they think are their parents!

And yes with the suspension of disbelief, I was laughing at what you wrote "Birdietwoshoes". That is totally me, "how can that happen, that's ridiculous" and yet I am willing to keep watching and get more and more sucked in and LOVE IT! Like you said I am willing to suspend my beliefs, as this thread is appropriatley titled, because it's Alias and it's just so damn good!

steph_bristow said...

hey, acutally i didn't have a hard time with the whole pregnant chick kicking butt!! i loved it! i think it was totally in syd's character. she's not going to stand by and let the guys do all the work! granted most mothers to be wouldn't be risking their lives or their unborn child's lives, but then again, syd isn't like most mothers now, is she!

slingshot said...

you cheeky lil' bastard, its brilliant K...completely fabulous! Hands down this has to be the best site out there. Word has spread fast and will continue no doubt. Your blogs are amazing! Can't wait for the next one! What would we do with out Alias...I sure as hell have no idea!
"i'm 'ere, she's 'ere, we made it!"

srg-alias said...

lol slingshot, great quotes, that was such a great episode!
"bring four bottles and I'll tip you like you brought five, you know what I mean? You do don't you, you cheeky lil' bastard"
:D

slingshot said...

"ohmygod"

"I know, I've been waiting to do that for like 8 years..."

it is a great epie...love it!

Desiree said...

If and I mean BIG if Vaugh and Renee are siblings and IF Irina is Renee's mother that would make Vaugh and Sydney half siblings and that would be really gross. Do I have that right?

jenn256 said...

I don;t think Irina would be Vaughn and Renee's mom, that would mean she was everyone's mom on the show except Marshall. I do think it's possible they have the same dad though. Maybe before Bill Vaughn changed his name he had an affair with Renee's mom???

amy said...

my favorite suspension of disbelief category is that of the fact that they can fly around the world in hours...i love that they have never tried to make that believeable but it is just one of the things that the fans accept (: