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Analyse the opening sequence of desperate housewives - Essay Example

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The main function of a title sequence is to convey to the audience the subject and the salient moods in the feature that will follow. The opening sequence of Desperate Housewives does this to perfection: the dark comedy, latent feminism and all the kinks in matrimonial bliss that mark this series, come across in the forty-second animation…
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Analyse the opening sequence of desperate housewives

Download file to see previous pages... The pop-up format is reminiscent of childish cartoons, with sudden swerves and changes in viewpoint. It serves the dual purpose of maintaing a pretend childlike environment, where serious syntagms and paradigms are displayed under the cloak of lighthearted comedy and of speedily moving the viewer from one realm of intertextuality to another.The undercurrent of dark humor flows through the entire sequence, mainly through the subversion of iconic signs in order to show unusual meanings that invoke surprise and incongruity, and hence laughter.
The sequence opens with the iconic images of Adam and Eve at the very moment of temptation.In the original painting, Lucas Cranach the Elder, known for some of the most explicit nudes in the history of art, uniquely captures the instant of original sin in the salacious expression of Eve. She is not seen here as the traditionally naive primal woman, but one fully aware of her sexual prowess, hence becoming a coded sign for woman as the femme fatale.
"....... the color "red" implies different things. .....If a woman wears a red dress, or a man wears a red armband, it means something different. So red in western culture means usually danger, hot, sexy.....". ( Yildiz, 2002)
The moment

The moment gains a new meaning when the animated Adam, instead of eating the proverbial apple, is promptly squashed by a car-sized, shining red apple that falls on him. Despite being farcical at the denotation level, the falling of the apple becomes a symbol of female power within the bounds of the sequence. It is a power not yet understood by the iconic woman Eve, who is still holding her proffered apple, but nonetheless lethal.

The next pop-upshows the painting of a hapless Egyptian lady of rank, who is overwhelmed by a flood of children, and drowns in the process.This is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the various goddesses of fertility, who were invariably connected with the yearly flooding of the river Nile as this was what gave Egypt its fertility.Fertility for an Egyptian woman was as important as that of the land, and despite possessing equal regal rights as men, women were only considered as successful as the number of children they could produce. As Caroline Seawright says about ancient Egyptian sexuality,
"To the ancient Egyptians, the most attractive women tended to be the fertile ones. A women who had children was seen to be more fortunate than ones without... In the Egyptian community, men had to prove their masculinity by fathering children, while the women had to be able to bear these sons and daughters. Being a mother meant being able to keep her marriage secure and to gain a better position in society." (Seawright, 2001)

The animation sequence takes this Egyptian way of living and turns it on its head, attributing on a symbol of fertility a completely different meaning by showing the cause of a woman's misery or downfall to be her children! This is a comic, modern take on the pains of motherhood never openly spoken of in our society.It is clearly seen in Lynette's character played in the series by Felicity Huffman whose name ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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