Anything interesting to say about annabelle cane?
Annabelle Cane has, by default, ended up as one of the most complex, layered, and interesting characters in the narrative--and I am pretty sure it was done completely by accident by the writer.
Now, why do I say this? Because, TMA is a story that from the very start invests in the theme of, well, the passage and preservation of information. Then, it makes Annabelle specifically the single character who has taken charge of how every single piece of information we get in the podcast is edited and framed.
And specifically, it is Annabelle, the individual, who edits and frames the show. Not the Web working through her. Why do I know this? Because when she is referring to herself as merely a part of the Web in the statement she writes in MAG 196, she uses "we"--
An opening into, we believe, other worlds than this tired old thing.
It was not wide enough to allow true passage, not yet, save for the odd accident. But it was wide enough for what we now intended…
--But when she talks about the decision to use tape recorders as opposed to a TV show, she uses "I."
Oh. Wonderful. I can’t wait to attend the Annabelle Cane Show.
Huh! You know, I did consider it once.
A TV show.
So Annabelle is--herself, as an individual--responsible for the medium through which we hear the story, and thus implicitly responsible for choosing what information gets kept and what information gets thrown out. This means that, although Annabelle only directly appears in a few episodes, we can read her schemes, aesthetic, and preferences into every single episode and every single cut.
For example--Melanie talks about multiple people telling her to "be fair to Jon." Logically speaking, she probably isn't lying or projecting. Martin, Daisy, Basira, and Georgie would likely have taken this stance against her at different points. Georgie canonically spoke up in Jon's favor to Melanie offscreen in the beginning, Basira was supportive to Jon's in s3, Daisy was supportive to Jon in s4, and Martin is Martin.
But we don't hear anyone say this to Melanie. Which means that Annabelle deliberately left out every single conversation where this happened.
Why? There are a lot of different possible answers--maybe because Jon listens to all the tapes, and Annabelle wanted to give him a certain perspective on his companions. Maybe because she's simply decided those conversations are unnecessary. But whatever the answer it is, it is about Annabelle and her specific choices/values/preferences.
That choice may very well be about manipulating the narrative Jon gets, how he sees the world around him--but if you look closely,not every choice is about that.
Another example: the s3 and s4 finales are clearly edited and spliced together from multiple tapes. Annabelle could have just recorded from multiple sets of tapes and then had them play one after another. But instead, scenes from entirely different locations are spliced together back to back. I can't think of a practical reason to do this, but I can think of artistic reasons. Annabelle doesn't just edit based on necessity and manipulation, it seems. She takes the material and cuts and puts parts of it together purely for the aesthetic value of it.
Annabelle is thus implicitly in every single episode of the show. Her taste and her choices are the very lens through which all of the information in the show is presented to us. Everything from three of Jon's stalking victims not being caught on tape before Jess Tyrell, to the tape recorders turning on and then off specifically to catch Jon saying fuck--it's her. It's all her.
And you know, there is a kind of poignancy to that. Annabelle, as I noticed in a previous post of mine, is utterly self effacing in her goals. She doesn't care if she lives or dies by Jon's hand. Only the continued survival of the Web matters. So Annabelle is a charming, funny, intensely creative, and highly theatrical woman whose individuality is deliberately disregarded. She interacts with almost no one over the course of a story that she's directing, seems to have no desires that are about herself, and no one ever expresses curiosity about her as an individual. But we see her individuality in her work. Her retro aesthetic, her sense of humor, her keen eye for manipulation and shaping a narrative.
I keep having an image of her sitting alone at Hill Top Road, splicing together tape after tape, cutting and listening and then cutting again. Indulging herself by leaving in those little moments of humor or drama or switching things on just to hear Jon swearing. Because she doesn't get to express her individuality any other way.
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I just wanted to say that the 2nd season of Never Have I Ever tackled SO MANY issues these days.
As a South Asian woman in STEM, I sympathized with Kamala’s situation so much! Dealing with asshole labmates and struggling to get credit for your work, even when people want to discredit you. That scene where she left and smashed the beaker was AMAZING
I love that Devi was still going to therapy and talking through her issues, especially at school. That was so important to see.
It was so REFRESHING to see an Asian student (Paxton) struggling in school and trying his best to succeed. It’s so good to see the Asian dude as the hot/popular jock (that table scene, I swear, it was SO HOT). Also, his story line about his Japanese grandfather at the internment camps in WW2 made me cry. So powerful.
Finally, I wanted to talk about Aneesa. As a Muslim, I’m SO HAPPY we got legit representation without the classic “oppressed teenager stereotype”. She’s funny and witty, but also has flaws and she’s human. She plays soccer and talking about her eating disorder was so important too.
Like, I can’t stress this enough. This type of representation is so damn important and I wish I had it when I was younger.
To finish, here’s a line that’ll stay with me for a while
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