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November 19, 2014 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-11-19

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6A - Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

The sty le of'AHS'

'Who'a depressing end

Fashion propels
Jessica Lange's
femme fatale
By CATHERINE SULPIZIO
Daily Arts Writer
There is a reason Jessica
Lange is one of the most popular
characters on "American Horror
Story" every season. She plays
the femme fatale in a sea of
forgettable female TV personas,
the unapologetic villainess who
makes being bad look damngood.
Of course, Lange's brand of
fashion has always had a tenuous
history with female politics. In the.
June 9, 1909 edition of the New
York Times, a headline blared
"NEW WOMAN A FREAK, SAYS
BISHOP DOANE." In the byline,
it continued "One Who Strives for
Man's Work a Horrible, Misshapen
Monster." The titillating headline
referred to a Bishop's ill-advised
graduation speech at an all girls
school in New York, where
he railed against the growing
suffragette movement.
The New Woman of his speech
was an entirely new cut of female;
in an 1895 edition of Home Chat,
a women's magazine, a satirical
poem wrote: "Who rides a cycle
round the town, in costume
making all men frown, and
otherwise acts like a clown? New
Woman."
The Bishop didn't subscribe
to Home Chat (he probably
inherited his institutional sexism
from his employer), but what both
narratives have in common is their
alignment of the New Woman as
a "freak," or "a clown." In their
complete forms, both yoke the
New Woman's fashion to their
indictment; after all, she cut her
hair short, wore bloomers to bike
ride and abandoned the fussy
volume ofVictoriansilhouettes.
Fashion continues to carry this
gendered baggage. Damned if you
have an interest in it and damned if
you don't - just look at how critics
treat Hillary Clinton's unfussy
style. The label of deformity
applied to genderless fashion
signals that to be a strong female is
to be estranged from society.
Which is exactly why the
mutable femme fatale embraces

She's going to break your heart in two ... it's true.

this label. After all, it is harder
to police the outsider than the
member of society who has
swallowed the status quo. The
femme fatale wears strangeness
on her sleeve: she is sexual then
asexual, wearing prickly tweed or
silk that glistens like liquid on her
skin.
If Lange's past characters paid
whispered tributes to the femme
fatale, Elsa uproots the lady of
noir' from her restrained Hays
Code heyday and thoroughly
modernizes her. Elsa is a former
dominatrix, sexual assault victim
turned abuser, aspiring singer,
circus ringleader - Elsa accepts
with relish the "complicated" label
TV critics love.
And all of it is reflected in her
style, which uses strange fabrics
and colors, and doubles back on
earlier eras. Take the powder blue
suit Elsa wears when she performs
David Bowie's "Life on Mars."
As costume designer Lou Eyrich
noted, "We fashioned it after a'40s
suit, but atake off of the blue suit
that David Bowie wore. So, it's a
'40s version of a '70s suit." But the
suit isn't just anachronistic, it's
distinctly androgynous with its
large lapels and boxy shape.
In fact, much of Elsa's
costuming tugs back and forth
between two opposites, which
comes to characterize Elsa who is
both cruel and compassionate. In
her first appearance, Elsa strides
in the hospital with a voluminous

black and white fur coat. The fur
makes a statement, but so does the
coat's ultra-accentuated shoulder
pads. Elsa takes up physical space
in these shots. The black toque
cap she wears has spiky feathers,
sensuous yet intrusive. Even in
a pink suit she wears later that's
coded more feminine, Elsa wears
that spiny hat.
Elsa's penchant for fur and
feathers is crucial. Both are
consumerist status symbols,
denoting access to money. Which
is interesting, because despite the
freak show's physical remoteness,
it hints that Elsa and her clan
aren't totally estranged from the
marketplace economy. Of course,
it also denotes power. After all,
to wear a dead thing signals a
fearlessness of death. There is
domination over the dead thing:
the accessorizing of death. Indeed,
Elsa is unfazed by death; in the
third episode, she'd rather sing
Lana Del Rey even though she
knows it will invoke the wrath of
the dead Edward Mordrake.
In a promo picture for
"American Horror Story," Lange
wears a tent-like gown with wide
carnival-esque stripes. It would
swallow most people, but Lange
owns it. She was involuntarily
made a "freak," so she finds her
autonomy by wearing the strange
and attention-catching. Like the
New Woman and the femme
fatale's style, Elsa's fashion isn't
mere conceit, it's her armor.

By KAREN HUA Master and their conflicting desires
Daily Arts Writer to destroy and save humanity.
However, even after developing
This review contains spoilers on such a strong protagonist-
the seasonflnale of"Doctor Who." antagonist relationship, the writers
Last weekend, the eighth season run out of creativity as they revert
of "Doctor to the stock template for feature
Who" ended adventures.
on one of The show's dialogue, best used
the most Doctor Who to convey the Doctor's stoicism
depressing Season 8 Finale and moments of sentimentality, is
notes in instead used to explain situations
history, BBCAmerica instead of showing them. If
leaving anything, the writers need to trust
"Whovians" everywhere that viewers, largely a devoted
screaming "MOFFAT!" in fits of fan-base, understand the premise.
exasperation across the Twitter- Moffat can't write dialogue
verse and Tumblr-sphere. primarily worrying about new
Writer Steven Moffat viewers who need a recap. The
("Sherlock")hasproventhathemay redundant storytelling makes
well be the George R. R. Martin the revered Doctor seem more
of television. The first part of the clueless, as others must fill him -
finale, already dismal enough, or the "ignorant" audience - in on
was only a gentle premonition information he could've gleaned
to the gloom that shrouded this himself.
one. Moffat's merciless pen kills Though the series is partially
off audience favorites, as geeky propelled by plot, the other half
sidekick Osgood (Ingrid Oliver, of the driving force relies on the
"Angus, Thongs and Perfect relationship between the Doctor
Snogging"), and Danny Pink and his companion. Unfortunately,
(Samuel Anderson, "The History even through a whole season
Boys") both meet their finite of development, the chemistry
demises. between Clara (Jenna Coleman,
While the season started with "Captain America: The First
skepticism that Peter Capaldi("The Avenger") and the Doctor is
Thick of It") would be too old to lackluster compared to previous
play a vivacious, adventurous time- Doctor-companion connections.
traveler, the Oscar-winning actor They weren't best friends like Matt
ultimately brought dynamism to Smith's Doctor and Amy were; they
the role thatwonover manyofeven didn't have the romance of David
the mostskeptical fans. Tennant's Doctor and Rose - and
The penultimate episode of most disappointingly, they don't
the season left audiences with a even trust each other enough to
slew of cliffhangers - perhaps reveal their true fates in the end.
too many for the finale to feasibly Nevertheless, it's refreshing that
address. It's clear that Moffat has the season works with a Doctor-
bitten off more than he can chew, companion dynamic unburned
so the finale is purely referential, by sexual tension or romantic
attempting to resolve only a undertones. On television, where it
fraction of the questions and loose is usually expected of any opposite
ends from previous episodes. sex pairing to end up together,
After the shocking revelation season eight of "Doctor Who" is a
of Missy as the Master (Michelle necessary break up from"shipping"
Gomez, "Bad Education") in female culture. The distinction allows
form, she continues her pursuit to the show to focus on individual
eradicate the human race through character and plot development
extermination by Cybermen. instead of contrived relationship
However,something about Gomez's teasing.
personality does not nearly exude However, this focus on the
"heartless and heinous" to the individual characters puts pressure
extent itshould. on each actor, so Clara often
The finale begins when UNIT pales in comparison to previous
crowns the begrudging Doctor companions. An unrealistic part
as President of the Universe. The of her character is her consistent
episode plays out the struggle ability to appear "perfect" -
between the Doctor and the especially when she "wakes up like

dis, flawless" in a graveyard after
being spun through time and space.
She often seems to lack the power
and grit that should characterize
her as a strong heroine.
As annoying as Clara may be
sometimes,shemakesanincredibly
noble decision to sacrifice her own
happiness for Danny's. She makes
the decisive choice to kill her
boyfriend to alleviate his misery of
living as a Cyber-human hybrid -
ultimately, adecisionthatearnsher
more respect.
The finale concludes with a
series of let-downs, as expected
developments are shot-down one
at a time. In an anti-climactic
peak, the Doctor himself does
not actually "save the day," but
Kate Stewart's (Jemma Redgrave,
"Frankie") father shoots the Master
from behind before he is able to get
to him himself - the epitome of a
spotlight-steal. After Clara heart-
wrenchinglykillsherboyfriend,the
show raises a glimmer of hope that
Dannycould return. Unfortunately,
the mysterious orb of light reveals
only Danny's spirit in the form of
the child he killed - again, more
disappointment.
In a pseudo-happy ending, both
Clara and the Doctor end their
adventures by lying to pacify the
other's qualms. Whereas Clara
falsely claims Danny has returned
to her, the Doctor says he has
found Gallifrey when it really has
disappeared. What does that say
about the trusting relationship they
have worked so hard to develop
throughthe entireseason?
The tragic reality is that their
lies leaves both of them alone - the
Doctor without a companion and
a nonexistent mission to embark
on, and Clara without Danny and
a greater life purpose of savingthe
world. And the human race is not
even completely saved because
there is a possibility the Master may
return, as well.
Essentially, it seems like viewers
stay tuned not because the show
becomes more original or thrilling.
Rather, they watch because they
are fanatically invested in the
characters and relationships the
series has spent eight seasons
developing. This dedication will
be what tides them over until the
Christmas special. For now, the
"Doctor Who" finale proves unable
to give them any kind of resolution
in the meantime.

r

Call: 734-418-4115 Drake's 'Take Care'
!Emal:dailydisplay@gmaiLcoml
_________ celebrates third year

RELEASE DATE- Wednesday, November 19, 2014 PAr dN ,r
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By RACHEL KERR
For The Daily

THESIS EDITING. LANGUAGE,
organization, formaL.Alt Disciplines.
734/996-0566 or writeon@iserv.net

Drake's Take Care debuted in
2011, during my junior year of
high school. At that time, I knew
Drake only as the artist who
sang that one song that kept say-
ing "you the fuckin' best" over
and over again, and I was like I
get it, your girl is thefuckinghbest.
And while both So Far Gone and
Thank Me Later, his previous
efforts released in 2009 and
2010 respectively, had been suc-
cessful, it wasn't until Take Care
that I realized Drake actually
had some soul.
This month, three years later
after its release on Nov. 15, Take
Care celebrated its third birth-
day, which got me wondering:
what made the album so spe-
cial? After its release, it was a
go-to for all my high school's
awkward party bus escapades,
which included trying to grind
on each other and take swigs
from water bottles full of alco-
hol all the while in a moving
vehicle. And today, it still con-
tinues to pop up on party playl-
ists wherever I go.
Maybe it's because we saw a
more experienced Drake bare
his heart for his fans with songs
like "Marvin's Room," where he
pleaded over a drunk phone call
with his ex, "Talk to me now /
don't have much to believe in /
I need you right now / are you
down to listen to me?" But,
of course he has to remind us
he's not that sensitive and still
smokes weed, gets pussy, and
makes money. So, he attempts
to cover up his vulnerability in
tracks like "Headlines," where
he claims he's "too strung out
on compliments / over-dosed on
confidence."

Maybe it's because this album
introduced Drake's "I'm actu-
ally a really sensitive guy who
sometimes acts like an asshole
because I'll always be apprehen-
sive about fame" persona that
has been present in his work
since. He highlighted this char-
acter in songs like "Underground
Kings," explaining, "Sometimes I
need that romance / sometimes I
need that pole dance."
Maybe it's because the album
birthed the monumental and gen-
eration-defining term "YOLO"
- You Only Live Once - as well
as the less significant but, in my
opinion, equally as important,
"HYFR" - Hell Yeah Fuckin'
Right.
Maybe it's because Drake
broke genre barriers, explor-
ing both R&B and hip hop. Take
Care featured grand piano solos,
sample tracks from R&B legends
like Gil Scott-Heron and free-
styles from heavy hitters like
Rick Ross. Drake recruited other
big names like Lil Wayne, Andre
3000, the Weeknd, Nicki Minaj
and Rihanna. The final product
was an album soaked in emo-
tion and a multitude of different
sounds.
"I change rap forever" Drake
sings on "Lord Knows." And in
truth, with this album, he did.
He helped usher in a new era of
hip hop, one that prided itself
on laying all feelings and fuck
ups out on the table for fans to
examine. He presented listeners
with a funky and sensuous com-
pilation of tracks that undoubt-
edly featured some of the best
rapping and singing we'd seen
from him up to that point.
And, just last weekend, I
heard "Crew Love" at a party.
So, obviously people aren't done
with Take Care just yet.

4

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