I’m not much for admiring people. After all, we are all humans with infinite flaws and admiring would be putting someone on a pedestal which is a very dangerous thing to do. A pedestal means that you’re more likely to forgive them for transgressions and to judge them on a totally different scale. Of course, this scale is both good and bad. While it means they can get away with more of certain things, it also means they have a strict criteria they have to keep to lest they get turned against. This is especially evident when people admire artists, singers, writers, and various other people that deal with public media. The general consensus always seems to be “it wasn’t as good as the first one”.
But then again, maybe I do admire people. It’s just that I tend to admire fictional characters because aren’t any moral implications if they decide to murder people and there’s no “last one was better” going on. I mean I totally admire Hannibal. He’s the type of serial killer I would want to be if I was one. I admire the Doctor. For all all the darkness he experiences, he still manages to be playful and childish and looks at the universe with wonder. I also admire his determination to live by the promise that is his name. Doctor…oh, this is a topic for another time.
Digression aside, I think I have reached the point where I must confess to myself that I do, without a doubt, admire Bryan Fuller. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know him until earlier this year. The Hobbit had just come out and I saw it twice. I went on tumblr and I saw all these posts, most noticeably, ones that were saying how excited they were for Lee Pace to be in the second movie. Well, looking at his picture, you could say I was mildly interested. I went on his tag and scrolled through a bit. That’s where I found Pushing Daisies.
(I have no idea what’s going on with this picture, but it’s like the best thing ever)
I remember Pushing Daisies being on TV, but I am so not a fan of the ABC channel. No offense to their shows, but they just weren’t up my alley. What I distinctively remember about the commercials that came on when I was watching TV was the bright yellow coloring and the voice of the narrator. Still, I mean look at Lee Pace’s face! So I decided to give it a try.
To say the least I was SO surprised. At first glance, the show seemed like a happy, cheerful, fairytale like story about love. Everything was so cute, from the characters themselves to their interactions to their props and setting. There was something surrealistic about it and by all accounts, none of it should be believable. The colors were too bright, the scenarios were ridiculous, and let us not forget, there was an omniscient presence in the form of a voice-over. Yet, I found myself sucked into this world. For those moments, the Pushing Daisies universe did exist and Ned’s troubles were real.
I think what drew me in the most were the layers hidden underneath the happiness. And oh were there layers. To be honest, Pushing Daisies might have been one of the darkest things I’ve ever seen on television. Is that an exaggeration….ugh, hard to say. What makes the darkness so prominent and powerful is the fact that it doesn’t look like it’s dark. All other shows are upright dark. It’s about death and murders? Okay! The color palate is black, dark blue, red, etc. With Pushing Daisies, it’s the opposite. The cinematography is tweaked so that all the colors seem richer and brighter. But underneath the beauty, it’s all about death and zombies and playing God and the price of a life. Can it get any heavier?
Then Hannibal came out and everything went down the drain. Saying I fell in love is putting in mildly. I crashed through the earth’s atmosphere and into the crust leaving a 500 yd crater of absolute adoration and amazement. That’s when I really started seeing Bryan Fuller’s genius. Traditionally, there are only a number of ways you can portray a cannibalistic serial killer. Traditional isn’t really in Fuller’s vocabulary. The show starts off making you think it’ll be like any regular procedural drama. Then, it takes all your assumptions, flips them upside down, douses them in gasoline, and burns them all. Nothing about Hannibal is normal. It’s horror isn’t in gore which we have been conditioned to expect, but in the psychological manipulation of the characters and the viewers themselves. Everything is beautiful yet grotesque. It’s dark, but it’s funny wherre it shouldn’t be. Nothing is right.
(I already wrote a post about how much I love this show)
It takes a truly talented hand to pull all this off. There is a delicate balance and somehow Bryan Fuller finds it and walks along the line like a professionally trained gymnast. His thinking is so unique. There are no stereotypes, only the cold harshness of reality buffered by dream-like cinematography and poetic wording. At a certain point, it is not longer TV, but literature with the amount of dramatic irony and parallelisms and symbolism.
My admiration of Bryan Fuller cemented when I decided to look into his earlier works and started Wonderfalls. While it’s not as polished as his later series, the premise blows my mind. I’m not talking about the one imdb gives you about a inanimate objects talking to a girl and telling her to do stuff. I’m talking about the idea of God and Jesus and prophets. If only there had been a season 2 because reading about the things that were planned, Wonderfalls would have evolved onto a whole other playing field.
(I wonder wonder why the wonderfalls~)
The thing is, many shows nowadays are painfully straight forward. No one wants to think more than they have to. That even applies to the crime shows. So when the masterpieces that Bryan Fuller creates appear, it’s like looking at the sun after spending a month in the basement. It is blinding, beautiful, and for a lack of a better word, amazing. It makes you sit and actually think about the darker things in life. We walk around doing what we’re expected and repeating what we’re told, so when something like Hannibal comes out, we have no idea how to react. And that’s a good thing.
I admire Fuller’s ability to create shows that are able to spark such controversial debates. What is wrong and what is right? What does it mean to take a life? All the while, he wraps us these heavy topics in black humor and stunning visuals so you temporarily forget what has been drilled into you since you were young. As an aspiring writer, what I wouldn’t give to write half as well as Bryan Fuller. I suppose practice makes perfect, but I don’t even know where to start.