It’s Finally Chill to Love
Passions Alumni Natalie Zea and Travis Schuldt Join Literary Disco... to Discuss a Dissertation
Today we embrace the melodrama, the secret, the amnesia, the surprise relative, the multiple personality disorder, the recasting, the coming back from the dead, the love, the murder, and the marriages (!), as we talk about No End to Her by Martha Nochimson and all things soap opera with special guests Natalie Zea and Travis Schuldt.
From the episode:
Julia Pistell: If I may make a sweeping statement, this feels like the patriarchy. We have to justify soap operas and our love of soap operas within this language of Freud, within the language of academia, when really, now, from our 2020 lens, we can all just be like, we love Jane the Virgin. I watch Passions all day while waiting for the world to end. And that’s where we are. But I do feel like there is some level of defensiveness here. To take it seriously, we must use this really complex language.
Natalie Zea: I think you’re right, and I think it’s indicative of the time. Because it’s not an accident that Travis and I are revisiting this thing in our lives that we were kind of embarrassed about for a long time and didn’t really talk about and kind of shied away from. Like in the press, people would ask and I’d be like, oh, that was just a thing I did. And now we’re suddenly doing a 180 and embracing it because of the time that we’re living in. It’s so much more accepted to be like, hey, shit can be fun and stupid. It doesn’t make me less of an intellectual or less deep or interesting or whatever. It just means it was a part of our lives and a really important part of our lives.
Tod Goldberg: But also over the course of the last eight months that we’ve all been stuck in our homes, you’ve been seeing a lot of the sort of pop psychology application—this isn’t pop psychology, this is a little bit deeper—but pop psychology application to things from our past that we loved, to try to explain why we’re stupid for loving them. I don’t need every six weeks for someone in The Atlantic to tell me why You’ve Got Mail is a pro-capitalist diatribe. Nora Ephron wasn’t thinking about that. She wanted a movie with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks again. She wanted to make a billion dollars.
Or do you guys remember at the beginning of the pandemic, there was an article about how the only people who truly understand Keanu Reeves are millennials? It was an article that swept the internet for like the first four days of the pandemic where people were like, I’m Gen X! Keanu’s Gen X! But there’s this need, I think, to contextualize the things that we love as though it’s shameful that we love them. Like I fucking love Keanu Reeves. I don’t give a shit who he belongs to.
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