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特朗普时代,哪部美剧最贴近现实?

更新时间:2017-6-8 10:31:12 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Trump Administration Shakes ‘House of Cards’ Hard
特朗普时代,哪部美剧最贴近现实?

Is the Trump administration a drama or a sitcom?

特朗普政府是一部剧情剧,还是一部情景喜剧?

Eventually, this will be for history to judge. But first, let’s give television its shot.

这最终要由历史来判定。但首先,让我们试着说说电视。

Every politics-adjacent series released since November has been scoured for parallels and resonances with the new era. (“Game of Thrones,” the world’s favorite political analogy, returns in July, so get ready for debates over whether Steve Bannon is Varys or Qyburn.)

自去年11月以来,每播出一部与政治有关的剧集,人们就会从中搜寻它与新时代的相似和共振。(世界上最受欢迎的政治譬喻《权力的游戏》[Game of Thrones]将于7月回归,做好讨论史蒂夫·班农[Steve Bannon]是瓦里斯[Varys]还是科本[Qyburn]的准备吧。)

“House of Cards,” Netflix’s presidential soap, is theoretically well positioned to break the fourth wall of today’s political conversation. But the series — at best, a thick slice of ham onto which Kevin Spacey ladles villainous oratory like red-eye gravy — has never really stood up to deep reading. And with Season 5, which commenced at the end of May, the series is a lamer duck than ever.

Netflix以总统为题材的肥皂剧《纸牌屋》(House of Cards),理论上颇有资格去打破今天的政治对话的第四堵墙。但这部剧集——充其量只是一片厚厚的火腿,凯文·史派西(Kevin Spacey)把邪恶旁白当成红眼肉汁浇在上面——从未真正经受住推敲。于5月末开播的第五季,让该剧成了一只比任何时候都更瘸的跛脚鸭。

Superficially, the season is loaded with plot points that echo current headlines: an immigration ban proposed by President Frank Underwood (Mr. Spacey); congressional hearings and leaks; a Russian attempt to take advantage of American divisions; a Syrian chemical-weapons attack that draws a presidential response, driven by a dramatic photo of a dead child.

表面上看,《纸牌屋》有不少爆点:弗兰克·安德伍德(Frank Underwood)总统(斯派西饰)提议实施移民禁令;国会听证会和泄密事件;俄罗斯企图利用美国的分裂做文章;受一张以一名死亡儿童为主角的戏剧性照片触动,总统对叙利亚的化学武器袭击作出回应。

But the show’s big picture feels like something from an alternative universe, and not just because the power partnership of Frank and his wife, Claire (Robin Wright), is like a conspiracy-fever version of the Clintons’.

但该剧的主要部分给人以好像来自一个平行宇宙之感,这不仅仅是因为弗兰克和他妻子克莱尔(Claire,罗宾·怀特[Robin Wright]饰)的权力同盟,像是对克林顿夫妇之间关系的疯狂阴谋论式演绎。

“House of Cards,” based on a British series, is at heart a fantasy of competence and omnipotence. Frank pulls the levers of power as easily as he pushed poor Zoe Barnes in front of a subway train. He plays four-dimensional chess while his current analogue often seems to play Whac-a-Mole. He’s cold and deliberative, not hotheaded and impetuous. He confides his plans in Shakespearean asides while President Trump spills to 31 million Twitter followers.

改编自一部英剧的《纸牌屋》,实质上是一种对能力和全能的幻想。弗兰克拉动权力的杠杆,就像推搡可怜的佐伊·巴内斯(Zoe Barnes)撞向地铁列车一样容易。他玩的是四维的国际象棋,而现实中正坐在他这个位置上的人常常像是在玩打地鼠游戏。他冷静审慎,而非头脑发热、心浮气躁。他以莎士比亚戏剧式的独白透露自己的计划,特朗普总统则把计划透露给其3100万Twitter粉丝。

Its greater disconnect — shared with legacy political shows like “Scandal,” “Designated Survivor” and “Madam Secretary” — is that it assumes there are still norms governing politics, which it generates drama by pushing against. Characters behave badly in secret, the quaint notion being that discovery would bring shame and consequences.

该剧与现实更严重的脱节之处是,它认为目前仍然存在主导着政治的规则,并通过挑战这些规则来制造戏剧性——《丑闻》(Scandal)、《指定幸存者》(Designated Survivor)、《国务卿夫人》(Madam Secretary)等多季政治电视剧都有这个问题。剧中角色在背地里干坏事,所基于的是一个古怪的认知:如果被发现,就要承受耻辱和后果。

Frank works hard to hide his acts of violence. In our world, a Montana politician body-slammed a reporter and was elected to Congress the next day. When a congressman from Frank’s own party (Democratic, in this case) plans to go against him and place “country over party,” it may be the season’s biggest laugh line.

弗兰克会努力掩盖自己的暴力行为。而在我们的世界里,一名蒙大拿政客在抱摔记者次日当选了国会议员。当来自弗兰克所在政党(在这里是民主党)的一名议员打算与他对抗,并把“国家利益置于党派利益之上”的时候,或许贡献了本季最大的笑点。

Beyond this, the idea that adults are still in charge, that the presidency is still beholden to a pretense of decorum, has been disrupted by the election of a TV star whose following depends partly on his going off script. “House of Cards” isn’t less crazy than reality. But it assumes a greater baseline of normalcy in its larger world.

此外,掌权的依然是成年人、总统职务依然受制于场面上的礼仪这种观念,已经因为一名电视明星的当选而土崩瓦解,此人在某种程度上正是靠着不按牌理出牌才吸引了众多追随者。《纸牌屋》的疯狂程度不亚于现实。但它在自己的世界里设定了一条更正常的基线。

Even HBO’s comedy “Veep” has this problem — it’s poetically foul-mouthed, but has the charming conceit that the characters need to keep their obscenities from the public. Other, nonpolitical current shows get at bits and pieces of today’s climate. “Mr. Robot” and “Legion” have themes of conspiracy and gaslighting; “The Good Fight” captures the world-turned-upside-down disorientation of liberals.

就连HBO的喜剧《副总统》(Veep) 也有这个问题——这部剧多的是极富创意的脏话,但却有一种迷人的孤高自许:剧中人需要对公众隐藏他们的猥琐。不过,一些非政治化的电视剧倒是捕捉到了当前氛围的一鳞半爪。《黑客军团》(Mr. Robot)和《大群》(Legion) 以阴谋和操纵为主题;《傲骨之战》(The Good Fight)反映了自由派人士天地翻覆般的迷失。

But for now, you need to go back to earlier TV eras — and away from Washington story lines — to find the shows that most recall today’s White House.

但现在,你需要重返较早的电视时代,抛开关于华盛顿的故事线,以便找出最能和今天的白宫相呼应的电视剧。

“The Sopranos,” for instance, rings truer to this presidency than any show today, despite running from the Clinton through the Bush administrations. Consider the show’s volatile antihero, the mobster Tony Soprano, who is driven by appetite; who has baroque taste in home décor; who demands loyalty from others without reciprocating; who rewards yes men; who lashes out impulsively (R.I.P., Ralphie Cifaretto); who longs for the “strong and silent” model of manhood while loudly nursing grievances; who prides himself on acting boldly and even rashly. (“A wrong decision,” Tony says, “is better than indecision.”)

例如,《黑道家族》(The Sopranos)就比今天的任何一部电视剧都更能真实地反映这届总统的状况,尽管它是从克林顿时代播到了布什时代。不妨想想剧中变化无常的反英雄人物,黑道头子托尼·索普拉诺(Tony Soprano),一个受欲望驱使的人;一个对家装有着巴洛克式品味的人;一个要求其他人义无反顾地忠于自己、却不对自己设定类似要求的人;一个会奖励俯首帖耳者的人;一个会冲动地发起攻击的人(安息吧,拉尔夫·西法瑞托[Ralph Cifaretto]);一个对“强悍而又沉默”的男子汉形象心向往之,却又高声诉说委屈的人;一个以行事大胆莽撞为傲的人。(“做出错误的决定好过犹豫不决,”托尼说。)

This is not to say that the Trump White House is like the mob, so much as that “The Sopranos” feels timely for how it portrays leadership in a dysfunctional, privately held family business.

这并不是说特朗普领导的白宫犹如黑帮,而是说《黑道家族》因为描绘了一个陷入瘫痪的、由私人控制的家族企业中的领导层而显得颇为应景。

It has that in common with “Arrested Development,” whose Trump parallels have made for one of the richest social-media memes of 2017. In The Daily Beast, Erin Gloria Ryan likened the Trumps to the Bluths, the grifting real-estate-development family whose patriarch, George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), ran into legal trouble over his taxes and some “light treason.” After the failure to pass the American Health Care Act in March, the Politico writer Dan Diamond compared it to the Bluths’ attempt to pass off the empty shell of a house as a real one.

与之有异曲同工之妙的是《发展受阻》(Arrested Development),剧中跟特朗家颇为相像的一家人,已经催生出了2017年最多姿多彩的社交网络米姆之一。在《每日野兽》(The Daily Beast)网站上,艾琳·格洛丽亚·瑞安(Erin Gloria Ryan)把特朗普家族和布鲁斯家族联系到了一起。后者是一个狡诈的房地产开发商家族,其掌门人老乔治(杰弗里·坦伯尔[Jeffrey Tambor]饰)因为税务问题和某种“轻微的叛国”行为而遇到法律上的麻烦。《美国医保法案》(American Health Care Act) 在3月份未能通过后,Politico网站的作者丹·迪亚蒙德(Dan Diamond)将其与布鲁斯家族试图把一栋空壳房子当成真正的房产卖出去的做法相提并论。

Plot details aside (the Bluths also once schemed to build a border wall with Mexico), the show has a familiar personal dynamic. Mr. Trump has always believed in pitting people against one another — in personal life, in business, on “The Apprentice” and in the White House.

抛开具体情细节不谈(布鲁斯家族曾讨论建一道美墨边境墙),剧中有着我们非常熟悉的人物互动关系。外界一直认为,不论是在生意场上,在《学徒》(The Apprentice)节目中,还是在白宫里,特朗普都喜欢挑唆人们相互争斗。

This is the management style of George Bluth Sr., who encourages jealousies and insecurities among his adult children, the better to manipulate them into a who-does-Daddy-love-best contest. (Sean, Kellyanne: This show gets you.)

这也是老乔治·布鲁斯的管理风格,他在自己的成年子女中间散播嫉妒和不安全感的种子,以便更好地操控他们加入一场以“爸爸最爱谁”为主题的竞赛。(肖恩、凯莉安:这部剧会让你们心情难以平复。)

“Arrested Development” began in 2003 as TV’s best satire of an earlier presidency — it was, in part, a sly commentary on the Iraq War. In the fake-house episode, Gob Bluth (Will Arnett) unveils a “Mission Accomplished” banner, à la George W. Bush, on the facade, just before it falls apart.

于2003年开播的《发展受阻》,堪称讽刺早前一届总统的最佳电视剧——它在某种程度上以狡黠的方式对伊拉克战争发表了评论。假房子那一集里,房子倒塌前,戈布·布鲁斯(Gob Bluth,威尔·阿奈特[Will Arnett]饰)在外立面上打出了“任务完成”条幅,和乔治·W·布什(George W. Bush)的说法并无二致。

All of which suggests that the definitive television show of the Trump years, whenever it arrives, might not be about politics. And it might be a comedy, even if we experience the real-life version very much as a drama.

所有这些都意味着,特朗普时代具有代表性的电视剧——不论它何时到来——或许不是以政治为题材。而且它或许是一部喜剧,纵使我们像身在剧情剧中一样经历着现实。

It might, in fact, be “Arrested Development.” Netflix recently announced a fifth season. (It produced Season 4 in 2013.) The creator, Mitch Hurwitz, said in a statement that he was looking forward to reviving his characters: “George Sr., Lucille and the kids, Michael, Ivanka, Don Jr., Eric, George-Michael and, who am I forgetting, oh, Tiffany. Did I say Tiffany?”

事实上,它或许就是《发展受阻》。Netflix最近宣布要拍第五季(它在2013年拍了第四季。)其主创米奇·赫维兹(Mitch Hurwitz)在一份声明中表示,他期待着为他创作的那些角色注入新的活力:“老乔治、露希尔以及孩子们,迈克尔,伊万卡、小唐、埃里克、乔治-迈克尔,我忘了谁吗,哦,蒂法尼。我说过蒂法尼没有?”

History repeats, they say. In this case, both times as farce.

人们常说,历史会重演。这样的话,两次都是以闹剧的形式。

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