Low Key

Share

Let's Talk About the Tricky Racial Metaphors of 'Carnival Row'

Season 1, Ep. 40

Fae! Pucks! Critches! This week on the "Low Key" podcast, we talk about these and other words we think might be racial slurs in the world of "Carnival Row," Amazon's unique take on bigotry and immigration.


The new series examines a star-crossed relationship between a human detective named Philo (Orlando Bloom) and a winged fae named Vignette (Cara Delevigne) that is filled with metaphors we're trying very hard to follow. The show creates a vast and complex fictional world, then populates it with storylines that seem oddly reminiscent of things happening in America today.


Every week on "Low Key," we look for pop culture subtleties, often through a racial lens, so "Carnival Row" was kind of made for us. It's filled with nuance, and rewards viewers for patience and close attention. Our favorite subplot involves the "there goes the neighborhood" arrival or the mysterious puck Mr. Agreus (David Gyasi), who draws the intense interest of privileged neighbor (and master to Vignette) Imogen Spurnrose (Tamzin Merchant).


We're also caught very off-guard by a subplot involving fae fetishist Jonah Breakspear (Arty Froushan), son of the eminent Absalom Breakspear (Jared Harris). Whether you like "Carnival Row" or not -- and we do -- it's a lot of fun to talk about.


Here are some of the main points of our conversation, with timestamps:


5:30: Apologies to Downton Abbey


7:05: Praise for Tamzin Merchant


8:45: “If you were to make like an eight-episode porn scene where sex only happened in the seventh episode? If you have the dedication to watch that kind of pornography, you’ve got it. ‘Carnival Row’ has it.” 


16:38: Some thoughts on the precarious Spurnrose situation


17:10: “The only-person-to-survive thing felt unnecessary.”


30:00: A pretty big spoiler


36:51: Someone yells "YEAH!" a little too loud


If you like us, subscribe. If you don't, check out the "Shoot This Now" or "Meanwhile in the Multiverse" podcasts.

More Episodes

7/23/2020

Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado

Season 1, Ep. 70
In this episode we explore Netflix's Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado, about a Puerto Rican TV astrologer who rose from humble beginnings to become a sequin-caped inspiration to millions.With his distinctive look, aura of mystery — especially about his sexuality — and ability to blend many religious beliefs into a medley of optimism, Walter Mercado gave hope to the hopeless — until an ugly legal dispute yanked him from the air and cost him control of his own carefully cultivated image.:45: Our late-night infomercial memories3:00: Is the Michael Jordan-approved The Last Dance real journalism? Is Walter Mercado getting the Michael Jordan treatment?5:45: "Celebrities nowadays are derivatives of celebrities back in the day."5:50: How Walter Mercado was like Michael Jackson and Prince7:05: About that psychic phone line...7:50: How is Walter Mercado different from a televangelist?8:50: "You just can't swindle a swindler"10:00: Let's talk about Walter Mercado and his manager's relationship11:45: Zodiac signs12:40: "What's the difference between a Walter Mercado and a Tony Robbins?"15:00: Tim has the same religious beliefs as Walter Mercado: "No one has a monopoly on God"18:00: "He had a much better life than most people have"24:00: A Billy Dee Williams story (and here's the background on the gender-fluid story)27:00: Another excellent famous-person story30:55: "The only person I ever saw solve racism was Prince"31:50: "Netflix, again, coming through on the diversity point before it was fucking cool. ... They've been on this train."33:15: Netflix's $120 million donation to HCBUs36:00: "I have an appreciation for any man that dresses up like a wizard"Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado is now streaming on Netflix.