Monday, September 14, 2015


Dramatically, hipster millennials – or caricatures of millennials, or caricatures of hipsters, because to imply that a portrayal of an age or cultural group is absolute is to cruise for a bruise – offer a unique challenge. Desire is the engine of traditional drama. A character wants something, reaches for it, and something or someone stands in their way. Conflict ensues, story is created. But what happens to drama when that desire is muddy or inarticulate? Millennials or hipsters, in the most egregious examples, suffer from a conflicting blend of apathy and hyperbole. If desire is absent or disingenuous, from where does the drama come?

Fort Tilden is seemingly simple. Harper and Allie meet a couple of guys at a party they're barely tolerating. Harper is a trust fund "artist" and Allie has plans to join the Peace Corps. They attach themselves to these guys' beach plans the next day with the promise of bringing along molly – aka MDMA. If we're charting the drama, their "want" is to go to Fort Tilden to meet these guys. The only thing standing in their way is their inability to function at the most basic level, to navigate from point A to point B. There are points where Harper and Allie start to feel like Vladimir and Estragon running late to meet Godot.

Harper and Allie are both light and scathing examples of a certain type of "kids these days," operating solely for the cachet of an experience rather than the substance. Sticking these two clueless, quixotic characters into a simple want/conflict trajectory makes for a surprisingly fun urban epic. It's hipster portrayal lands somewhere between the goofiness of Portlandia and the dark bleakness of The Comedy. In a way, the lack of drama becomes a generator of drama; the lack of any real conflict becomes true conflict.

- Andrew

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