PRINT May 1990


The thought of all sorts

of people from all sorts of

backgrounds in all sorts of

circumstances seeing the same

thing at the same time

I found thrilling.

—Dennis Potter

OEDIPALIZED SCENARIOS, TRAUMATIC PSYCHOSEXUAL DYNAMICS, and violence are the stuff that Dennis Potter’s television plays films are made of, moving across the taboo terrain of sexuality within the seemingly orderly nuclear family. The vehicle for these “perverse” scenarios is a dazzling montage of familiar dramatic genres, including the detective story, the musical, the psychological autobiography, and the bildungsroman, all intersecting in a series of interpenetrating narratives that deny any linear structure. Much of the language of “post-Modern” Western culture involves just this kind of self-conscious hybridization, a lifting and appropriating of different languages. Often such work reifies and estheticizes history, making

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