The Mirror Effect and the Transparent City in Audio-Visual Non-Dramatic Fiction: Comedic Autofiction on Television

The Mirror Effect and the Transparent City in Audio-Visual Non-Dramatic Fiction: Comedic Autofiction on Television

Inmaculada Gordillo
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3119-8.ch003
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In the past, there was always a clear delineation between fiction and the news or fiction and documentary film. Today, however, elements of crossover and hybridization it can be observed in most formats: reality and fiction, public and private, are intermingled. Life itself seeps into fictional accounts, approaching the eternal comedy. Digital formats permit the multiplication of stories and the democratisation of productions. They create a true amalgam of new and old hybrid products, such that comedy also infuses the non-fiction content. Social change is convincingly reflected in the stories that each collective elaborates and consumes. Today, without question, audiovisual stories offer a clear, in-depth analysis of all the social transformations in which we currently find ourselves immersed, therefore this chapter offers an exploration of the novel formats that are extended into the stories that are told on television and on the internet.
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In fiction, and not exempt from a sense of criticism that still allowed for comedy, Miguel de Cervantes already included in both the first and second part of The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha some specific references to the literary reality of his time that affected him personally: the critical review of chivalric novels and other literary works in the first part; and, in the second part, allusions and diatribes to the appearance of an apocryphal Quixote as a sequel to the original, which made Cervantes very angry. That is, if we dive into the history of non-dramatic narrative fiction where the author’s reality becomes palpable, we must go back to the origins of stories. Without wishing to take a diachronic or exhaustive look at this trend, it is necessary to highlight how, in recent years, many television programmes and different internet platforms (from blogs to YouTube) and social networks show a tendency towards the construction of glass walls or mirrors of the daily lives of many people of all ages.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Sitcom (Situation Comedy): TV format within the comedy genre characterised by its episodic structure, fixed characters, canned laughter and an approximate duration of 25 minutes per episode.

Metafiction: Fiction that includes, within itself, references to the fictional device created.

Autofiction: Narrative work characterised by the overlap between author and protagonist which mixes real and fictitious elements.

Narratives of the Self: Stories where the plot revolves around the author’s autobiographical elements, and the author is portrayed as a character in the story. There are numerous genres and formats: Autobiographies, memoirs, diaries, self-portraits, correspondence, blogs, chats, selfies, photologs, videoblogs, autofiction, etc.

Post-humour: Humour that provokes displeasure, uneasiness and discomfort (even second-hand embarrassment).

Self-parody: Narrative work of autofiction ascribed to the comedy genre and with a type of humour based on parody.

Mise en Abyme: Appearance of a reflection of the narrative work within the narrative work itself. In graphic arts circles, it is also known as the Droste Effect.

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