Sample Essays: "Casino Night"
Essay 1. Outline your overall goals, aspirations and hopes with regard to this assignment.
To resist the sickening predilection for reducing the art and creativity of scores of truly talented people down to a simplistic romantic story that is neither "romantic" nor, up to this point, a "story." Boy meets girl, boy and girl spend most of their time ignoring each other for no good reason except self-hatred and laziness. I don't like looking at it. Concentrating on it to the exclusion of the rest of the story is creepy and in bad taste, and it's just offensive to me. It makes me think of the smoking, half-lesbian Bouvier sisters who liked to imagine fucking MacGyver was their boyfriend. It's kitsch. It's the opposite of art. It destroys art. It destroys souls. It is so much more offensive to me than hard-core porno.
When it gets down to it, I trust the show to do what would really happen, not what we fear (Sam/Diane, Maddie/David) or what we secretly want (Jim is burned beyond recognition in a plane crash and brought to Pam by a Bedouin tribe; everybody gets cancer, everybody dies, people of diminished mental capacity running around teaching everybody about love and the simplicity of happiness; a serendipitous coincidence of emails and meddling, lonely children brings them together under unlikely circumstances; tears roll down; we all buy another cat). I'm not a slut, but who knows? I trust the show to do it fucking brilliantly, and in concert with the stories of the -- how many? -- fifteen other people we see in every episode, and who deserve a little time, a little thought. And a lot more love, frankly, because they're not beautiful and they're not fucked over on their own watch and by their own hand at every possible opportunity.
Now! Bring on the unspoken sexual tension and the beautiful, angstiful, wonderful love pain!
Essay 2. Set The Scene (Descriptive Language): Portray through use of adjectives and short quotations the preparations for a Dunder-Mifflin Casino Night party. Compare and contrast with other annual events (i.e., "The Dundies"). Use as source material the episode as performed from Steve Carell's script for the finale of Season Two of The Office.
As workers set up tables in the warehouse, Michael fills us in on how the Scranton Business Park is having Casino Night: "...I know it's illegal in Pennsylvania but...it's for charity. And I consider myself a great philanderer." (Funny now, not so funny in about 30 minutes.) Michael's slippery logic slope takes us to the place where apparently, Casino Night means "some little kid in the Congo has a bellyful of rice this evening."