“I’m Not Always the Most Reliable Narrator”. On Character Voice-Over as a Rhetorical Resource in HBO’s “Euphoria”
Keywords:Voice-over, narrator, rhetorical resources, seriality, Euphoria
Voice-over narration features in various ways in contemporary TV series. One recent series that employs voice-over extensively is HBO’s Euphoria. In the series, the protagonist, Rue, narrates repeatedly in each episode of the first season and critics have labelled her voice-over with terms such as “unreliable” or “omniscient”. The aim of this article is to analyze the uses of character voice-over in Euphoria and to argue that such analysis require examining the theoretical terminology often applied to film and TV voice-overs. The article argues that character voice-over should not be defined based on a structuralist narratological conception of the narrator. Rather, voice-over should be approached within a framework of narrative rhetoric and viewed as a medium-specific rhetorical resource. The proposed view, as opposed to one classifying different types of voice-over narrators, is better able to explain how voice-over works in serial storytelling and how this resource is employed in Euphoria to create different effects and affect the audience in different ways.
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