Halt and Catch Fire:最契合80年代背景的电视剧 (下)



The Writing is Outstanding


Two of my favorite things about HCF are the
character’s tango with the inevitable and the unpredictable, and the wry but
subtle wit peppered perfectly throughout the series. A standout in manifesting
this is Toby Huss’s Bosworth, whose stern AMC publicity photo doesn’t capture
the wit and sparks of levity he brings to the role. Part old school Texas
businessman out of step with technology, and part prospecting visionary, Huss
built a believable and endearing character out of what could have easily become
a stereotype–and was almost a short-term role. Huss is that kind of character
actor you want to see more of, and the show’s producers, writers, and creators
thought so, too:

HCF中,我最着迷的两样东西就是角色身上体现出的那种必然性以及不可预知性,还有那些贯穿整部剧,加入了些许胡椒粉的黑色幽默。其中最有代表性的是Toby HussBosworth,他那张严肃的AMC官方剧照中一点儿都不能体现出他带给角色的智慧以及多变的闪光点。一半是古板保守远离科技进步的德克萨斯商人,一半是富有远见的幻想家,Huss塑造了一个令人信服而且讨人喜欢的角色,脱出了很容易变成的陈规旧套,这也几乎是一种短期内才会存在的角色。Huss就是那种你希望看到更多维度的演员,嗯,制片方、编剧、制片人也都这么认为。

Melissa Bernstein: “We adore his
character so much. As written, we did not imagine him this way at all, but when
we saw him in Toby’s audition, we were all totally taken with it, and it
changed everything about that character’s trajectory.”

Melissa Bernstein: “我们太欣赏他的角色了,如上所述,我们根本没想到他以这种方式来演绎角色,但是当我们看到Toby的试演时,我们就被迷住了,他改变了这个角色的方方面面。”

Like Bosworth, Huss took a gutsy bet,
portraying the no-nonsense boss with wit and charming complexity that may have
otherwise been missed. I asked him how it came about:


Toby Huss: “Good old John Bosworth!
It’s funny, because I had no master plan, but the way the guys wrote it, I
think they saw one thing in it, and I saw something totally different. I saw
this really textured, sort of nuanced guy, who was really a couple years away
from retirement, and then his world exploded. He had to think on his feet like
never before. He really had a wonderful arc from the first season to this one.
No one saw that arc, I think, until they started mining that territory, but I
thought it was a great character that they had. They just needed somebody to
come and flesh it out, maybe, and I got lucky enough to do that.”

Toby Huss:“老好人John Bosworth!这很有趣,因为我并没有什么万全的计划,不过编剧们只撰写了其中他们所看到的一方面,而我则看到了截然不同的东西。我认为这个角色相当有特色,有着非常微妙的本质,他离退休还有好多年,但是他的世界崩塌了。他不得不破天荒开始考虑他今后的路。从第一季到现在,他确实有段非同寻常的心路历程,但我认为这一点在他们开始对他进行挖掘之前没人注意到,不过他们的确拥有一个了不起的角色,只是需要有个人来让它有血有肉,也许,我很幸运能做到这一点。”

Developing that character differently based
on an actor’s interpretation also highlights the agility and talent of
“the Chris’s.” They recognize opportunities and take chances–much
like the tech industry characters they write about. Sometimes you see it in
little ways, like the season three open, where they creatively harvest Toby
Huss’s experience as an uncanny and satirical Frank Sinatra (from his annual “Rudy
Casoni” Christmas Show in L.A.) to perfect effect.

根据演员自身的理解从不同方面来演绎角色也体现了“双Chris”编剧的机敏与才华。他们发现并抓住了这些机遇,就像他们写的从事技术工业的角色。有时候,你能从很小的方面看出来,就像第三季伊始,他们开始创造性地挖掘Toby Huss的经历,塑造成类似于一个神秘而爱挖苦人的弗兰克·西纳特拉(从他每年例行的L.A.Ruby Casoni”圣诞节秀),效果很不错。

They also take very big chances, which is
why HCF is the most feminist primetime drama on TV, without anyone noticing.
The very same writing dexterity that brought us Bosworth’s unique character is
why the series is not a sausage party like HBO’s Silicon Valley. That’s good news
for HFC–it means a longer runway and slower burn rate for the show. Then
again, at least people know what Silicon Valley is roughly about.


The Women


Melissa Bernstein: “The first season
of HCF centered around the Gordon and Joe partnership, but as the story
evolved, Donna and Cameron gravitate towards each other, and form a business
relationship based on something completely different. It gave us all these
opportunities. There’s a lot of mutual respect and trust, and that plays out
differently than the Joe and Gordon partnership, which came together with a
very different power dynamic. How does that work when it’s in the vise of the
technology world with all the pressures that come with success or

Melissa Bernstein:“HCF第一季的核心是GordonJoe的合作关系,但是随着故事的进展,DonnaCameron开始互相吸引,基于完全不同的事物建立了一种不同模式的商业关系。它带给了我们所有这些机遇,这段关系里充满了尊重和信任,它们共同带来的是一种非常不同、不断变化的动力,这与JoeGordon的合作不一样。那么在技世界的背景之下,伴随着不是成功就是失败的巨大压力,这种关系该如何发展?”

It would have been foolish of us not to
take the opportunity to pursue Donna and Cameron. The writers didn’t do it for
the novelty of it or because the male leads weren’t working, it’s that these
characters were so compelling, we wanted to spend as much time with them as we
did with Joe and Gordon. I think a lot is made of it, and I think a lot should
be. There are things still not right in our world between men and women and the
inequality of pay, and there are issues that I think we’re struggling with as a
society. What we see on television and in movies is an important reflection and
exploration of that, and we need to figure out a way to get it right.


Cameron’s character drives the story forward
in unexpected ways, where, at first, she explores complicated work relationship
dynamics as the young female tech genius in a male-dominated workplace in
season one. Then, as the boss, with Donna as female co-pilot in a world they
create as they go along by season two. The differences are fascinating–and


Season three continues the female-driven
story, and the Chris’s have enough confidence in their writing, the story, and
the cast to not need overly-sexualized female leads as only love interests or
crutches to hold the audience’s gaze. This leaves the series with tons of
uncharted territory so often neglected in American television, and they are
stories relevant and interesting to everyone.


We don’t say that a show is “male-led,”
or that an all-male rock band is a “guy band.” The reverse is not
true. HCF does not have token women, inserted in place of men. They are strong,
yes, but also imperfect, nuanced, and fully developed characters. As revealed
in the strange uproar over the female leads in the rebooted Ghostbusters,
somehow the media and entertainment industry feel the need to apologize for or
explain stories with prominently female actors, to those who simply don’t get
it. Coincidentally, Toby Huss had a small role in Ghostbusters, so I asked him
about the film’s backlash, and if that related at all to how people might
perceive Halt’s female-driven story. Here’s his colorful response:

我们不会说一部剧是“男性领导的”,或者说,一个全男性成员的摇滚乐队就是一个“基佬乐队”。反之亦然。HCF并没有让女性角色代替男性角色。她们虽然能力很强,但仍然是有缺点、很微妙、需要充分发展的角色。就像在重启的《捉鬼敢死队》里面因女性领导角色而引发的奇特争论所揭示出的那样,不管怎么样,媒体和娱乐业都感到需要为故事里面显著的女性角色道歉,或者对故事进行解释,就因为那些仅仅不愿意接受她们的人。巧合的是,Toby Huss也在《捉鬼敢死队》里出演了一个小角色,所以我跟他谈到人们对这部电影激烈的反应,还有这种反应是否能从根本上描述人们如何看待HCF这种女性主导的故事。下面是他有意思的回答:

Toby Huss: “The backlash was so
hilarious and so terrible–it reeked of awful mamby-pamby white privilege, just
boys crying about more shit. It’s all white boys, I guarantee–just dicky white
boys whaling on the women, and then they’re whaling on Leslie Jones. My lord,
it was just crazy and awful.”

Toby Huss:“这种激烈反应非常可笑,但也非常可怕,它散发着一种糟糕愚蠢的、白人至上的恶臭,只有男孩们才为这种垃圾乱嚷嚷。我保证,都是白人男孩,只有那些恶劣的白人男孩才疯狂打压女性,打压Leslie Jones。我的上帝,这简直是疯了,而且糟透了。”

But these are two very different things,
that movie and this TV show. Halt is relatively new. The women are such richly
drawn characters, they’re acted so well by Kerry and Mackenzie, and the story
is so compelling, so, it’s a different thing. We’re not raping the halcyon days
of white boys or however these guys perceived they were being emasculated by
women playing the Ghostbusters guys.


In HCF, Donna and Mackenzie–they’re never
talking about boobs–well, ok, they are sometimes–but they’ve got really
progressive women characters on this show whose lives are not dependent on men.
That’s another reason why it’s a special little show and not like most shows on
TV. They don’t go to pool parties and wear bikinis all the time. It’s kind of
fucking refreshing, don’t you think?


Yes. Because the female characters were not
written gender blind, either. They’re not just “male-ish” female
leads. Instead, the Chris’s are cognizant of the differences in the way men and
women think, live in the world, and are treated, and they brilliantly leveraged
it into the story. This is why it’s a captivating ride. You don’t know where
this is going, because no one has done it like this before. There is no obvious
end point for any of them by the end of season two.


Melissa Bernstein: “I think there’s a
ton of misconceptions in the entertainment industry about whether people will
show up to see stories that star women as much as they will to see stories that
focus on a male actor. To my mind, if you tell a great story, it doesn’t matter
what the gender of the leads is, but we have to keep proving that, which is
unfortunate. I’m very much up for that challenge, because I believe it. I think
the proof is in the pudding. Season two of HCF is a great answer to that
question. Can it be compelling? Hell, yeah! Watch the show.”

Melissa Bernstein:“对于人们是否能像接受聚焦于男性演员的故事一样,乐于接受那些光彩照人的女性的故事,我认为娱乐业在这个问题上有很多误解。在我的概念里,只要你讲了个很棒的故事,那么领导者的性别并不重要,但不幸的是,我们得不断证明这一点。我已经对这种挑战做好了充分准备,因为我坚信这一点。我相信一切还得靠实践证明。HCF的第二季对这个问题来说就是一个很棒的答案。女性故事能吸引人吗?是的!请看这部剧吧。”

In season one, engineer Donna Clark
provides a simple but critical space-saving computer design element that her
husband had been struggling with–so critical that it later gets stolen. Actress
Kerry Bishe discusses her progressive role as Donna in a recent interview in
Feminist Frequency:

在第一季,工程师Donna Clark对如何节省电脑空间提出了一个简单但至关重要的设计思路,而她的丈夫为此已头疼许久。这个设计太重要了,以至于随后遭到了剽窃。演员Kerry Bishe最近在《女性频率》(译注:这是一家媒体)的访谈中谈及她所扮演的这个勇敢进取的女性角色。

Kerry Bishe: “I almost forget what a
gift it is that these characters are so multifaceted that they can’t be
described in a single adjective. I’m very picky about the kinds of roles I want
to play. Representation matters to me. People love to talk about “strong
female characters,” but that idea is so limiting. I like to think of
female characters as complex, whole, and also fallible people. The things that
they do badly, their flaws and deficiencies are as important as their skills
and positive qualities. Women characters often operate on this single
trajectory, but Donna really has had the room to grow and change and make
mistakes. It’s one of the biggest, fullest characters I’ve been able to

Kerry Bishe:“我几乎忘了对我而言这是一份多么重要的礼物,因为这些角色复杂而多面,根本无法用单个形容词来描述她们。对于将要扮演的角色,我非常挑剔,因为那代表着我。人们喜欢谈到‘强有力的女性角色’,但是这个概念太狭隘了。我倾向于将女性角色认定为复杂、完整但也容易犯错的人。那些被她们搞砸了的事、她们的缺点和不足,与她们的技能以及正面品质一样重要。女性角色的发展总是遵循着单一的轨迹,但是Donna却拥有成长、改变以及犯错的空间,这是我演过的最重要和最饱满的角色。”

Finally, The 80s Look Like the 80s


The big favor Halt and Catch Fire does for
us is rightly cast the 80s, not with garish cliche, but as the older brother
who knew about the Clash way before you did. Whenever I see that period
depicted on TV or in film, it’s been a caricature–the fashion, the hairstyles,
the music. Noticably, HCF’s entire art department elicits the feel of the 80s
in a way that I haven’t seen on TV yet.


Melissa Bernstein: “We didn’t want the
era to be a sideshow. We wanted it to feel like real
life and never take people out of the story. We want you connecting with
characters and what’s going on in their heads, the internal drama. It’s critical.
If you get lost in the cliches of the era, then we’re really sending our
audience down the wrong path. We worked with our really talented department
heads (like Chris Brown, production designer) to make sure that it was all
well-researched, and that it felt like real life at the time, from color
palettes, to the products themselves, from the computers to the more domestic

Melissa Bernstein:“我们不想把那个年代拍成杂耍助兴节目。我们希望它感觉上就和真实的生活一样,让观众沉浸到故事里面去。我们希望你与角色们产生共鸣,了解他们在脑袋里想些什么,还有他们的内心戏。这很重要。如果你迷失在关于时代的陈腔滥调里面,那我们就确实把观众引入歧途了。我们和一些非常有才华的负责人合作(比如总美工设计师Chris Brown),让这部剧就像是那个年代真实的生活,从色调到道具本身,从计算机到家庭用品,所有这些我们都仔细做过研究。

Our costume designer (Kimberly Adams)
picked fashion designers who lived through that era, and who have an affinity for it, like it meant something to them, and they
really remembered the details of it, and wanted to see them come through in
subtle ways, and worked with the cast to specifically reflect their characters
in those choices. They did a really nice job.

我们的戏服设计师(Kimberly Adams)挑选的服装设计师都是经历过那个时代的人,而且对那个年代很熟悉,就好像那个年代对他们而言有重要意味,他们确实能回忆起那个年代的点点滴滴,希望它通过一些巧妙的方式回归。他们还和演员共同合作,通过精心选择的服饰表现出了角色的性格。在这一点上他们真的做得很棒。

I agree. When we were in Gordon and Donna’s
house, I felt like I was back in the home I grew up in. From the kitchen products,
vintage computer components, macrame on the walls, and watching
Gordon stop at a phone booth to make a call, I see so much familiarity, while
simultaneously noticing how much has changed. What Gordon and Donna are behind
on in domestic home fashions, they make up for in being far ahead of the curve
in ideas–they just don’t know it yet.


Melissa Bernstein: “The first two
years of the show, the feeling was that Donna and Gordon were not people of the
eighties. They were still cruising on the seventies–it takes time. Some people
adapt immediately and get the newest iPhone when it shows up, have the newest
shoes, and stay totally current, but for most of us it takes a while.
Hairstyles and the interior design of your home, that’s not something people
change every year or two. Season three is a totally clean slate for us from a
production design standpoint just because of the setting changing to Silicon
Valley, with fresh eyes–production designer Chris Stearns, and costume
designer Katherine Morrison.”

Melissa Bernstein:“HCF的前两季给人感觉是DonnaGordon不像80年代的人。他们还生活在70年代。从一个时代到另一个时代需要时间。有些人立刻就适应了,一推出就会买最新款的苹果手机,买新款鞋子,完全游走在潮流尖端,但我们大多数人需要时间去消化适应。人们并不会每隔一、两年就改变发型和家里的装潢。从美工设计的角度来说,第三季一切都要从头来过,因为故事的背景搬到了硅谷,所以总美工设计师Chris Srearns和戏服设计师Katherine Morrison带来了全新的眼光。

The 80s delivered our future–in a Members
Only jacket and a Gremlin at times, sure, but look what it brought to the
party. Quite a feat for a show set in the 80s to be one of the most relevant on
television. So why aren’t more people watching it?

80年代,这个“Member only”(译注:服装品牌)夹克衫和“小精灵”并行的年代奠定了我们的未来,毫无疑问,但是看它给派对带来了什么?令一部背景是80年代的电视剧成为电视上最契合那个年代的电视剧,这绝对是个了不起的壮举。那么为什么它没有更多的观众?

Why Doesn’t Anyone Know About the Show?


Ratings-wise, HCF falls under the radar
partly because it’s not called Computer People, and doesn’t feature
relationships simplistic enough to be easily portrayed in a still picture on a
billboard. But is the new season’s promo photo of the cast standing around
computers in an office with serious looks on their faces the only alternative?
It looks like I’m walking into work late and everyone’s mad at me. I don’t want
to go in there. Who would?

从收视率的角度来看,HCF没有引发热度的部分原因在于它没有叫《Computer People》,人物关系也没有简单到能用告示牌上的一张静态照片就描述清楚。但只有像新一季的宣传照一样,让演员都在办公室里围着电脑站好,摆出一副严肃的神情这一条路可走了吗?这种感觉好像就是我上班晚了,所有人都黑脸看着我。我根本不想去上班。谁会想去?

AMC Network’s brilliance lies in its
committed understanding that characters are the bond that keeps an audience
tied to a series. They’re not afraid to hang a show on a seemingly commercially
unviable premise, like Breaking Bad, because they see great characters. They’re
adept at recognizing when to give shows more time, as they’ve done with HCF.
But there seems to be a disconnect between the show and its promotion. It’s
being treated like Gordon was at Cardiff Electric. They didn’t realize they had
a computer genius in their midst until someone took the time to coax him and
give him the attention and resources he needed. Where’s Joe MacMillan when you
need him?

AMC电视网的优势在于他们很明白角色是一部电视剧吸引观众的根本。他们不怕拍一些看起来在商业上不可行的剧本,比如《绝命毒师》,因为他们看到了很棒的角色。他们也愿意给一些剧更多的时间,就像他们续订了HCF的第三季。但是这部剧的宣传和它本身似乎有些脱节。就像Gordon在卡迪夫时那样。卡迪夫的人都没有意识到他们之中有一个电脑天才,直到有人来诱导他,关注他,以及给了他所需要资源。当你需要的时候,Joe MacMillan在哪里呢?

I live in Los Angeles and pass by all the
new show billboards, with dramatic pictures of aliens and international
subterfuge. I understand that it’s a challenge to promote an oddly-titled show
with an internal struggle as dramatic, yet as invisible as the technology it is
about. But honestly, is HCF really any different than M.A.S.H.?


It just seems like AMC was stumped by the
title, shrugged, and moved on. If the name “Halt and Catch Fire”
makes the show the TV equivalent of the impossibly-named band EinsturzendeNeubauten,
then so be it. They’re both still fucking great. The smart ones will find it,
but they shouldn’t have to look so hard. Yes, it’s a challenge to encapsulate
HCF in a sentence, tagline or hashtag (or this would be a shorter article), but
I think its appeal is more universal and important.


It’s ironic, of course, that a show about
people trying to innovate in technology would have trouble being innovatively
publicized in the world of television, but that’s part of what the show is
about: sometimes you can be so good, so right, so ahead of the others, but
you’re still misunderstood, unappreciated, overlooked, your accomplishments
ignored, and you’re gunning a Mustang in neutral. It’s a challenging and
frustrating existence, full of drama, conviction and self-doubt. That’s why it’s
so good. Of course, it’s even more ironic that it’s on the same network that
brought everyone’s favorite ad man, Don Draper, to life. How would he advertise
the show?

令人啼笑皆非的是,这部关于人们进行技术创新的电视剧却在这个电视的世界里面难以得到创新性的宣传,但这就是这部剧内容的一部分:有时候你很棒,完全正确,非常前卫,但你依然难以被理解,被赞赏。人们不予理会。你的成果被忽视,就像用空枪来打野马。这的确是充满挑战与令人沮丧的现实,满是戏剧性、坚定的信念和自我怀疑。但这也正是这部剧的魅力所在。当然更讽刺的是,该剧和人人都爱的《广告狂人》同属一个电台,如果是Don Draper(译注:《广告狂人》男主角)活了过来,他会怎么推广这部电视剧呢?

Toby Huss: “We all love the show, and
we love doing it, and we’re all so invested in it, just because it’s a great
thing. It’s one of those rare shows, and we all know that it’s a privilege to
work with these kinds of people, and the crew is really wonderful. You just
want more people to watch it. I think people are starting to online. HCF is
like a kid on the autism spectrum. It’s a special child, and he needs a little
special attention. You can’t just put him in gen-pop and hope everything works

Toby Huss:“我们都喜欢这部剧,很高兴能参加拍摄。大家都很投入,因为我们认为它棒极了。这是部很罕见的电视剧,大家都明白和这些人一起工作是一种殊荣,整个剧组也很棒。我们只希望更多的人能来看这部剧。我认为大家开始上网了。HCF像个自闭症儿童,他是个特殊的孩子,需要一点特殊的关注。你不能只是把他丢进芸芸众生,然后希望每件事都圆满解决。

The members of the online community around
HCF found each other organically, so technology’s gift of social media is where
you find the devotion of HCF’s fans is in action. There they are, on Instagram,
Facebook, Twitter, and fan blogs with titles like “Save Halt and Catch
Fire” started by fans fearful of the show being canceled. Innovation
always comes, it just depends on who gets to it first.


Why Halt and Catch Fire is Important


As kids scurry back to school, and adults
list their annual regrets for their never-got-to-it summer plans, we’re all
wishing to be immersed in other realities, lives, and eras–our news can be too
brutal, our politics too loud, our own lives too small. We may wonder how it
all got this way. That’s why I love HCF. It reverse engineers our everyday
lives, spooling back to before computers and the internet went on their first
real date. It takes our current technology, parsed into its components, and
with impeccable acting, smartly attaches human context and story to each one.
Though we know what is at stake, and which technology eventually wins out, the
characters don’t.


They don’t know that in our present, we
watch a man die as his girlfriend live streams the incident on Facebook, or
that, in the unrest that ensued, more people died. They don’t know that the
image of a Syrian boy, pulled from the rubble, is instantly transmitted around
the world and gets the attention of millions of Americans about a tragically
overlooked conflict, and may impact decisions on military actions. I wrote this
long-ass article about a television show because I think it’s a really
important series, raising important questions about our relationship to
technology, to each other, the differences between the way men and women run
things, and how that could be used for good, instead of, well, evil.


What are you reading this on–a computer or
a phone? How do you know how much money you have in the bank? How will you tell
your friend you’re running late because you spent too much time on Facebook?
Text?Email? Where do you spend the bulk of your social life? Online or with
your friends and family?


We changed technology and technology
changed us. The evolution of both changed our world. It begs the question of
whether or not we are really more connected. Can we make the world a better
place with technology and connection? These people thought so. That’s the heart
of this show, and why I think it’s the most compelling and relevant show you
could watch this year.


The series makes me wonder if we can be
better stewards of the possibility they gave us, or do we have to type in (HCF)
and start from scratch? The future is eternally determined by what is behind
us. The series has an ongoing, permanent cliffhanger: what will we do with
technology and what will it do to us?


Toby Huss: “You can’t really be a
citizen in the world, make plane reservations, go to dinner, do things, hang
out, send text messages, and make phone calls without using a massive amount of
technology every day. It’s a great thing, but I still shut the phone off and go
meandering on two lane roads. That’s great to me, too. Not having information
available is really nice–I like not knowing things, I like not being reachable
all the time.”

Toby Huss:“如果离开了每天都在大量应用的科学技术,你就无法成为一个社会人,无论是订机票,吃晚餐,办事,闲逛,发短信还是打电话。这很棒,但我有时也会关了电话,在小巷里漫步。这对我来说也很棒。不接收信息也挺不错——我喜欢整天谁也找不到我,我什么都不知道。

Is there anything else you’d like to say to
people about the show?


Toby Huss: “Yeah, why aren’t more
fuckers watching this?”

Toby Huss:“有啊,为什么没有更多的伙计来看这部剧?”

感谢翻译:一入盗门深似海  Elenaeril_LLAP  某可某可

校对:小粘粘_兮兮最爱的小蝴蝶  九九酱帅裂苍穹

编辑:  丹泽尔影帝