Harlots in a Saloon: The LXD

Art is interesting. To me, at least. Dancing as rhetoric is also interesting to me. Shows specifcially dedicated to dancing as a metaphor for fighting and war is also neuron-firing. The LXD is a web-show from Hulu that I have discussed previously. I feel obligated to point out that the story lines’s a bit cheesy and the acting leaves a lot to be desired, but what they lack in acting ability, they make up for in pure dancing talent. At times, though, I can’t quite figure out the kind of symbolism that they choose to use.

Okay, an example would be nice, right? Let’s use the costumes then. In season 2 of LXD, we learn that there is not just one bad guy (the doctor), but multiple villains with the addition of this, um, shamrock guy?

Okay, not really. He’s supposed to look like a dapper wild west character–you know, very rich man in a saloon and all that, but don’t you think it looks a little Lucky Charms? Anyway, the wild west saloon motif is the style that he and his crew take on.

The evil doctor on the other hand makes even less sense. He himself dresses kinda like a PI from a film noir. See:

His crew seems to change with each episode. In “The Greater of Two Evils,” his band of thieves dress in a late Victorian Era-esque way–bowler hat and umbrella included. In this episode, then, we have the Wild West fighting the English “gentleman” (albeit modernized) with an always interesting dance sequence.

Now, it would make some sense if this kind of symbolism were consistent. On the one hand there’s the really wild and sporadic dancers–they crunk, they run up walls, their arms and limbs flail in wild directions and they wear saloon like gear in order to represent that wildness; that rebelliousness. The other bad guy, the doctor, is methodical, right? So his crew wears bowlers, they work as a team with specific choreography and have more restrained movements. Here’s the thing, though. This isn’t always the case with the doctor’s crew. He works in some kind of abandoned prison/insane asylum/hospital and he runs experiments on people who end up just as wild as the Wild Westers. Is this merely a case of it-seemed-cool-so-we-did-it?

Even more confusing is why the good guys, the LXD, would choose to dress western themselves when they go to face the Wild West Crew in “The Good, the Bad, and the Ra Part 1.”

What are they trying to convey with the costumes? Why would the good guys try to adopt the identity of a bad guy? What am I supposed to take from this? What is this costume trying to say to me? I’m just not so sure. Overall, this may be why this show is only okay. The dancing and choreography is amazing, so I keep watching, but if it weren’t then this inattention to story development would have me running for the hills. It appears that they aren’t conscious of their own rhetoric and that might be part of what creates these other problems. I’ll keep watching if I can, though. As long as the dance sequences continue to take up the majority of these episodes.

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