This post will look at Affect Theory; which analyses what spectators experience with their body and senses when viewing media texts, with the sixteenth episode of the third season of One Tree Hill (2003).
The main premise of this episode deals with a school shooting when troubled and bullied teen, Jimmy Edwards (Colin Fickes), brings a gun to school. “Feelings are personal and biographical, emotions are social, and affects are pre-personal” (Shouse, 2005), this episode allows a connection to be formed as the episode not only shows the emotional mind state of Jimmy but it also depicts the perspectives of the main characters trapped in the school.
Steven Shaviro, defined the use of contemporary editing as being used “directly towards a moment-by-moment manipulation of the spectators affect state” (Shaviro, 2010: 141). Within this episode the director has chosen to have scenes edited together which switch back-and-forth showing jimmy and the students inside the school and parents and adults outside the school. This creates the feeling of intensity and suspense as the audience wonder if the students are going to make it out alive to reunited with their respected families and friends, they are also left wondering what is going to happen next both inside and outside the school.
It is through the last sequence and scene that creates a haunting affect with the spectator both physically and emotionally. Here the character Keith Scott (Craig Sheffer); uncle of Lucas Scott, makes the decision to enter the school to reason with Jimmy Edwards. “Let me clarify that the transmission of affect does not mean that one person’s feelings become another’s” (Shouse, 2005), while this is true with the exchange of these two characters, Keith details and explains to Jimmy how he has been in the same position in life that Jimmy currently finds himself in. For the spectator, this highlights mental illness, as it shows that at the end of the day we are all human who often find ourselves struggle with depression and inner demons.
“Music provides perhaps the clearest example of how the intensity of the impingement of sensations on the body can “mean” more to people than meaning itself” (Shouse, 2005), the use of a haunting orchestral instrumental played after the suicide of Jimmy Edwards, creates a raw emotion for spectators, as they are affected by the fact that in the end Jimmy couldn’t be saved as, since it all became too much for him.
A monologue by Lucas Scott juxtaposes on top of the instrumental. “The transmission of affect is about the way that bodies affect one another” (Shouse, 2005), with slowed down editing the scene depicts shots of the student consoling each other after hearing the chilling sound of the gunshot. However, the scene comes full circle with the sudden appearance of Dan Scott (Paul Johansson), who proceeds to pick up the gun shooting his brother Keith, leaving audiences in a state of shock as they know after this day nothing will be the same before fading to black.
Shouse, Eric. “Feeling, Emotion, Affect.” M/C Journal 8.6 (2005). 12 Nov. 2016 <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0512/03-shouse.php>.
One Tree Hill (2003). Season 3 Episode 16. Television Network: The WB. USA March 1st 2006