This Metaphorical Bar ep. 9: Trope: Trapped in a Cabin

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Production notes: We fixed the previous issue with the popping and cutting out in Robyn’s recording. Yay! And promptly ran into another issue where there is now a faint echo in her recording. Boo. Working on that resolution now, but we recorded a few episodes before we realized it was happening.

Who We Are

I’m Carla M. Lee, an author, artist, and attorney living in the Midwest USA, and I’ve trapped myself in a cabin (also known as my studio) to avoid the cold and the snow.

I’m Karen Healey, an author and teacher living in Otautahi New Zealand, and I’m coming to you LIVE from my mother’s house in Oamaru. (not actually live)

I’m Robyn Fleming, a parent and writer in Tucson, Arizona, and two nights before my wedding I got trapped in an elevator with Karen Healey – but, not being fictional persons, we didn’t make out. I love everyone in this metaphorical bar!

What We’re Drinking

Karen: sparkling feijoa and apple water with added terrible watermelon vodka

Carla: peppermint hot chocolate with marshmallows, whipped cream, whipped cream rum, and a peppermint stick

Robyn: Mountain Dew Voltage – raspberry citrus and ginseng (and it, like last time Robyn tried different Mountain Dew flavor, ended up being pretty terrible)

Episode Summary

Topic: Trapped in a Cabin trope

  • Trapped in a cabin is a stand-in phrase for the trapped in an enclosed space trope (i.e., forced close proximity)
  • Karen wanted to do this trope because she wanted Carla to talk about the romance she wrote with a trapped in the cabin plot
  • Appeal includes:
    • forced to rely on another person to survive for whatever reason, no matter whether they’re friends already, or lovers, or enemies — important part is that they have to learn to work together in a dangerous situation
    • trapped in a cabin works because cold weather is terrifying and you might die if you don’t snuggle
    • creates an emotional intimacy, though not always a romantic one
    • sometimes emotional intimacy can be more powerful for the characters than a sexual one
    • disparate group of people come together or are brought together and have to deal with everything that goes wrong, including their own personalities, lies, etc.
    • good way to get characters who struggle to work together to be forced to work together for survival
    • can be used to amplify old tensions and build new tensions
  • Is a romance trope, but is not only a romance trope – can be seen in comedy, sci-fi (including space opera), horror, murder mystery, etc.
  • When you’re trapped in a horror cabin, the ones who die are the ones who split off from the group — human evolutionary thing, we are a people who have to work together for survival
    • the real danger, even more than monsters or murderers, can be the secrets the group brings with them, their personality clashes, the way people hurt each other even when they’re fighting to survive
  • Can be interesting in an ongoing series when the trope is left open-ended — people are trapped and issues come out, but not everything is resolved after
  • Different ways to get into the situation — sometimes it’s a couple going somewhere and the environment traps them, or a group of friends or classmates out on a trip and the monster comes or people brought together by an outside party with their own agenda
  • Hate the romantic version where friends lock two people in a closet — a forced set-up situation to get them together, and it’s super manipulative of the friends

Things Mentioned in the Episode

Ask Your Friendly Neighborhood Bartender

TC Harris: Where is the ideal place to read?

Basically anywhere. Carla likes to read in moving vehicles (when she’s not driving), other people get carsick. Robyn is trying to read less in bed because it is not helping her insomnia. But mostly: we all want to read everywhere.

And a random additional question from Robyn: Could you survive trapped in a cabin without anything to read?

Karen: Yes, but would hate it and would spend the whole time fine-tuning the story of how I ended up in the cabin until it was great.

Carla: The question is not could you but would you want to? But seriously, yes, because I tell myself stories all the time anyway.

Robyn: Karen and Carla know she’d survive because she’s a complete badass.

Carla: @carlamlee on TwitterTumblrInstagram
Karen: @kehealey on Twitter, @karenhealey on Tumblr, and karenandrobyn.com
Robyn: @robyn_writing on Twitter

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