Monday, April 7, 2008

What's in a Title? Often a Title—and Nothing More

“Kiss me, Kate.” By Susanna Grant. Perf. Scott Wolf, Neve Campbell, Matthew Fox, and Lacey Chabert. Dir. Richard Pearce. Party of Five. Season 1, episode 8. FOX. 2 November 1994. DVD. Sony, 2008.
My hopes were too high, I suppose, when I encountered an episode entitled “Kiss me, Kate” of a television show called Party of Five.

“It’s a derivative of a Shakespearean derivative,” I thought excitedly.

Alas, it was another titular reference to Shakespearean materal—and nothing more. Essentially, it’s the tale of a high school boy who wants to sleep with his high school girlfriend, cannot believe her audacity when she refuses him—on moral grounds, no less—and breaks up with her. I suppose there might be a Measure for Measure allusion in there somewhere, but it’s not exactly overt, if so.

It’s a bit of a shame that that episode didn’t have much ado about . . . sorry . . . much to do with . . . Shakespeare. I mean, just look at all these great titles from episodes thoughout the show’s run:
Season 1, Episode 7: Much Ado
Season 1, Episode 22: The Ides of March
Season 5, Episode 4: A Mid-Semester's Night Dream
Season 6, Episode 23: All's Well . . .
Season 6, Episode 24: . . . That Ends Well
But, unless I hear otherwise (any Party of Five fanatics out there?), I’ll assume that each of these has as little to do with Shakespeare as the one listed above does.

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Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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