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Lucy Ricardo. I'm all sorts, Shadow. The screen is the altar. I'm the one they sacrifice to. Then till now. Golden Age to Golden Age. They sit side by side, ignore each other, and give it up to me. Now they hold a smaller screen on their lap or in the palm of their hand so they don't get bored watching the big one. Time and attention, better than lamb's blood.

–Media to Shadow, "The Secret of Spoons"

Media, is one of the New Gods and is a personification of mass media, pop culture, fame and entertainment. By season two, she evolved into New Media.

Background[]

Media has been around for a long time, although not as long as the Old Gods. She saw the Martian invasion in 1938 (The War of the Worlds radio drama causing panic) as the effect of mass delusions.


Significance in series[]

"The Secret of Spoons"[]

Wednesday gives Shadow a list and sends him shopping. Shadow heads to a superstore to get the items on Wednesday's list, including maps, romance novels, cigarettes, and vodka. As he is walking through the store, I Love Lucy is playing on one of the TVs in the store's entertainment section. Lucy calls out to Shadow from the TV, stopping him. He unplugs the TV and all of the TVs in the display go black before Lucy appears again. She explains the screen is the altar and she is the one they sacrifice their time and attention to. She offers Shadow a job to work for her because Wednesday isn't even yesterday while she is today and tomorrow. She is impressed by how Shadow handled the Technical Boy and she won't underestimate him. Shadow refuses her offer. She tells him she is trying to help him.

"Lemon Scented You"[]

Technical Boy leaves a club and heads to his limo. The lights overhead go out and a virtual reality box is waiting for him. Technical Boy is transported to a meeting with Ziggy Stardust (Media as David Bowie from Hunky Dory). Ziggy scolds Technical Boy for hanging Shadow and beating up the wrong guy. He states that Mr. World is demanding for Technical Boy to apologize to Wednesday and Shadow. Technical Boy argues that Mr. Wednesday is recruiting gods and should be stopped but Ziggy says Technical Boy is turning Wednesday into a martyr. Technical Boy claims it is delusional that an apology will make any difference. Ziggy explains that delusions create gods all on their own and that's all Wednesday needs is just enough, even just one person, to believe.

Shadow and Wednesday are locked up together in an interrogation room. The lights dim, the door opens, and Marilyn Monroe (from The Seven Year Itch) floats into the room. Wednesday tells her they don't have any business with her. Shadow begs for it to not be real as footsteps sound down the hallway. Mr. World enters and apologizes to Wednesday for not seeing him. Wednesday warns Shadow to not speak to Mr. World. Mr. World frees Shadow from his handcuffs and tells him he already knows all about him from his blood type to his nightmares. Everything about Shadow is stored and recorded in the Book of Life.

Marilyn coughs politely to remind Mr. World to stay on track. He whistles for Technical Boy. Technical Boy enters and apologizes for lynching Shadow. Mr. World slams Technical Boy onto the table and offers to let Shadow hit him and knock out his front teeth. Shadow refuses. Mr. World absolves Technical Boy for his crime against Shadow and has him sit next to Wednesday to offer his sales pitch. Technical Boy explains how the New Gods want to offer Wednesday the opportunity to evolve with them and they will help him find his own audience. Mr. World is offering a merger with the Old Gods and to upgrade Wednesday.

Marilyn clicks a remote and the walls light up with images of the ODIN guidance satellite to be launched over North Korea. Wednesday will be re-branded and 24.9 million people will know his name, giving him a lasting place in tomorrow. Wednesday slams his hand on the table and refuses, saying they offer him exile, not a merger. The New Gods simply occupy time while the Old Gods gave people meaning. Mr. World tells Wednesday to give them meaning again before he leaves with Marilyn following after.

Technical Boy stops them, asking why Mr. World is letting Wednesday go when he has him right there. Mr. World explains that Wednesday is older than Technical Boy will ever be and has wisdom and knowledge that Technical Boy does not have. He is giving Wednesday an opportunity and respect. Technical Boy says, "fuck respect." Marilyn blows a kiss to Technical Boy and knocks out his two front teeth. As the New Gods leave, Mr. World tells them he is not their enemy.

"Come to Jesus"[]

Easter opens the door to her home and greets Hannah Brown (Media as Judy Garland from Easter Parade) and one of the Children dressed as Don Hewes (Fred Astaire). Hannah reminds Ostara of their tradition of celebrating Easter together, having merged pagan beliefs into media gimmicks, like peeps and bunnies and brunch. Easter guides her outside to meet her sheep.

Wednesday spots Hannah and Easter strolling the grounds outside. Hannah asks about Wednesday and Easter admits he was trying to recruit her. The faceless Don begins to split into multiple Dons as Hannah questions Easter. The New Gods make Old Gods new again and she wants to know why Easter would listen to Wednesday. Easter replies that it is because she is feeling "misrepresented in the media." Hannah explains that the Old Gods have to evolve in order to survive in an atheist world.

Mr. Wednesday arrives as the Children circle protectively around Easter and Hannah. He argues with Hannah about the distribution methods of worship. Technical Boy takes over one of the Children and enters the conversation, warning Wednesday that he can't fight progress. Wednesday points out the New Gods wouldn't be there if he wasn't a threat. Hannah claims they are there for Easter because Wednesday doesn't matter anymore. Wednesday insists he still matters because gods make things happen to cause belief.

Mr. World takes over another one of the Children. As Mr. World speaks, storm clouds gather above. He tells Wednesday that he only matters when it comes to war and there isn't going to be a war. The New Gods have all the advanced technology while the Old Gods are left with swords and hammers. Whether they fight or not makes no difference because the Old Gods will die out either way. Wednesday responds by dedicating deaths to Ostara just as lightning strikes the circle of Children, killing them all.

Wednesday turns to Shadow and asks if he has faith. Shadow asks for a third time for Wednesday to tell him who he is. Wednesday recites some of his many names to Shadow before finally revealing himself to be Odin. He commands Ostara to show the New Gods who she really is. Easter steps forward and lifts her arms to the air, bringing a change in the wind and clearing the thunderclouds. She takes away the spring, causing life to retreat underground throughout the country as it returns to its winter state.

Mr. World tells Wednesday he has his war. Wednesday announces the believers and non-believers can have their spring back when they pray for it. He asks Shadow if he believes and Shadow answers that he believes "everything." Laura clears her throat to announce her presence and asks to speak with her husband.

"House on the Rock (episode)"[]

After the Caretaker allows Mr. World and Technical Boy into the Black Briar bunker, Mr. World tasks Technical Boy to find his "best salesman," Media.

"The Beguiling Man"[]

Technical Boy stands in the middle of Times Square, calling for Media to come out. He reads a message from Media in the form of a commercial on one of the screens. He tells her to get in the car but she protests with another message about advertising being an art form of the 20th century. Technical Boy tells her that it is ancient history, like her 20th century faces. Media talks through his phone about needing insight after Wednesday attacked them at Easter's. She is adapting and evolving and will not return until she is ready in her new form. Technical Boy switches to his own Backstage to track Media who has gone "ghost in [his] machine" and is using his technology to hide in. He confronts her electric ball and tells her Mr. World needs her before he flicks her off to put her face on.



Physical appearance[]

Media does not have any proper physical appearance - while being a female entity, she always manifests as a character or a fictional persona part of America's popular culture. So far, she was seen under four different shapes:

  • Lucy Ricardo, from the sitcom I Love Lucy.
  • Ziggy Stardust, a stage persona of the singer David Bowie.
  • Marilyn Monroe in the movie The Seven-Years Itch.
  • Hannah Brown in the movie Easter Parade.


Powers and abilities[]

Media is the goddess and embodiment of mass media and global content, able to manipulate and control every of its aspects, from entertainment to information. She is able to manifest, see and speak through televisions and the characters or people appearing on their screen. Her control of televisions extends to the ability of modifying their broadcast (changing screen formats or the colorization at will) or keep them functionning despite being unplugged. She explains to Shadow in The Secret of Spoons that she feeds of the time and attention human beings offer by sitting and watching screens (her "altars") in a ritualistic way, be it television screens or smartphone screens. Media can manifest outside of televisions, by taking the shape and appearance of icons from popular media - be it a movie charater or a singer persona. Media has shown numerous other supernatural powers in Lemon Scented You such as levitating (she floats into the interrogation room), telekinesis (by blowing a kiss to Technical Boy, she punches him hard enough to knock out his front teeth) and reality-warping (not only can she manifest a spotlight on her as if she was on a stage, but she also turns the walls of the interrogation room into giant screens).

Media is the mouthpiece of the New Gods, considered by Mr. World to be his "best salesman" and used by him to either keep his underlings in check or negociate peace matters. She has the ability to make deals with the Old Gods, offering them mediatic representation in exchange of favors and alliances: she made such a deal with Ostara (she popularized her holiday as Easter) and with Saint Nicholas (that she turned into the popular figure of Santa Claus).

Season Two shows that Media has the ability to force herself into an "upgrade", a form of metamorphosis in order to survive the evolution of media and the development of technology and the Internet.


Gallery[]

Cultural background[]

Media, in the television series, is the embodiment of the 20th century mass media and pop culture. To update her to the 2010s, Bryan Fuller and Michael Green decided to expand her character, changing her from an embodiment of television to the incarnation of fame, popularity and entertainment as a whole. This covers as much television and series as cinema, movies, songs, music, radio and cartoons. Media always manifests by taking the appearance and persona of a pop culture icon, "dead persons that contributed greatly to the artistic landscape" [1] and "enhanced culture [...] in a positive way".[2] It should be noted however that Media, just like her novel counterpart, never takes the appearance or the personality of an actor, a singer or a real-life person: she always appears as a fictional character represented or created by an actor, a singer or a real-life person. In the first season, Media appears under four different shapes:

  • In The Secret of Spoons, Media appears as the character of Lucy Ricardo, played by Lucy Ball in the sitcom I Love Lucy. I Love Lucy is an American sitcom that was the most watched television show of the 1950s and is regarded as the most popular and influential sitcom in history. Media refers to the airing of a colorized version of the originally black-and-white show in 2013, 62 years after the premiere of the show, that gathered eight million viewers.
  • In Lemon Scented You, Media appears at first as Ziggy Stardust, the scenic character created by the singer David Bowie in the 1970s, considered to be his most iconic persona. Her dialogue is entirely made-up of lyrics from David Bowie's songs : Rebel Rebel ("got your transmission and your live wire"), Space Oddity ("your circuit's dead"), Under Pressure ("a terror knowing what Mr. World is about"), Cat People ("putting out the fire with gasoline"), Starman ("Starmen waiting in the sky"), Oh You Pretty Things ("Oh, you pretty thing you") and Life on Mars "beating up the wrong guy".
  • In the same episode, Media appears as "The Girl" played by Marilyn Monroe in the movie The Seven Year Itch. This movie is one of the most famous of Monroe's career, and the scene of Marilyn standing on a subway grate as the air lifts her white dress is considered one of the most iconic scenes of the entire 20th century. Many considered that Marilyn Monroe actually played her own role in the movie, and indeed Media seems to have taken here the public persona of the actress more than her character. Media quotes several lines pronounced by Marilyn Monroe in her movies ("It's just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor man" comes from Gentlemen prefer blondes, while the champagne and potato chips reference comes from The Seven-Year Itch). She also mentions a very popular conspiracy theory concerning the death of Marilyn Monroe: that she was murdered by the CIA or the FBI due to her involvment with and knowledge of secrets concerning the Kennedy family.
  • In Come to Jesus, to visit Ostara during her Easter party, Media takes an Easter-related appearance: the one of Hannah Brown, the character played by Judy Garland in the musical movie Easter Parade. Accompanying her are Children dressed as Don Hewes, the character played by Fred Astaire in the movie. Once more, her dialogue is mostly made up of quotes from Easter Parade: "We're a couple of swells", "Never saw you look quite so pretty before" or "I could hardly wait to keep our date this lovely Easter morning, and [my] heart beat fast as [I] came through the door."

Other personas and characters were discussed and considered by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green. For Come to Jesus the use of the scenic persona of Prince, the popular and world-acclaimed singer, was talked about. In their original plans for season 2, the showrunners had also planned for Media to appear as Mr. Rogers from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (an educational children's television series created by Fred Rogers that aired in the later half of the 20st century) and as Princess Leia from the movie franchise Star Wars (considered a pop culture phenomenon and the most popular film franchise of history).

Media is also the goddess of mass delusions, and this since one of her earliest incarnations, as the goddess of radio. She explains in Lemon Scented You that she had her part in the 1938 "War of the Worlds" broadcast, an episode of the Mercury Theater on Air radio drama that adapted the eponymous novel of H.G. Wells as if it was a real series of evening radio broadcast and news bulletin, not the reading of a science-fiction book about an alien invasion. This created a mass panic, many believing America to really be under attack. It should be noted however that this belief was quite small according to historians and that the idea of the broadcast causing a national mass hysteria is merely a urban legend and an exaggeration of the truth.

In The Secret of Spoons Media is seen controlling other "usual" television broadcasts, including a cartoon, a news report, a fitness advertisement, a sportive match commentary and a weather report. Her mention of, and warning about suicide in this same episode may be a reference to the high rate of suicide among celebrities and the mediatization of said suicides.

Notes and trivia[]

  • Media in the television series is a synthetization of two groups of New Gods in the novel: Media and the "TV people" on one side (the New Gods of television) and the "players" of Hollywood on the other side (the gods of fame and celebrity).
  • A theory claims that Media was secretly present during the flashbacks to Laura's past in Git Gone. This theory argues that the Woody Woodpecker cartoons seen on television during different scenes are shapes Media took - pointing out that the reactions of the character of Woody always correspond to what happens in Laura's living room (Woody walking the plank to his death when Laura discovers her cat dead, Woody looking very interested when Shadow and Laura begin to have sex, and acting flirtingly with another character as they make love...). But this may also simply be a simple visual joke.
  • For Season Two, the character of Media has evolved into "New Media," the goddess of global content, a cyberspace chameleon, who is also a master of manipulation.[3].
  • Neil Gaiman confirmed that Media and New Media are two separate characters, and not the same character under another name. [4]


References[]

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