Out of Frame


About this show

Video essays that explore the intersection of art, culture, and big ideas written & produced by FEE's Director of Media, Sean W. Malone.

Carnival Row's Fantasy World Is Actually Your Reality

August 13, 2020

SPOILERS AHEAD! Carnival Row on Amazon Prime might be one of the best shows you’ve probably never seen. The first season has been out for nearly a year, but its themes about identity-group tensions and an out-of-touch political class are more relevant than ever.

Given everything that’s happening in America right now—especially as it’s an election year—it should be very clear just how vast the chasm of understanding is between our political leaders and the people who have to live with the results of their decisions. Flavor-of-the-day hot takes and partisan-fueled bickering might make good sound bites, but they fail to accomplish anything meaningful. Worse, they add fuel to the fiery divisiveness of our discourse that dominates our news, our social media, and even our real-life relationships.

Carnival Row might be set in steampunk-Victorian fantasy world filled with non-human races and more than a little bit of magic, but the characters that inhabit it are dealing with issues that are remarkably similar to ours.

Solving the problems facing both the characters in Carnival Row and us in real life won’t happen by granting the government more power over what is or is not allowed or just electing the “right people” to office. And it certainly isn’t seeing an individual as a member of an identity group instead of as a person.

But what is the solution?


Produced by Sean W. Malone
Written by Jen Maffessanti & Sean W. Malone
Edited by Paul Nelson
Asst. Edited by Jason Reinhardt


--Name-Calling and Misconceptions--

--Out of Touch Leaders and Wishful Thinking--

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