It’s a hard thing to decide on. It’s interesting, say, with Community. I think they strike that balance very well [between self-aware and simply being precious or parodic], in that they manage to do things that are clearly referential, but have them be motivated by character rather than simply something existing. I remember in the writers’ room, them talking about the Pulp Fiction briefcase—how that could, in the My Dinner With Andre episode I directed [“Critical Film Studies”], conceivably be something that Jeff would have bought, and how that can lead to that kind of situation, rather than going, “How are we going to get some situation whereby someone has an allergic reaction and you need to plunge a hypodermic needle into them?” I suppose it’s trying to motivate things from character as much as possible. There’s a thin line between it simply looking like you are referencing things because you think they’re cool and the camera psychologically being sympathetic to the manner in which this character wishes to be seen.
- Richard Ayoade, from an interview with AV Club in June 2011, when discussing his directorial debut, Submarine
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