The title of the short story “Let’s Go to the Videotape” by Fiona Maazel has both a literal and a symbolic meaning.
In a literal sense, the title is a direct reference to the videos Nick makes of Gus. Nick films various moments of Gus’ development and shares them with his friends or uploads them on social media platforms. He also sends one of his videos to a televised contest which he ultimately wins. Nick makes the videos available to the public so he can connect with other people and share his memories of Gus with them.
In a symbolic sense, the title reflects Nick’s use of videos and social media to cope with the loss of his wife. The title is a reference to a catch phrase used by Warner Wolf, a famous sports anchor. He used the phrase “Let’s go to the videotape!” on a regular basis as a cue for the programme to switch to a video of the game he was reporting on. This reflects how Nick uses his son’s private experiences as a source of entertainment. He draws joy from watching his son develop. However, the videos also give him a certain emotional distance from his son: “There was, also, a hint of the disconnect that afflicts people who are filming an event instead of participating in (…) Nick beheld this spectacle at a distance, and continued to film”. Nick detaches himself from reality while filming, and he rewatches the videos to entertain himself.
However, Nick uses these videos without considering the impact they have on his son. After Nich has submitted the video to the contest, Gus tries to tell Nick about his worries about the video and the problems it has caused him at school. However, Nick ignores these concerns and is, instead, preoccupied by his own feelings: “Which probably had not mollified Gus, but which had filled Nick with the kind of anticipation he hadn’t felt since his second date with his wife”.
Similarly, when later watching the school video made by Gus, Nick realises that “those same joys had sunk his boy into selfrecrimination and despair”. Therefore, the title can also refer to Gus’ video. The videos are used by Nick to distract himself, but Gus’ video makes him aware of his son’s feelings and perhaps adds to his grief and guilt. However, despite Gus’ reaction, Nick uses Gus’ video as a way to deal with his own worries, failing once more to take into consideration his son’s problems. Since his wife's death, Nick has missed sharing Gus' big moments with someone so finding this social media outlet is a way out of that loneliness.
The exposition introduces the setting and characters of the short story. The story begins in medias res, or in the ...