From This Might Be A Wiki

song name Protagonist
artist They Might Be Giants
releases Join Us
year 2011
run time 2:49
sung by John Flansburgh


I think a song like "Protagonist" from Join Us might be a good example of a terrain that is fully in the realm of TMBG. There is a self-reflexive element in the song where "answer lines" in the lyric resemble stage directions or notes in a film scripts, and these asides are kind of the spark that drove the writing, and I hope drives the interest in the listener.[1]
  • A spec script is a screenplay written for the purpose of demonstration that does not include camera angles, fine details, or instructions from the writer. Appropriately, the secondary Flansburgh vocal in the song seems to be reciting such a script.
  • "The iris" refers to an iris shot, a technique for closing a scene by forcing the view into an increasingly smaller circle against a black background.
  • John Flansburgh has stated that the stage direction lines in this song were mostly taken from an instructional book about writing screenplays.

Song Themes

Body Parts, Criminal Activities, Dreams, Geography, Hair, Hands, Heads, Lies And Deception, Loneliness, Love Gone Sour, Misanthropy, Movies, Music, Occupations, Precious Metal, Problems With Liner Notes, Real Estate, Songs With Handclaps, Telecommunication, This Town, Title Not In Lyrics, Transportation, Writing


Current Rating

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Protagonist is currently ranked #347 out of 1010. (88 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.52)