The Fall of the House of Usher: “When Life Hands you Lemons…” | Transcript

Roderick Usher's monologue on his lemon scheme in 'The Fall of the House of Usher' unveils capitalism's dark side and media's manipulative power
The Fall of the House of Usher: "When life hands you lemons..."


The monologue by Roderick Usher in the episode “Murder in the Rue Morgue” from the TV series The Fall of the House of Usher presents a fascinating blend of cynicism, wit, and a deep critique of modern capitalism and media manipulation. Roderick’s speech is not just a simple rejection of the adage “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” but a profound commentary on how opportunism, greed, and the quest for power can shape societal values and behaviors.

At the core, Roderick Usher’s strategy involves exploiting a basic human instinct—desire. By creating an artificial scarcity of lemons, he outlines a hypothetical yet plausible plan to manipulate public perception and demand. This plan is emblematic of how certain products or ideas become desirable not through inherent value but through constructed narratives that play on emotions, exclusivity, and status. The reference to lemons being the “must-have accessory” and the necessity of having them to express love or achieve sexual desirability is a direct jab at how consumerism has intertwined with personal relationships and self-worth.

The mention of “lemon lobbyists” and the involvement of celebrities and influencers such as a Kardashian and Timothée Chalamet, alongside the strategic use of media (including a leaked sex tape and a hashtag campaign), showcases the lengths to which entities will go to create and sustain a market for their product. This is further exaggerated by the inclusion of absurd elements, such as the lemon suppository supplement recommended by Dr. Oz and the genetic modification of lemons to resemble breasts, highlighting the absurdity of consumer culture’s susceptibility to trends and the manipulation of natural products for profit.

The dark turn towards patenting seeds and suing farmers over naturally occurring genetic cross-pollination is a critique of corporate control over agriculture and the monopolization of food sources. This aspect of Roderick’s plan touches on real-world controversies surrounding GMOs, patent laws, and the ethical implications of biotechnological advancements in agriculture.

Roderick’s concluding statement to “make some fucking lemonade” only after exploiting every conceivable benefit from the artificially created lemon craze is a cynical encapsulation of his worldview. It suggests that only after maximizing personal gain, often at the expense of others and ethical considerations, does one partake in the simple pleasures or acts of creation.

This monologue is a rich text for analysis as it serves as a mirror to the audience, reflecting the complexities and often unpalatable truths about our society’s values, ethics, and priorities. Roderick Usher, through his cynicism and manipulation, becomes a darkly comedic figure embodying the extremes of capitalist opportunism and societal manipulation. It’s a powerful commentary on the lengths to which individuals and corporations will go to manufacture desire, manipulate markets, and commodify every aspect of human life, including emotions and relationships, in the pursuit of wealth and power.

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The Fall of the House of Usher
Season 1 – Episode 3
“Murder in the Rue Morgue”

[Roderick Usher] Death was something new for my children. They really hadn’t faced it. But like with all other things, Ushers adapt quickly. One thing I tried to teach them, the art of the pivot. When life hands you lemons…

[C. Auguste Dupin] Make lemonade?

[Roderick] [sighs] No.

[piano music playing]

First you roll out a multi-media campaign to convince people lemons are incredibly scarce, which only works if you stockpile lemons, control the supply, then a…

A media blitz. Lemon is the only way to say “I love you,” the must-have accessory for engagements or anniversaries.

Roses are out, lemons are in.

Billboards that say she won’t have sex with you unless you got lemons.

You cut De Beers in on it.

Limited edition lemon bracelets, yellow diamonds called lemon drops.

You get Apple to call their new operating system OS-Lemón. A little accent over the “o”.

You charge 40% more for organic lemons, 50% more for conflict-free lemons.

You pack the Capitol with lemon lobbyists, you get a Kardashian to suck a lemon wedge in a leaked sex tape.

Timothée Chalamet wears lemon shoes at Cannes.

Get a hashtag campaign.

Something isn’t “cool” or “tight” or “awesome”, no, it’s “lemon”.

“Did you see that movie?”

“Did you go to that concert? It was effing lemon.”

Billie Eilish, “OMG, hashtag… lemon.”

You get Dr. Oz to recommend four lemons a day and a lemon suppository supplement to get rid of toxins ’cause there’s nothing scarier than toxins.

Then you patent the seeds.

You write a line of genetic code that makes lemons look just a little more like tits… and you get a gene patent for the tit-lemon DNA sequence, you cross-pollinate… you get those seeds circulating in the wild, and then you sue the farmers for copyright infringement when that genetic code shows up on their land.

Sit back, rake in the millions, and then, when you’re done, and you’ve sold your lem-pire for a few billion dollars, then, and only then, you make some fucking lemonade.


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