There's been so many television shows that people can't seem to stop talking about: Breaking Bad, Scandal, Revenge.. all these shows grip us and we wait wearily for the next episode. You count down the days until you get to breathe again and you rave about it with your friends, replaying the scenes while sharing potential plot turns that are bound to happen. Or maybe you're like me, extremely behind on all the shows - but thank God for Netflix! You spend hours trying to catch up, even though you know you have so many better things to do with your time. We call these shows our guilty pleasures. But why feel guilty? Perhaps it's because when we say we can be doing better things with our time, we mean something like volunteering or getting extra work done. We are "guilty" of wasting our time watching these shows that are probably numbing us, immobilizing us on our tushes as our eyes glaze over the screen.
Personally for me though, I think that we are at liberty to relax and let an hour or so of our time pass by to enjoy entertainment. This includes watching television shows. When I was a theater major, it wasn't just about going up on stage and being the star. Quite the contrary, it was actually a requirement that we did 240 hours of Tech work behind the scenes whether it be sound design, costume design, or lighting to know what it's like to actually put a production together. When I watch these television shows, I actually think about their wardrobe, the details in furniture choices, the color schemes for the scenes, character development... There's just so much to it. There's a lot that goes into making something work and I think that can go over a lot of our heads.
Speaking of going over our heads, today I watched the first episode of Mad Men. It's about an advertisement agency in the 1960s. The main character's name is Don Draper and he's this hot shot creative director. From head to toe, he is perfection. Dressed to the tee and is amazing at his job. Who wouldn't love him? In one of the first few scenes you see him with a Brunette. They seem like they're together, he looks in love, but they aren't committed by marriage. Later you learn that he has a wife waiting at home; a beautiful wife, as well as his two children.
Oh... of course he's married. Typical.
Wait, what? Of course? Well, that's the norm now. Every television show has infidelity. The husband goes home to his wife, whom he loves dearly, after smashing his mistress. That's what makes the show racy & sexy. Many of us escape into this illusion of a world that we know we couldn't, no - shouldn't, live in.
My biggest fear from these shows is that from watching them we will start to believe that these things are normal or accept everything as truths; like it's okay to cheat on your wife. It's okay to make drugs, embezzle money and murder people for it. My hope is that as we continue to watch, that we'll have discussions or take away from them things that will inspire us to be better in our own real lives.
When I was really into Dexter a couple years back, I couldn't believe how easily I was rooting for a serial killer. The rationality of it was that he was murdering other murderers so technically he was ridding evil. We should support his endeavors, right? And plus, when he was young his mom was murdered in front of him so he was psychologically programmed to thirst for blood like no other. And that makes it okay! He is justified! So we say...
It's a great show and makes us think.
So don't forget to think. It's the first step to a lot of things. Weigh out reality and fantasy.. before you go mad.
Songfully yours, Jennifer