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Suspended Disbelief

3 March 2009

SPOILER ALERT: This post may contain very small spoilers about Lost. Nothing big, but you should know that if you did not watch the end of last season or any of this season, you may wish to skip this. But, seriously, if you’re that far behind in Lost, do you really think you’re going to catch up? It’s not like it’s Battlestar Galactica and Comcast made the Scifi Channel a “premium,” so you can’t watch it unless you pay more. B***ards. (Why, yes, I am trying to keep this blog family-friendly. Thank you for asking.)

Moving on…

In this blog post, I respond to my dear friend Tracy’s recent post about her television viewing habits. It’s most likely not necessary, but you might as well read her entry first. Plus it might up her readership numbers and make her feel good. Which, since she is directing a play I’m in, would not be a bad thing and maybe keep her from going ballistic when I totally screw up my lines.

So, in Tracy’s post, she notes that she doesn’t get the whole Lost phenomenon. Knowing Tracy, I get that, and I won’t give her crap about it. Because I know we’re different. And I’m not going to hold it against her.

In her post, she recommended a show she does like – Lie to Me. Now, at first, my interest was piqued when she mentioned Tim Roth. I have enjoyed that man’s acting since sophomore year of high school and Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are Dead. But then she said they bring the real world in. Erm, no thank you.

Here’s the thing: I’m not a huge fan of reality. No, I don’t mean reality TV shows.* I mean, reality. Period. When I watch TV, I don’t want it to remind me of real life. In fact, the less connected to the real world, the better, I say. And I want the show to be upfront about it – make it clear that this show has no connection to reality and they’re not going to pretend either, like some shows (ahem … Grey’s Anatomy).  I like to see vampires slayed, FBI agents hunting aliens, a man who can bring the dead back to life for one minute, fighter pilots searching for earth, international super-spies, and islands that disappear.

Please do not base my show in a hospital or police station or, the worse of the worse, a courtroom. Because, eventually, all of those shows screw it up. When you pretend your show is based in the real world (or that your stories are “ripped from the headlines”), you are telling me that I should expect it to be like real life. But, c’mon, as a lawyer, I am fully aware that people do not actually confess on the stand, Law & Order. And technology has not come as far as any version of CSI would lead you to believe.  (I have made exceptions for incredibly superior television, such as Homicide: Life on the Street, but it is rare.) So I just steer clear of these shows – it helps me keep my blood pressure in check.

However, I must say that the worst situation for me on television is when my TV shows try to bring in reality. That just drives me crazy. For instance, (possible spoiler warning), a couple weeks ago, the following scene occurred in my home:

Me (watching Lost): Oh c’mon!
Mike (watching World of Warcraft): What’s wrong?
Me: There is no way that both Jack and Kate could find any parking in the middle of the day in downtown L.A., let alone right across the street from each other.
Mike: So an island disappearing and the dead coming back to life, you’re okay with. But you can’t suspend disbelief to allow for parking in L.A.?
Me: Well… yeah. Is that so wrong?
Mike (to fellow Warcrafters): Sorry, guys. I was distracted for a moment there by my wife’s insanity.

So, when it comes to television, I prefer to suspend disbelief. But it only goes so far. I have to draw a line somewhere, and apparently it’s about the same place as the lines on the streets of L.A.

*I must admit, before someone calls me out in the comments, that I have been known to enjoy my fair share of reality TV. But I need these shows to contain a competition or a makeover. Because that is not, in fact, reality. After all, fairy godmothers do not exist, and no real restaurant would ask a chef to create a gourmet meal from scratch with no forethought and a strange theme in 60 minutes.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Jill permalink
    3 March 2009 12:43 pm

    Here, here! My feeling is: there’s plenty of reality in the day, why would you turn on the tv to get more of it? I believe that the same thought motivated my feelings toward childhood games like house and school. If I just got home from school, why would I want to pretend I’m still there? I think this is a fundamental difference in personalities that goes under-reported. 🙂

    P.S.: the most recent 4 episodes of Battlestar are on hulu…

  2. Keith permalink
    3 March 2009 1:26 pm

    It’s funny, but Joni and I were watching that episode and she said the EXACT SAME THING. Unfortunately, my reply was not so witty and insightful as Mike’s. Really just a grunt.

    Great minds think alike.

  3. 5 March 2009 1:33 pm

    Christine is being nice by not telling you that shortly after the preceding interaction she had to sit through my side of a conversation with my fellow world of warcrafters:

    Me: What is taking you so long?
    Me: I’m in the middle of a pile of corpses, would you just come heal me
    Me: Well, at least I killed some trolls when I went nuclear. You just run away like a wee girl in a kilt

  4. Zach permalink
    6 March 2009 9:26 am

    Love the exchange between you two. I, personally, have the most trouble suspending disbelief when one character asks a pointed question, the second character responds with something totally vague and perhaps ominous, and the first character just drops the issue. What the h***?? (Keeping it family-friendly for you.) I’d be saying “Cut the crap, Juliet, and tell me exactly how many languages you speak!”

  5. D.A.D. permalink
    20 March 2009 11:59 am

    Homicide (the show) is clearly superior to everything, including Lost. But I won’t put that against anyone.

    The major difference between reality and the other stuff is that you only get one chance at reality. Reality would be so much more fun if one could die, then return or be healed, only to die again and be recycled. But one can’t and is, thus, relegated to “fun while it lasts.”

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