Wednesday, February 17, 2010


My vice is TV.  I love books and movies, too, but those don't seem to be considered vices.  Maybe because they are more artsy or have learning value  ~ sometimes.  Most of the reading I do is fictional, but not all.  I am really not a big documentary fan.  Of course, none of that is relevant because this blog is about my vice of television.

This world is a hard place.  All it takes is a couple of solid hits to the heart and pretty soon you're a master at not letting anyone in.  That makes for a fascinating character... complex, challenging, layered. It's like peeling an onion.  It is no fun at all in real life if you are the person doing the peeling or the person being peeled.  It's frustrating or scary respectively.  The kicker is that the person doing the peeling is convinced that they're going to be rewarded for all their hard work once they get to the center.  What if they don't like what they see?  Do they blame the onion?  The peeler now carries around a whole new "issue" in their arsenal and the onion has doubled the amount of peeling that needs to be done for anyone to ever get to their center again!  The irony is that the onion's center might have been beautiful to another onion.  It was an unfortunate circumstance that a carrot was doing the peeling.  However, from the onion's perspective it's whole heart was revealed and rejected and it was enormously painful and not something that onion wants to relive anytime soon, so bring on the layers.  Protect. Protect. Protect.

In a TV show, the viewing audience gets to see and process all of this.  We get it all.  We get to know the onion before meeting the carrot and vice versa.  We get to experience that first meeting.  Many of us understand right away that this is a relationship that will not work out because it is an onion and a carrot and the onion should be looking for another onion and the carrot should be seeking out another carrot.  We forsee the heartache in their futures way before they do.  We know this story will not end well.  We watch the carrot try to warm up the onion and the onion likes the carrot but senses what we already know and shies away.  The carrot is persistent.  The onion goes against its better judgment and allows the carrot access and the peeling begins.  All the while, we are thinking, "Stop, it's a wonderful onion, but not like you.  You are going to want to change the onion into a carrot and it cannot be done.  All of the peeling in the world will not make the onion a carrot.  Please stop." 

Of course, the beauty of watching this play out on TV is this: it goes on for weeks, possibly years, and we get to see our carrot and onion move on to other relationships that turn out maybe better, maybe worse, certainly differently.  But the best part is that we get to know what they think (what they truly think) and what they want (what they truly want).  And that is why I love TV.  It is the one place I get a long-term relationship with people (okay, characters)  and actually understand why they do the things that they do.  I know that with the last onion I truly loved I never did peel away enough layers to get to his heart and I never understood what he thought or wanted.

1 comment:

  1. Oooh, I like this idea a lot. The best tv shows are ones that really are honest with their characters and the relationships between them - why two people who love each other so much just can't freakin' figure it out. It's maddening to watch, but we stay glued to the tv because we see the truth of it reflected in our own lives.

    Great post! (and damn glad to be a follower!)


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