Monday, December 10, 2007

One Of My Problems With Watching TV

A while ago, Noko Marie wrote this post on wanting actual narrative resolution. And I feel like that's part of my problem with watching tv.

See, the kind of tv that I would naturally gravitate toward is fictional, involving people and their problems and the resolution thereof. The kind of thing you most often find in series television, I guess. The History Channel, the Discovery Channel: if they're on and other people are around I can watch them and be amused by them. On my own I'm not going to think they have a lot to offer. But the whole thing about series television is that it's geared up not to give you any resolution -- it's not supposed to end, things just keep happening. The characters may get some temporary resolution at the end of one episode, but the next week something's going to happen to screw up that balance.

I hate that. I get so frustrated. I want to know what happens, where it ends, what the final resolution is.

To be honest, I want a kind of resolution that doesn't really come with the real-life territory. I want real-life plus; I want a happy ending. I'm willing to settle for a less-happy ending, but I want it to matter.

So if I watch one episode of a show, I want to watch all the episodes until the final one right then and there. And I don't want that final episode to be just some kind of review of what already happened; I want it to solve things.

Watching sports on tv actually is probably the most satisfying thing going, narratively. Because you know the season will end, and you know somebody will win or lose, and within each game there's a resolution. I think that's right, anyway.

Sports or, I guess, those movies on the Disney Channel, where a kid learns to windsurf and recovers from his parent's divorce all in one hour and a half package.


Noko Marie said...

For narrative neat packaging you almost can't beat the after-school-special. At least, that's what they were called when I was a kid. Do they still have those? Is that the Disney thing you're talking about?

And speaking of TV, what is up with the Lifetime network? It's all, like, weird horror and mystery??

Captain Colossal said...

I'm not sure I'm familiar enough with the after-school special to answer. I think of them as having a particular lesson to impart, like "drugs are bad," while the Disney movies tend to be more "surfing is cool and it's bad to yell at your family because they're just trying to help." But I don't know if that's as significant a difference as I think.

The Lifetime network is dedicated to telling you that if you're a woman you can't be too goddamn careful, especially of the people you date, because they're probably serial killers.