Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Commitment

First of all, where are you people? You can't tell me Halloween is a holy holiday of any kind? Unless you practice one of the more authentic versions, like Day of the Dead or Samhain, you're just using it as an excuse to get off early, admit it!

What I want to talk about here today is my commitment. I'm a very committed person. And while this is true in all the important areas of my life, what I'm here to talk about is my commitment to long-running series on TV.

This high virtue of mine stretches back to the years when, despite the absurdity of it, I never missed an episode of Voltron--a morning cartoon. Oh how I thrilled to the moment when those five separate ships came together into the ass-kicking robot-man himself. Awesome. I even wrote little stories patterned after it. Then there were Good Times, Silver Spoons, and that show with Tony Danza whose name suddenly escapes me. I watched these into the ground people. Amazing that I exhibited such dedication even before the golden days of TV.

In highschool I stuck with Twin Peaks even after everyone knew that the show had slipped from edgy and hip into that dark netherspace of David Lynch's mind where no one should stay too long. Long after the dwarf man came dancing into people's dreams and Bob--the force of evil-- made any sense, after Sherilynn Fenn's sexiness wore off and Kyle Maclachlan's Agent Cooper went from stick-up-his-butt to warm and fuzzy, I hung in there. I even went and saw "Fire, Walk With Me" in theaters, despite that it tied nothing together.

I did the same with The X-Files. NINE years of my life I tuned in, taking the bait and waiting for Scully and Mulder to get it on already, dangling from episode to episode with more questions than answers about the alien conspiracy and suffering through Annabeth Gish's terrible acting, and Mulder's disappearance and death and resurrection, and their baby, and mulder in hiding, and the baby being an alien, but then not, and then given up for adoption to save his life until the juicy climax. I hung in there, and I would have to say it was worth it.

The thing is, network television audiences no longer have the kind of dedication I do. Even when a series is great, it usually lasts no more than 6 seasons (Six Feet Under, Sex & the City, The Sopranos), so I know that my days are already numbered with LOST.

I am one of the few who has the mettle, the true perspicacity to hang in there while more and more questions mount and the plausibility angle gets stretched ever thinner. I know that if it were up to me alone, the series could spend possibly 7 or 8 years getting to its penultimate truth. But I doubt other television viewers will exhibit my brand of diligence without some answers, pronto. My husband, who is at fault for turning me onto the show in season one, now walks through the room muttering statements of disbelief and probing me for answers after each episode simply to prove that he was right to stop watching. The sheer number of commercial breaks could push the most patient of us to the edge. Yet somehow I keep showing up, with anticipation even, to find out what kind of unholy experiment these Others are putting our crew through week after week. I show up wanting to see Kate and Sawyer get it on, to find out who Sayid will get to torture next, and if Hurley is going to be killed off in order for the producers to justify the fact that a fat man has lost no weight despite eating nothing but bananas and mangos for 71 days. I keep showing up to see what crazy message Locke gets from the Island next, and to see if Claire and Charlie will become a true couple, and to find out what the others want with babies.

I'm just afraid that I might be one of the last few hangers-on in a time where shows are canceled before their first seasons are even through.

JP

5 Comments:

At 5:24 PM, Blogger Patrushka said...

The only one I hanged on to was Ally McBeal in a moment where I felt empathy with the character. Pathetic of me, even if the lines were brilliant. I also listened to Sidnead O'Connor. But, amazingly, at that same time I kept reading Oscar Wilde and G. Bernard Shaw, two icons of irony towards love and fighters against marriage.
So, you see, even if Halloween doesn't mean a thing to me, I can't say much about your post.
:)(

 
At 5:30 PM, Blogger Patrushka said...

Sth else: Surrender & Commitment. What 2 words you chose for your headers!
These words mean a great deal to me lately.
In my case: Surrender to fate & Commit to myself.

 
At 9:26 AM, Blogger smart kitty said...

1. I want to hug kittens when I think of a tiny child Jordan writing Voltron stories. That is so cute!
2. That Tony Danza show was called "Who's the Boss?" and I was into it, too.
3. "Fire Walk With Me' made me feel like I had been doing hard drugs for 20 years, even though I wasn't even 20 yet when it came out. "I am the arm, and I sound like this ..."
4. You should start hosting "Lost" parties and other Lost-themed events to bring others to the fold. I, for instance, have never even seen the show.

:)

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Patricia: Oh, Ally McBeal--that did have some good moments, though I wasn't a true fan. The fact that you like Oscar Wilde as highly does not qualify you as a truly committed to brain-draining TV, however :)

Smart Kitty: Well, if you feel like hugging kittens now, remind me to show you some of the old stories I saved (sadly not the Voltron ones, but "Precious Jade," "Clea and the Missing Jewels" and "The Valley in my Room.")

Lost parties! Now there's an idea.

 
At 7:22 AM, Blogger gerry rosser said...

I gave up on "Lost" after a few episodes. Not so much because of its virtues, or lack thereof, but because I have a very limited attention span for ongoing TV stories (as opposed to episodes which are self-contained, as with, for example "Law and Order). I even find 2-parters hard to bother with. If I want a novel, I want to be able to dig through it at my own pace, fast, slow (or not at all).

My personal slant on these "ongoings" is that the TV powers-that-be believe (and I don't know if they are right or wrong, and I don't care) that they are offering something which will increase advertising revenue. There seem to be more of them now ("Heroes" comes to mind, "Jericho" also).

 

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