Escapism expert  

Posted by the Writer

If there were a competition on film and tv knowledge from the past 5 or so years, I would win. Or place third... if I have to be modest.

Entertainment is seen as escapism, where people get to forget about the stress in their lives and immerse themselves in the fictional lives of characters on the big screen. It's awesome. You should try it sometime, you who raised your eyebrow. I avoid things I'm afraid of so I watch tv shows and films. It works like a charm.

But I do it too much, now I can't quite enjoy some productions. After watching Seasons 4 and 5 of House M.D. (I skipped seasons 1, 2 and 3), I became acutely aware of how each episode is structured. Generally, it begins with the sickly person who we will come to know as our patient-of-the-week, the docs will go through several treatments and fail every single week, then House will talk to someone, usually his BFF and EUREKA! He figures it out.

Then there are the sitcoms. The lead, the lead's BFFs which will include the funnyman friend, the crazy friend, the dumb friend, and the normal(ish) friend. Each sitcom will have at least each of those. E.g. 100 Questions - a new sitcom, 6 episodes aired so far; Romantically Challenged - new sitcom but cancelled after 3 episodes; The Class - highly recommended but lasted only a season; Friends - need I say more?

Knowing all this, I just don't seem to be able to watch tv the same way. It doesn't apply to shows with compelling story arcs though. Buffy stole my heart. Bones season 3 was the best because that was the one with the Gormogon (sp) story arc though their story telling is usually episodic. Dexter is similar to Bones in that it's episodic and has a story arc. Season 4 is awesome by the way.

Dollhouse is a great example of how story arcs really up a show, instead of the usual episodic format. Dollhouse season 1 began primarily with an episodic format with an underlying story arc of an evil corporation that will doom the world. In mid-season, things started to pick up when the show focused on the story arc instead. We unravel more and more truths about the evil corporation, finally moving forward in the story. Dollhouse season 2 almost didn't happen but it did. From there, the show just kicked ass. Story arcs keep audiences interested, if they feel involved. Look at Lost man. I never watched the show but people were hooked!

Story arcs are great and all, but they don't last forever. You can't use the same story over and over again, every season. Think: Prison Break. Just when you thought Michael would finally be rid of the Company, he gets yanked back in again. Eventually, I got fed up and stopped watching. Story arcs have shelf lives. If it'll last for 5 seasons, let it run its course and be done with it. Battlestar Galactica (2004 series) ended their run after 4 seasons. After fighting and running and fighting again with the Cylons, the Humans finally made it to Earth. It was about time. Even the characters in it had babies. (A story essentially consists of an introduction to the objectives and its justification/circumstance, the obstacles and difficulty experienced in reaching the objectives, and finally a resolution to the story, or not. Some endings are open ended.)

Umm, I seem to have strayed from whatever I was trying to say. Again. Like always.
It does show that I watch way too many shows (than the average person does). I guess that was what I wanted to "say" in the end.

I would win the competition.


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