This post continues my leg of the Blogathon for SSA Week! From now until 9pm PDT, I will write one new blog post every hour. Plus, for every $100 raised during that time, I will post one new picture of our cats! And all donations will be matched by SSA Supporters Jeff Hawkins and Janet Strauss — so whatever you donate, it will be doubled!
As of 5:07 pm PDT: 438 Donors, $71,693.02
As of 6:08 pm PDT: 438 Donors, $71,693.02
I got immediately sucked into “Mad Men,” as soon as it came on the air. I think it’s brilliant. I think it’s one of the best things on television. So of course, I tried to get Ingrid sucked into it. She watched a few episodes… and said, “Yes, I agree that it’s brilliant, it’s one of the best things on television — and I just don’t want to watch any more. It’s too depressing.”
I had a sad. I don’t have that many friends who are into the show, so I don’t have that many people to yak about it with and dissect it endlessly. But the thing is… I knew exactly what she meant.
Because I feel the same way about “Homicide.” Ingrid loves that show, she’s running through the DVDs and is totally into it. She thinks it’s brilliant, one of the best things on television. I watched a few episodes, I totally agreed… and I just didn’t want to watch any more. It was too depressing.
So I’m pondering two different questions here. One: What makes a TV show (or movie, or book, or whatever) intolerably depressing for some people and not others? And what are we looking for from television?
For me and Ingrid, what we’re often looking for is reasonably intelligent distraction. We don’t want to be talked down to or patronized… but most of the time, we also just want to relax. We watch TV after long days of work, and we often watch it just to unwind. That’s sometimes true of other forms of entertainment… but for some reason, it’s more true of television. Maybe because we bring it into our home instead of going out to get it… but then, I don’t feel that way about books.
So I’m not sure why I feel differently about TV than I do other forms of entertainment. And I’m not sure why I find “Mad Men” to be a near-perfect balance between challenging and entertaining… and why I find “Homicide” unbearably sad and awful. Or why, for Ingrid, it’s the other way around.
Thoughts? What do you turn to TV for? And where do you find the line between “interestingly challenging” and “shoot me now, life sucks enough without voluntarily putting myself through an emotional wringer”?
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