Stranger than fiction

14 06 2010

Do we need sitcoms, dramas and reality television shows?

Really?

I know that watching these kinds of programmes are there to help you relax and enjoy life, but have you ever met anyone whose life runs parallel with that of on-screen characters?

Most likely, you answer will be ‘No’.

In ‘real’ life, we talk about what’s going on around us. We talk about books we’ve read and movies we’ve seen. We discuss the plot and characters from various shows. We debate about politics, religion, even the weather… and quote from the very media we enjoy so much: books, movies, television, music.

And do characters from a television show do that? More often than not, again, the answer is ‘No’.

Of course you get passing references, like in HIMYM. Barney once mentioned taking a ride on someone’s disco stick (not him doing aforementioned, naturally); the guys are obsessed with the STAR WARS films, as well as FIELD OF DREAMS; and when Barney wrote ‘The Playbook’, Marshall responds with, “you wrote another book? What are you, Stephen King?” [Bonus points for the screenwriters putting that reference in.]

The point is, it seems that characters from TV series have far more interesting lives than all of us watching them do. Yes, it’s a script, these characters don’t exist, things need to stay interesting in order the hook the audience, where else will you find a group of people that connect in many weird ways?, et cetera.

But here’s the rub: would any of us really want to be one of these personas?

I think I’ll settle, yet again, for the answer ‘No’.

Sure, things are fun and upbeat, and even when they’re bad, they always getter better to the tenth power. I recently pointed out that my Significant Other and I are a lot like Marshall and Lily, even the fact that we share first name initials (the guys ‘M’s, us girls ‘L’s). Still, as a couple – and as characters – Marshall and Lily are weird. Borderline psychotic/ insane at times.

I would never share a toothbrush. Oral hygiene, anyone? We have an electric toothbrush, so that unit is shared, but each of us has our own ‘head’ that can be removed and put on according to who’s using it. They (Marshall and Lily) go to dire lengths to have couples nights with other couples; Lily wants Marshall to have fantasies about other women; she pretends she’s not jealous because she doesn’t believe Marshall will cheat on her, only to turn around and beat another woman up when she confesses that she kissed Marshall; the list goes on and on. We don’t refer to ‘we’, unless an invitation has been extended to the both of us and have to give a reply, or when asked what our plans for the weekend are. I would feel hurt to think that my S.O. fantasises about other women and feels the need to go to strip clubs. I hope that I will never put him in a position to feel jealous over someone, and then try to make me jealous in return. We don’t tell one another what we did or ate from the moment we got up until we go to bed in minute detail. We don’t have stupid fights about whose duty it is to clean the dishes, or me making only meals for myself out of spite… I think I’ll just leave it at that, for now.

Truth is, life is far, far stranger than fiction. It’s not something you can really plot out, rehearse it, and then act it out like a script. You cannot decide when, where and how twists and turns are going to throw you for a loop, and you certainly don’t want things to be as extreme, emotional, or even stupidly funny as your favourite shows… because life is unique, people. Life is a challenge. We need things to be unpredictable, just like we need all these shows and films and artists and reading material to take our minds off (and, sometimes, to make us think about) our worries and situations.

That’s life. And I intend (or hope, at the very least) to enjoy it every step of the way…

… even though I wish, at times, that I was more clever or had a hot body like the stars on television/ in films.

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2 responses

14 06 2010
Monique

Jy is perfek. Jy het nie nodig om enigsins te verander nie 🙂 xx

14 06 2010
Salóme van Lill

You’re right. Life is too REAL! We also don’t wake up with perfect make-up, a spring fresh breath, etc. And yet we enjoy far more than they do, because we experience every detail as it is and not as it is staged to be.

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