Monday, November 25, 2013

In Praise of the BBC

This past summer the Internet was talking about Game of Thrones. Because of this, I went online to read a synopsis. From what I understand, everyone was murdered by either having their throats slit or their stomachs slit. I'm sure it was a lovely episode, filled with great acting, great drama, and great plotlines. Don't mind me in the corner freaking out by the thought of all the blood running everywhere.
It's the fashion to love these shows. Cable TV is edgy. It pushes boundaries, redefines culture, and breaks your mother's mores with gleeful abandon. And I can understand that. I try to keep up with pop culture, as much as any girl can try in a world that doesn't stop to sleep in the pursuit of the latest meme. I watched all of Sex and the City in college, but now that's out of date. I tried True Blood, but the blood part got to me. I've seen bits and pieces of all the great dramatic series, but I have finally come to terms with the fact that I'm just not the HBO type of girl.

This is my version of making a statement. Kind of like how by not getting a tattoo I am making a statement, one that I think is more dramatic than the ones made by my friends who are on their third and fourth tattoos. I'm too indecisive to settle on a tattoo, and so I know once I began I'd forever keep going back until I was Lydia the Tattooed Lady. Google it, people of my generation. It will all make sense. Besides, tattoos involve needles and sometimes blood, and again, I'm not so good with that.

I'm more of the PBS girl, the girl who waits in eager anticipation all week long for Downton Abbey and then makes a todo over it by making petit fours and cucumber sandwiches and washing it all down with champagne during Sunday night's sacred hour.

Dramas like Game of Thrones and Mad Men have, well, too much drama for me. The stress that overcomes me while watching an episode raises my blood pressure, gives me a stomach ache, and then when it's over I'm trying to remind myself that it really doesn't matter what's going on with Don Draper's marriage or why the freaky little neighbor kid is behaving that way, but stay up all night worrying about it. My life already has enough drama of it's own, and I don't like it. I much prefer Jane Austen, whose characters generally live calm lives going thirty miles per hour. Your sister could run away and ruin her reputation with a derelict cad, making an awkward situation for all involved, but that's the worst that can happen, and to be honest it's a relief when it does since that is what everyone worried about the most. Once it has happened, it's over, and you can pretty much rest assured that the rest of your life will be pleasant and well-mannered. This even holds true with Charlotte Bronte. Yes, your one true love had his crazy wife locked in the attic, and he lost his sight after Bertha tried to burn the house down, but after you go through that life can go nowhere but up.

In the world of cable tv, your life will pretty much keep going down. Your family will be murdered in front of you, your pets will be murdered in front of you, and then and only after all that will you be murdered. This drives home the point that it's always best to be the first person murdered so that way you don't have the stress of the anticipation of being murdered. But in Downton terms, you can be declared paralyzed, regain motion and use of your manhood, and then have a moderately happy life until you finally succumb to a car crash. They show that even vinegary old ladies like the Dowager Countess still have a spark of general humanity, and that even mean, selfish girls like Mary can turn out alright in the end. In the end, television is just another way of telling a story, and I prefer non-violent escapism that won't haunt my dreams.

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