I’ve been watching an awful lot of TV recently. Many of you might scoff at this and think ‘well I bet I’ve watched more TV than he has!’. Some of you might be right but I’d bet that I’ve watched more than most of you.
In the last 6-8 weeks (I’m guestimating here cause I don’t really remember when I started but I know it was no more than 2 months ago), I have watched: Grey’s Anatomy seasons 2-5, The Wire seasons 1-3, Life season 1, Dirty Sexy Money season 1, Dexter season 3, Flight of the Conchords season 2 and I am in the process of continuing to watch The Wire, True Blood and House whilst about to start Battlestar Galactica and The Sopranos. I work at a Blockbuster and I have been through the boxset section and I have seen pretty much everything in there now.
I watch what some might call an abnormal amount of Television and I always used to be more into film. Not that that has changed, I still love film, but I think the emotional engagement that comes with a prolonged TV show is so much better than that which is provided by a film. Sure the film might be good, it may even be great but two hours with these characters just isn’t enough. I lament the loss of Steve Zissou at the end of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The ending always makes my eyes water a little bit (I’ll be clear here and say that I don’t cry, my eyes water, that is all). But television utterly eclipses that which film creates. When you are given 12 one hour episodes, that’s 12 hours of time you spend getting to know those characters, starting to care for them. Now that show you’re watching runs for 5 seasons and all of a sudden that’s a sizable chunk of your life that’s been invested in these people. My personal favourite show is Six Feet Under. Most might think that it’s too morbid to watch but they clearly haven’t ever given it a fair chance.
There are 63 episodes of Six Feet Under – each one running at around 48-55 minutes. Add that all up and that’s a large part of your life gone watching other people – who aren’t even real. And yet at the end of season 5, what I consider to be the best ending of any show to date, I cried like a bitch. People usually look at me funny when I say things like that, my dad especially (“MEN DON’T CRY”). He’s right, we don’t, we have man-tears instead. Who needs to ‘cry’ when we have those? If anybody asks, we have something in our eyes ok? Damn straight, now go make me a sandwich.
It’s pathetic but I connect more with television than I ever have with film. I can sit in a cinema full of people crying at something on screen and not only will I not feel like crying, I’ll fight the urge to laugh. I do have an uncanny ability to laugh at inappropriate moments though. I’m like that with most films, it has to be pretty special to get an emotion out of me. But TV barely has to try, I’ve only got to know someone on screen for more than two episodes and their lives mean as much to me as real people. Sad.
I woke up this morning to find a note in the kitchen telling me that my fish has died. I have had him for about 5 or 6 years. His name was Roger Red-hat. He had a little red thing on his head. Did I shed a man-tear for him? No. But I’ll happily shed one for an imaginary person on TV. What the fuck is wrong with me? Have I been completely indoctrinated by television so that my emotions are controlled by it? Perhaps not quite yet, but it won’t be long…
I still haven’t buried Roger yet.