Until Next Week
The other day my neighbor visited me as I watching the news. The broadcast was focused on the recent terror attacks in France. I was somewhat surprised when my friend said, “What is going on in France?”
I mean…it is only been the lead story on every major news network for the past three days and she is oblivious to the heinous, criminal acts that have ended the lives of sixteen innocent people! Oh, the humanity of it all. I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck stiffening and the throb of increased blood pressure in my forehead. It took an immense amount of restraint to avoid launching into a tirade about the real drama unfolding before our eyes as opposed to the TV dramas that she views continuously. What is it with drama queens?
Is chaos the status quo of their lives? Are they not comfortable unless they are embroiled in verbal conflict with an adversary? And when no opponent is available, they are fighting themselves with panic being the order of the day; when every statement spoken is a contradiction, because it is always easier to place blame on someone, or something else, than to view the world objectively.
Maybe her close friends have as many catastrophes as there are days of the week. Maybe she is the person everyone calls with their problems. Or maybe she transforms every small issue into a major crisis to keep from being an actor out of role.
Why does a person watch TV dramas? Does some insidious thing control their hand as they reach for the remote every time they are planted in front of the screen? Maybe it is a belief that through the magic of the airwaves they would somehow be immersed into a better world. Maybe the TV drama seems easier to digest when compared to the realities of real life dramas. Maybe TV dramas allow the viewer to get lost; so lost that they can, in some way, forget all their troubles and problems. Maybe for that time, their mind can focus on one thing only.
It is a mystery to me, the way the mind can wander from one thing to another throughout one’s daily routines, but somehow stay fixed during their favorite episodes and focus on unimportant divulging story lines. Maybe it is the sense of knowing that next week, at the same time, and on the same channel, they will feel the pain written into the script and somehow forget their own.
Maybe it is because that next episode is so much closer than dealing with the realities of daily living; relationship difficulties, unpaid bills, workplace responsibilities, etc. They can watch episode after episode, or the same one over and over, and it leaves them wondering what will happen next or daydreaming of what such a life might be like. Maybe this is why it is important to tune in every week.
In some strange way maybe the drama queen is learning how to embrace the complications within the script, utilize the drama writer’s ways of solving problems and then apply this learned behavior to their own lives. I mean, if the lives of those in the screenplay are such that any dilemma can be solved sooner than our own, maybe the writers are writing about what is important. Maybe not about the heinous acts of terrorism in France, but about those things dealing with our emotions, struggles or internal conflicts. Even though TV drama is fictional and the way they resolve their predicaments is beyond the scope of how the real world operates; still, it somehow gives the viewer hope and reminds them they are not alone.
What we see on television today greatly influences everything in our lives. Some even suggest that people regard what they see on television as more real than the happenings around them; narrowing their world solely to what they watch on TV. There is a complex relationship between television and its viewers. What many viewers fail to realize is exactly how influenced they are by their favorite programs and how their own opinions may not be completely their own. There are many messages being sent through the television influencing our every thought.
Even though the networks get bombarded with thoughtful, reality-oriented scripts they seldom produce them. They believe that the only way to get ratings is to feed viewers what conforms to their biases or what has a limited resemblance to reality.
Maybe authentic life is no longer possible today. Maybe we are being manipulated in the most deceptive manner. Our emotions, personalities and core values are under siege from media and cultural forces too complex to interpret. We watch, become vegetables and drift off into the TV land.
Have I become so enamored by the intensity of network news that it has become my drama? Have I become a drama king, ruling and reigning over a kingdom built upon the breaking news of the moment? Have the words, “Stayed tuned,” caused me to put everything else on hold? Am I any different than my queen?
Maybe it is true that “Ignorance is bliss.”