Can I afford bleakness (in entertainment)?

See, I had watched this TV show for a couple of years then. A year ago, that is, and it was amazing. Unfortunately, I only had joined the fandom when it was already facing a serious trend in quality declination. I remember feeling really upset about the things that unfolded onscreen and I sought answers from other viewers. I was specifically looking for validation that a character that I had grown to love over the seasons would live. The character was Peter Quinn and the show is ‚Homeland.‘ I got validation but I he didn’t live.

This is not a blog post about me being the victim of bloggers who just speak their truth. This is about me being a victim of myself and my expectations for fiction.

„Not all stories end well, you know.“

„Yes, I know.“

„Just like in real life.“

„Yes, I know.“

I know all that. I just wish it wouldn’t have been this show at a point in my life where I had to face the hard truths of our world. That there’s shit literally everywhere. That there is cruelty and injustice in almost every part of life. I think I learned that very late. I am 22 now and the process of realizing this began when I was eighteen and got interested in politics. I read books, read blogs, newspapers, and magazines and most importantly I had a long sit-down with myself and thought about what these words actually meant to me – to someone who’s grown up in a privileged and sheltered reality of his own. What is cruelty, what is injustice – and in reverse conclusion – what is mercy and justice? How would that world look like? I began to build my own concepts of that world and of course this world will never be, nor will I ever live to see such a world. The struggle of many, I think. Accepting this, and being able to live with it. And on top of that – being happy nonetheless.

„Not all stories end well.“, people say and it feels bitter. „Just like in real life.“ I know that. And it still feels wrong to hear it. I guess it’s HOW they say it. Just casually. Like they’re not even aware of how right they are. Showrunners. Hollywood luminaries. And how they write a whole world of injustice with no light but always manage to extricate themselves from it. Go back to their families and friends, and houses and pools, and routines and appointments.

„This is not right.“, I say. „This is not right, not from you.“, my voice trembles. „I am allowed to say this. Not you.“ And I want to scream at them: „You go and have a sit-down with yourself before you’re allowed to say that I can never be happy.“

How am I to live with that?

I think I can’t allow myself that bleakness. Bleakness as entertainment? It’s luxury – and it’s only suitable for the mentally healthy.

The same might go for politics and ethics. Maybe. And that’s where I struggle most. I want to change the world, still. I want to make things better. I want to do my part to put my concept into action. But how do I do this when I want to keep myself sane when I want to enjoy my relationships, the games, the privileges I have? When I want to turn to my lover and just let myself fall?

Right now, I think I can’t be more than a casual justice maker. A concept that aims to find a way of sustaining sanity while being politically „active“. The downsides of that concept are A) you’re probably not making a huge impact and B) your ethical and political beliefs will be static, because of the two core rules of the concept: A) Don’t take things personally. Ever. Don’t be passionate about them. B) Never. Think. Too. Hard.

Be a Hollywood luminary.

And that is maybe (probably, lol) what they were doing since they got to the point where I am now. Who knows. Maybe (definitely, dude) I need to give them more credit than I was able to give them when they killed my favorite character. Laughable, I know. Though it never felt this way. Laughable. ‚Homeland‘ didn’t feel that way. It felt serious, a little too close to reality, in contrast to other – only judging from the plot – bleak shows like „Patriot“ (Season 1 so far), which did not feel bleak at all, because it simply had humor.

Bad, severe, traumatic things happen and they feel casual. They get to the brain, you can imagine how bad and painful the things unfolding on your screen actually are. You don’t want to be put in the shoes of the characters. You feel the injustice. But it’s still fun – no, a joy – to watch.

So, what do I expect or want from entertainment? That it entertains me, that it educates me. That watching it is not painful for me and doesn’t jeopardize my mental health.

In the future, I will have to choose carefully in which writers I put my in trust in because most of the time they will not be aware of the trust they’re given nor would they change their story because of my struggles. And I don’t blame them. I need to chill.

I’m going to start folding laundry while watching TV instead of biting my nails off. (Yeah, maybe not.) It’s a lot more productive. (I’m probably gonna check my phone instead or kiss my man.) And if that’s what the writers want from their viewers – to chill – then even better.

Bye, Homeland.

BTW. If you’re still reading: In my mind, Peter Quinn is not dead. He’s dead to most viewers and probably to the showrunners, writers, and actors. But I am – let’s call it creative – enough to twist every line and plot point to a degree that the character is actually alive and well somewhere on a tropical island in witness protection. (Thanks, Dar.) Seriously, this is the only way how I can say „Bye, Homeland“ and not be bitter anymore. 😉

 

 

Image: Free-Photos

 

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