Sometimes I hear people criticize a movie or a TV show for not being realistic. But the truth is, we don’t really want realistic, do we? I mean, if we really wanted REAL real life, we’d set our lawn chairs outside the neighbors’ house and watch them every night.


No, I think want we really want are romanticized snapshots of what real life can be. We want those ideal moments when life is beautiful and good (or just more exciting). We want a glimpse out of the confines of our own lives, with our 40 hours of work and our 2 hour commute and our 5 minutes of bliss, into “that” — that something else that is interesting and funny and magical and dramatic and adventurous.

Maybe what we’re looking for is meaning. Maybe well-done TV shows and movies are just condensed, time-wise, to the point where it’s easier to find purpose in them, and so we gladly lose ourselves for a couple hours for the fair trade of belonging. It does make sense, I suppose; our beautiful real life “moments” are often so spaced out, it’s hard to connect the dots, to make stars into constellations.

Maybe we just want “friends,” or for “everyone [to] love ME” (instead of just Raymond), or maybe we’re even just looking for drama — to live in “The OC” or to be a “Survivor” of something exciting.

Maybe filmmakers and TV writers are just packagers of purpose. If they’re guilty of anything, perhaps it’s creating some kind of thematic gravity that pulls us in and allows us to see life at its most simple and refined — life that actually makes sense, most of the time.

Or maybe I’m a complete whack-a-doo who thinks too much.

I suppose it could be both.


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