Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Good Life Is (Generally) Not Good TV

Lately I've found myself thinking about the shows that I let entertain me, and how the character qualities I see in the characters are not necessarily character qualities I want to develop in myself.

Then, the more I examined this issue, the more I realized, that, in general, qualities that make up a good and Godly life are not found in "good" tv.

Apparently "good" tv -- as in, the type of television that is renewed season after season, contains story lines of anger, resentment, lies, holding grudges, loud arguments, hurtful words... very dramatic interactions.  While apparently our world (and myself included, unfortunately) finds this entertaining, these are not behaviors the Bible recommends, and not behaviors that lead to a joyful and full life.

It first hit me a few weeks ago when I was watching re-runs of Gilmore Girls.  Luke throws April a birthday party and April's mother is livid because the details were not cleared with her first.  April's mother shows up at Luke's diner... takes him away from his work in order to bark a few sentences at him, only to then say she is too angry to look at him, and storm off.  How old are these characters?  They are behaving like twelve year olds -- and probably twelve year olds who have been watching too much tv.

Having been married now for over three years, and learned a few things in that time about positive ways for my husband and me to communicate, I couldn't believe how un-realistic and un-productive this scene was.  There was no phone call to set up a time to talk, there was no time and thought put into exactly what the mother wanted to say and how she wanted to ensure a different situation in the future... and they she storms off without any productive interaction with the father of her child.

I had never watched his scene through these critical eyes before... but all of a sudden I realized how this dramatic scene, might make for entertaining television, but it certainly does not make for a full and happy life.

Now, ironically, right after I wrote this post, I read a facebook link that was celebrating the fact that the movie CLUELESS is turning 20 years old (yeah, crazy).  The website was accounting different aspects of the movie and why America loved it so much.  The last point mentioned alluded to the big, climatic arguement between Tai and Cher... and how it was so mature and relate-able to audiences.
Tai: "You're a virgin who can't drive."
Cher: "That was way harsh, Tai."
Tai: "Look, I'm sorry, all right.  Let's just talk when we've mellowed.  I'm outie."

Sure words got a little heated, but the climatic argument doesn't end with screaming, yelling, and storming off... it actually portrays what might be a normal argument in a normal, healthy, loving American home.  Sure, one comment was made below the belt... and it was acknowledged... and then they walked away and gave each other space only to come back a few days later, both apologizing and ready to make amends.

Now that is good tv... and a great lesson from which many people (and other television characters) could learn.

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