Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Forays in Fiction: Desperate for More



I just watched the last available streaming episode of Desperate Housewives on NetFlix--the finale of season 6--and now must wait until season 7 begins streaming or start putting them in my disc queue bumping down the 20 odd now at the top.

I've been binging on Desperate Housewives since early July seldom going a full day without at least one episode and often watching 3 to 6 in one day. I started at the beginning and watched straight through. I'd seen all of season's 1 and 2 and a few episodes of 3 when they originally aired but then I quit having decided that being a slave to the TV schedule was not working for me any more and decided to wait for the opportunity to see them on my own terms via streaming or DVD.

This is one of those stories and its story world that make me want to take it apart like my brother once did ball point pens, transistor radios and gas engines to see what makes it click, sing and go. And since, still after all these years of studying the craft of story telling I'm still not sure exactly what I'm looking at and what it all means when I have cracked open the shell and watched the innards at work and then one by one pulled the parts out to examine them from all sides, I rely mostly on my old standby--osmosis via immersion.

The last TV series I did this with was Ugly Betty and the one before that The Gilmore Girls. Soon I would like to do it for Lost. Others on my list for similar treatment would be Twin Peaks (and while I'm at it all of David Lynch's movies as well), Northern Exposure, and Babylon 5 and all of David Kelly's creations (Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, The Practice)

It seems at a glance that there couldn't be more dissimilar stories and thus no way to explain why I'm enthralled by all of them. But they do all have one thing in common that, once you see it, you want to bonk your forehead with your fist. The common trait? They are all ensemble casts of unique eccentric characters that act in unexpected ways when unexpected events are thrust upon them. All but three--Lost, Babylon 5 and The Practice--are what I would call dramedy with a fairly even blend of comedy and drama. All but two--The Gilmore Girls and The Practice--have a strong streak of surrealism in them. And every one of them is a running commentary on the power of story to shape our lives, to heal our hidden wounds and to create community out of a chaos of seemingly incompatible characters.

Oh and every single one of them I am desperate to emulate, tho in the form of a novel. Desperate and quivering with insecurity.

0 tell me a story:

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