Admit it! You loooooove TV! It’s ok, don’t be ashamed. Everyone does – because it’s cool again (but more on that later). Before TV became the rotten appendix of good entertainment in the late 80s / early 90s, it was a big, funky pot of entertainment for the whole family. Drama, fun, education – it just had everything!
Then came the talk shows, where virtually every abomination of the darkest parts of a human’s social life was beamed directly into our living rooms! But it just wasn’t enough! It got even worse! Casting shows, reality shows, car tuning shows, shows about shows … you name it. A platform where every wannabe could be (or pretend to be) someone; and the audiences love(d) it. Why? Because it’s so much nicer to see other people’s lives fall apart, than to face their own.
The Golden Age
Then something happened. Suddenly TV was cool again. It had audiences clinging to their seats with amazing narratives, believable characters and stunning visuals. The Golden Age of TV! Amen brothers and sisters! And while the dreadful shows were not gone (unfortunately), they became less important.
When did it happen? Around the mid 2000s. What did happen? LOST began to air – and while we all can agree, that the ending (or the better part of the last season) was rather dull, the story of this mysterious island had us at the edge of our seats. What would happen next? TELL ME TV!!! TELL ME NOW!!!
Jump ahead a few years, and the small screen is filled with good shows for everybody! Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, True Blood, Sherlock (to name a few). But the fun doesn’t stop there, no sir! We’re just getting started! With the advent of great shows, came great characters. Characters so good, it’s just not good enough to see them on our screen week after week (or hour after hour if you’re binge watching) – we want to be them!
The Imitation Game
It’s time to confess! Everyone of us has a favorite character on some show. Maybe we like this particular person, because he or she is brave, righteous or because the character kicks ass! Why do you think Breaking Bad’s murderous, meth cooking high school teacher turned drug lord Walter White was so popular? Because he did something that most of us would never dare to do! I’m not implying that we should have become drug lords and killed people – quite the opposite! But aspects of Walter’s personality impressed us. He stood up for himself and showed those other gangsters who’s boss and we as an audience were inspired by this. We wanted (or still want) to give all the idiots out there the finger, too! That’s why we became him! Quoting him, learning from him, throwing pizzas on roofs – you know, the whole package.
My current “Walter White” is Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of NBC executive Jack Donaghy in “30 Rock“. I’ve been binge watching this series for a couple of weeks now (seriously, how could I miss out on this show in the first place?!) and Baldwin’s performance nails it. Everything you need to know about business, you can learn from the one and only Jack Donaghy – your new favourite mentor!
Yes, yes, I know! You probably don’t learn anything about “real” business (numbers and all the allegedly important stuff), but you get a perfect idea of what happens backstage of those fortune 500 companies. And isn’t that what “real” business is all about, anyway?
Before you jump from your seat screaming. Yes, he is and a money loving, Republican, backstabbing ass (there, I said it!) but you just know, that there are times in life where this behaviour might just be the right way to go. And apparently I’m not alone with this idea. Why else would the widely popular website Buzzfeed dedicate a whole article to 32 Life Lessons From 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy?
Thank you, TV!
I’m not surprised that most characters favoured by the fans are those with questionable morals, backstories or motivations. In the end, that’s what good entertainment is all about – and it gets the audience talking. No one wants to see a fluffy, happy, we-ran-out-of-problems-to-fix world. Boooooooring!
Should we be scared that everyone wants to be like Walter White or that one guy in Game of Thrones who kills the other guys (you go figure THAT out by yourself!)?
The answer is: No! It’s fun – and sometimes we can learn a little bit about ourselves along the ride. And isn’t watching fictional people’s lives fall apart so much more entertaining, than watching people beat the crap out of each other on Jerry Springer for the gazillionth time?
Now go, play outside!