Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Friday, January 13, 2006

A pox on "Law and Order"

When my kids were younger, my wife and I watched almost no TV, because we were committed to not exposing the kids to any screens at all for as long as possible. And yet, somehow in the last couple of weeks, I am finding myself watching TV almost every night. How could this have happened? Reality TV isn't, situational comedies aren't . . .

It is, of course, the same instant-gratification trend I have seen in SQL and Scrabble. The quick-hit drug of TV is Law and Order. I have been interested to deconstruct how it works, and how quickly it has gone under my radar.

L&A is almost completely story-driven, which, as it turns out, is a lot easier to make fast-moving than a character-driven story. The show manages to move to a new scene every two minutes or so, with it's trademark plucked-string beat. Every beat is almost a story-within-story, with setup, tension, resolution, leading to the next beat. It's hard to ignore. Even as I write this there is an episode playing in the other room, which I am desperately trying to ignore.

L&A is also crack-like in its cheap abundance. What other show can you watch every night of the week?

I'm sure some people will come across this entry and wonder what rock I crawled out from under. How is it that someone who reads the Wall Street Journal and listens to NPR, so thoroughly informed on important issues, is so completely clueless about popular culture? Only Buffy the Vampire Slayer interrupted my peaceful cluelessness.


Post a Comment

<< Home