I am sometimes secretly embarrassed by my devotion to the television drama. I mean, really, even though you and I know that Buffy the Vampire Slayer changed the face of TV doesn't mean EVERYBODY is equally as aware. Given that "shame" and "embarrassment" have subtle variations in definition, I am unashamedly devoted to Buffy, but am occasionally embarrassed to admit my fervor in mixed company.
I've spent this evening reading blogger reactions to tonight's series finale of Six Feet Under. This episode had a visceral, emotional effect on people. Why? How can something as seemingly meaningless as TELEVISION hold the power to make people weep? To grieve? Funny, for a minute there, I felt like I was describing the power of MUSIC.
Whenever I think seriously about my TV viewing habits, I try to convince myself of the conventional wisdom that TV is a waste of time. So many acquaintances of mine, being obviously more enlightened than I, proudly trumpet the absence of television in their homes. I'm certain this makes them feel superior, and I know for a fact that it makes me feel inferior.
So why, then, can a waste-of-time television show make people FEEL so much? Is it simply escapism? A fanciful interlude from a harsh reality? The characters on Six Feet Under aren't REAL people, right? But then, I'm reminded of the many questions brought up by What the Bleep Do We Know -- what IS real, for instance? If hundreds of thousands of people watched Six Feet Under tonight and became emotionally (and spiritually?) invested in the living and the dying of these characters, isn't that the essence of reality? Are these characters not an intense reality for the talented actors who portray them? For the writers?
I feel a little sorry for people who intentionally deprive themselves of an experience like I had this evening watching the Six Feet Under finale. Television, like LIFE, is basically full of crap, I'll admit. But I intend to keep watching.