Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Being Obsessed With Story

As a culture, we're obsessed with the idea of story.  Look around, story is everywhere.  There are TV shows, movies, books, video games, all centered around story.

Then there are the storylines reality TV, sporting events, and even politics.

Yes, politics.

How many times have you heard "Changing the narrative" on Fox News or MSNBC?

But, as I watched yesterday's Redskins Seahawks game, and followed RGIII's storyline, I started to wonder what the enjoyment is in story.  Is it watching the story playout?  Or is it in the ending?  I wanted to know how the game turned out.  I wanted to know who won the election.  I wanted to know how LOST would end.  To see how THE WHEELMAN would escape.

All about the end.

I usually have to watch things twice.  Especially when marketing gets in the way.  When the ending is teased, that's all I can think about while watching or reading.  It gets in the way of my enjoyment of the trip.

So, with things that are less time consuming, TV shows and movies, I watch it twice, the second time to just enjoy the ride.  Because maybe I'm obsessed with story too.

What about you?  Can you enjoy the story the first time around?

3 comments:

Thomas Pluck said...

I very rarely read anything twice or watch something twice with my full attention, so I have no other option.

Dana King said...

I can, if it's done well. The trick is, the ending can cripple what had been a good story, and a weak story can make you not care about the ending. A lot of contemporary entertainment is so concerned with the big ending it doesn't bother much with story, except what can be applied like decals on a car window. They use action to hide the fact there's nothing to pay attention to.

The Beloved Spouse and i recently finished re-watching DEADWOOD and we're still picking up little things we only recognize because we saw it before. Layers on layers, all building toward well conceived payoffs, until the end, which made the abortive ending even less satisfying.

P.J. Morse said...

"Deadwood" is the ultimate in story because it takes its time. Too many people confuse "story" with "change," as in "How did this character change?" or "What lesson did this character learn?" Real change isn't sudden, and lessons aren't that simple.

Oh, yeah, speaking of "Deadwood," isn't "Justified" starting up again? Time for my Timothy Olyphant fix ...