April 05, 2006
Last week we spoke a bit about our relation to celebrities, particularly in the acting profession. We found out that living our lives vicariously along with the actor/actress fulfilling some role in TV or in the movies is a big part of what gets and keeps us connected to them.
Although theatrics and drama have undoubtedly been around in some form since the time of ancient humans on the plains of the Serengeti, it has only been with the advent of motion pictures, television and video games that we have been able to steep ourselves deeper into the fantasy worlds that these characters represent for us. Sometimes it is the raising of the mundane and the trivial to the level of comic art that does the trick, as in the classic recent case of "Seinfeld." Here the object of focus was always on the most common, everyday occurrences and objects in our lives. This was pure genius because everyone could easily relate to the sea of ordinary behaviors that we are all immersed in. Taking bits and pieces of that and magnifying them to the level of the absurd was truly an enormous accomplishment for Seinfeld and his merry crew.
But then there are the more obvious escapist fare such as the incredibly successful "24," which can represent most of the best adventure stuff currently on TV. Here, if you are a fan of course, you can be titillated and brought to the edge of your seat weekly over issues of enormous moment and apocalyptic consequence, quite the opposite of the absolute insignificance of the "Seinfeld" formula. There, something is made out of just about nothing, while in this case, the something always involves situations, which if in any way were to be made real, would impact significantly on you and me in horrific and extensive ways. So we can cheer on Jack Bauer as he talks, kicks, beats, shoots and shouts his way through an endless chain of seemingly invincible bad guys and gals. It is the very manner in which these scenarios are set up to be, initially, apparently insurmountable, that grabs a true "24" fan.
Indeed, once I missed an episode recently (yes Virginia I am a fan) and I went looking for a way to view it before the next episode. I had forgotten to tape it or record it, or the damn machine did not work, I can't remember which. But when I went on the web to find away to sneak a peek, what I discovered was a huge universe of passion and interest in the show. I also found that I couldn't even get a bootlegged version, though I was ripped off by one vendor who promised to get me a copy, but turned out to be a scam. Well, I'm an addict, so tough on me.
Escape To Nowhere
But more important, the meaning of the show to people I encountered on endless discussion lists and blogs was fantastic. Here in truth we are able to get out of ourselves and be led through unthinkable adventures of attack and mayhem, while at the same time assured, as always, that we will emerge in an hour completely unharmed and thirsting for more manufactured danger to spice up our lives. Why do we need to do this? I'll probably touch on that next time, meanwhile let me know what you think.
Frank Mosca Ph.D. is a life coach, marital counselor with offices in Hampton Bays and Garden City. His views can be seen at frankmosca.com.