So I’ve been watching a lot of Glee lately, and it makes me start to think: why is it that watching dramas makes us feel equally better and worse about our lives?
I love drama. I thrive on it. Juicy gossip? Tell me, ‘cos I gotta know. I won’t do anything with the knowledge, generally speaking. I’m a great voyeur: gathering information on all of my dear friends, but never spilling their secrets. I love knowing how people behave because it helps me understand them better. Everyone has their own motives for acting a certain way, or reasons why they react the way they react. Humans are complicated creatures, and life is a mix of chance and careful planning. I find this beautiful, heart-breaking… and endlessly fascinating. Sometimes real life is more exciting than the TV shows, yet it can also be horribly boring, or even worse: absolutely nothing like I expected it should be.
Which is why I am addicted to scripted drama. I hate it sometimes, because it doesn’t seem real. The fairy-tale romance, the over-exaggerated heartbreak of a scorned lover, the humour… Yet these parodies are based on real experiences, either first-hand or observed, so there is an element of truth to them. And because it is scripted, anything is possible: the author can realise the dream romance that she had as a girl, give her characters the happy ending that she never had, wrap things up neatly and slap a happy bow on it. Who doesn’t enjoy seeing “those two” finally get together, or “that bastard” finally get what he deserved? This is the appeal. Yet I hate it because I wish my life could be that easy, that predictable: that I could write the perfect boyfriend into my life, knowing exactly when and where he’d turn up.
As I watch, I sympathise with the characters, crying like a girl at times. I also laugh and cheer, following the characters on their journey. It’s like a balm for my heart to watch the romantic scenes; it cheers me up to see “love” happening, even if it’s fake. And when it’s over, I can also breath a sigh of relief: thank goodness my life isn’t crazy like that!
Yet when it’s over, I suddenly feel a lack. My life isn’t like that, it doesn’t have a method to its madness. At the end of the show, it wasn’t me who found love, it was the character. So watching the show actually did me no good. I had a moment of pleasure, and then returned to my own life of uncertainty, of sloppiness and mistakes, of putting my happy face on in the hopes that someone will like my smile. But I smile anyway, because as random as life can get, there is beauty in it too. I make plans and work towards goals, and take the surprises as they come. I might not be able to see the end of my “drama,” but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t something good out there, right? …
Aw forget it, I’m gonna go watch some more Glee.