Tag Archives: tv shows

some brilliant writing

last night my sister came over to watch the New Aussie Drama Offspring. It was pretty meh. But we got suckered into watching the show that comes after it, and that was a revelation.

The show is Married, Single, Other and there are going to be spoilers, so maybe don’t read on if you were thinking about watching it.

The episode started kind of regular-paced, but was good enough to keep us past some ad-breaks. But by the time one of the women found out at the end that she had an inoperable brain tumour and six months to live, I was clutching special k to my chest and trying not to shake the house down with my repressed sobs.

Ok, so I may be slightly premenstrual, but there was also some incredible writing that went into me having that reaction.

Think about it – I didn’t even know these characters before that one episode. I had nothing invested. And really, even in shows you keep up with, you may think “Aw, that’s sad!” but how often are you really, truly moved and made to feel sad?

The dialogue between the woman and her fiance (who she has two teenage boys with) was flawless. Everyday and quirky in a non-contrived/specific-to-them sense (the private language of lovers and life-long friends).

So when the fiance claims that he will punch holes and make the earth spin the other direction before he lets anything happen to his girl, you get why he would say that, and what it means that he does.

(Oooh, getting teary just thinking about it – how lame!)

It’s the very best of that British self-depracating melodrama.

Oh, and another very original description. Today our nephew described special k’s eyes thus: Kind of brown in the middle like they’re rotten, then blue but like cracked glass.

Er, thanks?

catharsis

Me and special k have been watching a lot of The Sopranos recently, steadily working our way through the whole series. The last couple of episodes have been particularly graphic, and I’ve found my reaction puzzling.

There’s a rape scene in the stairwell of a private carpark. It’s filmed matter-of-factly, with no particular dramatic music, and in real time. It shows the woman (who we know and care about) struggle to her utmost but ultimately become powerless in the face of what is actually a very short-lived, spontaneous assault.

I felt everything you would expect: revulsion, fear, claustrophobia, nausea. I also felt, oddly, relieved. I thought: she survived that, and so could I, if I had to.

In another episode a young dancer/prostitute gets beaten to death by the mobster she thought was protecting her. Again, not premeditated and it just sort of happens and is awful and violent and suddenly over.

It was horrible to watch, partly because it is so taboo in our society for a man to beat a woman. But there was definitely, even in the smallest part, a reaction in me of recognition. Of looking a nightmare, a worst-case scenario in the face.

The greeks used to perform tragedies about sons unknowingly sleeping with their mothers and killing their fathers. They did it for the catharsis – the emotional experience of great sorrow and fear without the consequences real-life experience brings.

I guess we achieve the same by watching Tony Soprano eat Fruity Loops for breakfast and shoot people in the head.