Introspection versus spectacle

A friend of mine sent me a link to a blog post about serialized shows such as The Office and how they tend to become more like family soap operas the longer they run.

A very interesting point in the post is how that movement tends to allow us viewers to see the characters as someone else instead of what they're intended to be: as symbols of ourselves. The way my friend put it: "instead of re-directing you to your own life, it draws you into the lives of others and their problems".

It seems to be a necessary process. With The Office in particular, identifying yourself with such a difficult character over the long haul can be incredibly uncomfortable. Given market pressures, the show must somehow maintain its audience or die, so it naturally moves toward a more comfortable style of storytelling.

Even though it seems inevitable, it is regrettable. To me, at least. Seems to me that the primary value of art is to shine a light directly on ourselves, and once that process is over, it becomes entertainment. Hence why I applaud the courage of the producers of Battlestar Galactica: they've already announced the end of the series. They've said all they can say, so the show is over. Bravo!

Now, I'm not saying entertainment lacks value. Far from it ... the post simply raised a lot of interesting concepts. While it rambles a bit, it's worth the read.

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