Monday, November 27, 2006

More Griping About LOST

Plenty of real-world friends will probably want to lop my head off from all the complaints that I make about LOST. On a similar note, I think I had one friend who wanted to slap me around because I didn't much enjoy the fourth season of Angel.

The comments at Dead Things on Sticks: Oh Dear touches on my feelings about the season arcs for the 2nd one and the 3rd one so far. Just to mention, however, I do think the 3rd season has a somewhat better feeling to it than the 2nd season did at this point.

Have to admit, on some level, though, I haven't met any other fan of the show who has had complaints to the same degree that I do about the 3rd season. They agree with me, somewhat, on season two, but not this one. Nonetheless, I have the same complaint about this season so far: the show has spent so much time building up all this crazy tension without releasing it quick enough for me. The show has resolved all these minor plot arcs, but I just feel the pacing comes too slow for larger plot points.

But if I make a statement like this one about these last two seasons, how can I not make a similar one about the first season? I see two reasons as possible: either the show didn't escalate the stakes so high or they had balanced the increasing tension of mystery with the resolution of these tense situations.

Then again, as I've admitted, I haven't really met too many people in the "real world" who agree with me that there's any issue with this kind of balance in LOST. They're all gobbling it up, loving the increasing tension and enjoying the small resolutions and revelations of information, like the supposed fact that The Others live on another island than the hero's group does.

Me, I want to know more about the agenda of The Others, what happened to "TV">Michael, what's up with showing "TV">Desmond's girlfriend/fianceee at the end of the second season, etc. etc. I just feel that the show has created all these big revelations and mysteries in the past but haven't followed up quick enough with explorations of these revelations and mysteries.

And at the same time, I've lost interest in a lot of the characters. I don't completely know why, except that maybe the show has created all these connections between the characters but hasn't shown more connections for awhile now. Maybe, to me, they've built up these expectations of connection but haven't gone anywhere to explaining any such combinations. I guess I liked not having an expectation of connection between the characters and having the flashbacks and such be more about the characters, themselves, rather than the whole plot.

So, in the long run, I have the feeling that I feel there's all these connections and imbalance of connections between these different aspects. I've gotten frustrated with the build up of tension in comparison to every one else getting excited by all this potential. Along with my frustration, I'm even building up an expectation of feeling underwhelmed when the show finally ends. The production story about extending the show from 3 seasons to 5 doesn't help matters much for me, either.

But, on the flipside, as the author at Dead Things on Sticks points out about people with my criticism, I'm acting somewhat like a fanboy, complaining about the writers not resolving arcs quickly enough and such, wanting that emotional release for the big arcs then getting disappointed in the show once the tension gets released.

I can only think of one retort to that: the plot arcing for Charlie Jade and for Heroes. They both have ensemble casts, Charlie Jade much less than Heroes, but still. . .both shows have a good balance of building tension and resolving it (Well, Charlie Jade doesn't satisfy most people at first, but it hits a good balance by episode 7 then picks up real good at around episode 14. . .still, that's in a range of one season as compared to 2 1/4 seasons of LOST).

Part of the balance that satisfies me, I believe, involves raising mystery/tension for one character or set of them while resolving tension and providing a revelation for another point of view. Now, at the beginning of a series or a season, I can see a point of not resolving a lot of tension too quickly. Maybe I somewhat have that issue with LOST. I'm responding to not just the first six episodes of this new season of LOST, but I'm also responding to the very very slow and not so great 2nd season of it.

Nonetheless, I would enjoy seeing more of a balance between these two aspects. . .or if anything, raising more of the overall stakes and mystery than with just The Others and John Locke. I just feel there's a whole lot of other interesting details and plot arcs left dangling without even teasing the audience with them. So, I guess I want LOST to either provide me with more resolution or tease me more with more aspects and characters they've mentioned but haven't explored much. Honestly, Locke, Kate, Sawyer and The Others have started to annoy me. Jack, "TV">Desmond, Charlie, Desmond's girlfriend, "TV">Michael, Claire and Claire's child on the other hand. . ..

But you never know. Maybe the writers and producers will started addressing all these aspects after the hiatus and beginning of "season 4."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Cover Letter Pitch

Returned from the Thanksgiving trip to New England yesterday. It happened as something of a whirlwind event, running around everywhere to see so many people at the same time without really talking to anyone for much time or for much depth. Does life become this way as we get older and move around?

WORKING ON MY PITCH

One night on the Thanksgiving trip, the fiancee, a friend and I discussed pitching my novel. I, unfortunately, never really thought up one or mangled one together from the various discussions that I've had with people. At least, I haven't mangled a good one together.

After dropping the friend off, the fiancee and I had a little more of an in depth conversation about pitches, which turned into a conversation about writing a cover letter to send with my resume. The novel pitch can wait for another day, after I actually finish the thing, but I need to put together a good cover letter to get myself a job.

The fiancee gave me some good tips, but it pretty much drove the point that I focused too much on what a company could do for me rather than the things that I could contribute to the organization. I seriously didn't think I could let myself get that narcissistic. Really, it all turned out that way by combining a bunch of different templates from some books and the career counsellor I saw last year.

Maybe I just haven't had the right frame of mind. After all, I've heard plenty of times that in the job search, the applicant is "selling themselves" and "marketing themselves." I guess I just never fully realized it meant actually pitching myself.
Entering this mode took some bit of conscious and unconscious thiking about the topic.

Maybe my experience Blue Green has taught (along with a couple sessions of Internet research) me some necessary skills for this bigger quest to get a better paying job. Can't say that I've figured out the cover letter yet, but I think using some of the sales techniques I've used for that job in the letter, possibly even in interviews, could help me get that good job.

At least, most of the time, I'll know what a company wants. Now to show them that I call provide for their need. Too bad I have enough fear to procrastinate on this task, but who doesn't. Then again, entering this frame of mind could help me overcome the fear. I think I'm ready, I think I'm ready.

MISERY DOES ENJOY COMPANY

Yes, Roby, misery does enjoy company. Good luck with your job search.

Any tips?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sick, Temping and Looking for Work

Early in the morning right now, before 5 AM. The fiancee and I have gotten up early, so we can make it to our flight back to the Boston area for Thanksgiving.

I've stayed pretty busy lately and haven't really had the cognitive resources to write entries for the Lextopia, work on my job search or do any writing. A strange yet weak sick has struck me, something to do with the sinuses. It may be my allergies acting up or something.

A couple temp assignments have kept me busy and will do so for a couple weeks after Thanksgiving. Hard to believe that my temp assignment with Fannie Mae only ended a couple weeks ago. Since then, though, I've taken notes for a pharmaceutical company doing market research (not something I would recommend) and hanging out behind a desk, watching daytime TV and reading newspapers, magazines and a book doing very very light reception work because no one calls my area of the building or visits.

I did one day of the market research note taking and four days of the reception work. After getting back from Thanksgiving, I'll do a total of 8 days of note taking again, in two day blocks over two weeks. They'll give me some long hours, too, so I probably won't have too much trouble paying bills until December. After that, though, I will need to get my butt into gear.

I find myself in a really strange spot. . .sick, temping and looking for work around the holidays. Not a fun prospect, I tell you, not a fun prospect.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Support Indie Bookstores & Dreams of Jon Stewart

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORES

By going to Booksense.com.

DREAM OF JON STEWART

Last night, I had a dream with Jon Stewart in it.

The fiancee and I rode our bikes on this road back near my old home town. In real life, I normally wouldn't have ridden so far, but I probably could have, if I wanted to do so.

So, we rode our bikes on this road. Passing by a house, we see Jon Stewart in the yard or driveway. We debate it for a little bit then turn back to the home.

We start talking to him and have a grand old time, becoming quick friends. At some point, he has to get on his plane and head to New York City. The fiancee and I, on a whim, decide to go.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Day Break of Excitement

DAY BREAK

Caught Day Break off the TiVo today. I liked it. I even found it a lot more satisfying than LOST lately. I know, I know, I've uttered a heretical statement.

LOST has just disappointed me since the beginning of the second season, with it moving as slowly as it does and the character development having become so disaparate and, well, uninteresting. At the moment, I really only have an interest in the present day mystery plot rather than the characters, unlike in the first season, when I found my interests in the plot and characters balanced. Yeah, every once in awhile, they have a great, stellar episode. In general, though, I really don't care too much.

Hang me. . ..

Now, Day Break hasn't reached stellar status, in my opinion. As I told someone, it feels like an adrenalin packed thriller, mystery, drama and a little speculative fiction mixed in with it probably somewhat akin to 24 with speculative fiction. Now, the speculative fiction aspect doesn't go much further than the comparison to Groundhog Day so far, but it has plenty of possibilities.

Day Break actually kind of reminds me of Charlie Jade, at least when it comes to a character coming to a realization that something amiss has happened and that it needs to get fixed. For people who have seen Charlie Jade, I'm referring to when Charlie finds himself in a parallel universe, not to the overaching plot.

I only have one big criticism of Day Break that I think the earlier, more disparate parts of Charlie Jade pulled off well at first: the main character, Hopper figured out the Groundhog Day effect too quickly. Then again, I had a friend who saw Charlie Jade that thought Charlie should have known off the bat that he had popped into a parallel universe, despite the fact that in the first couple minutes of the pilot, a Charlie voiceover states that Vexcor pretty much propagandized the population of the Alphaverse into not believing that alternate universes existed. To each their own, I guess.

Overall, though, I think the first couple episodes of Day Break did a good job of introducing the concept and its ramifications along with the major characters who take part in the day. Character development takes a second chair to plot development, world development and resolution of the mystery, which combines an actual mystery of murder and framing, similar to The Fugitive, and the mystery of the Groundhog Day effect. We don't know if something mystical occurs or someone has figured out some way to make it happen. Properly executed, these two mysteries do a good job balancing each other out and not competing with each other.

Also, I think the whole concept won't become stale essentially because of two things: one episode doesn't necessarily come as one iteration of the day and the show will only have a limited run of 13 episodes, total. After last night, we have only 11 episodes left.

I would much rather watch this show than LOST, mainly because of adrenalin packed thriller aspect of Day Break. As shown in one of the episodes and partially throughout both of them, a fair amount of back story filters into the main timeline. We don't have flashbacks, but we get information about the past that effects the present. If a show or piece of work doesn't have great character development, then I, at least, want some good excitement and a good mystery that won't last forever and ever and ever. I'm fine with not liking the resolution taste-wise, even if I want to be overwhelmed or properly whelmed, but I want the mystery to last a reasonable time and not overstay its welcome. I don't want the maintenance of mystery sacrificing character development and advancement of a plot.

And since character development doesn't necessarily rank as hugely and vastly important, acting doesn't necessarily come as the number one factor, either, even though it does have to work well. I can't really provide any acclaim for the quality of acting. It didn't disappoint, but neither did it excite me. For a moment or two, I might have actually felt a little emotion. . .even though I could sympathize with Hopper for any irritation faced while bringing people up to speed, after doing so the day earlier.

One thing that pushes Day Break to a next level of keeping my attention: it has Adam Baldwin in it. Come on, you know him! Jayne from Firefly and Serenity and the second liaison to the Senior Partners from Angel. Yeah, he's had plenty of other roles in non-speculative fiction, but that's from where I know him.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Big Mr. Temp Jobless

SAW LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE LAST NIGHT

Fantastic fun movie. It has great bits of comedy embedded in a quite dramatic movie. Most especially, I enjoyed seeing a demonstration of showing the audience funny and heartwarming situations as compared to telling the audience to laugh, feel good or cry. This movie taps into bunches of situations and relationships that naturally touch people in so many ways. If you haven't seen it yet, you need to go see it.

They also had a very good theme to the movie, which has a bit to do with my bachelor's thesis. I won't get into how they relate, though. Simply don't really have the energy or will to do so.

I also enjoyed getting out to see the movie, especially with the fiancee, for the first time in months. Sadly, we have a great movie theater about 10 minutes away that shows great independent movies, and we hadn't been to a film in months, not since Strangers with Candy or The Davinci Code. A pitiful situation I would like to remedy, especially once I get a permanent job.

BIG THING I MISS ABOUT HAVING A PERMANENT JOB OR A LONG-TERM TEMP ASSIGNMENT

Tomorrow, I have a one-day temp assigment doing receptionist duty at an advertising agency. Wednesday, I have another one-day temp assignment transcribing medical focus group stuff for 10 hours or so with my fiancee's laptop. Not the best situation, but it'll help deal with the bills, at least until December. I still have a pretty bright disposition about finding myself a good job in good time.

The last couple days and especially now, though, I feel weird going somewhere other than Fannie Mae to work, especially if that work only lasts one day. I miss the community. I like the people with whom I worked.

One guy and I would get into these great cultural/intellectual discussions that could have lasted all day. I had tear myself away from our conversations. Just the other day, we had this conversation about Romanticism, Neoclassicism, Modernism and Isiah Berlin that transitioned over to Edward Said, Orientalism and Bernard Lewis. This guy brought up some great topics for further discussion and investigation. We still keep in touch, especially about the job search, but I'll miss our random academic/intellectual conversations, especially with the admixture of humor akin to The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and even Ali G. He filled the same role that I did, and he got let go the same day.

In my last month there, this girl who had recently moved from Iowa started temping in our department. She did something totally else and still remains there. The two of us didn't necessarily have all that much in common except for living in the same neighborhood, enjoying a good time, liking a good laugh and wanting to have a permanent job. I'll miss her cheeriness mixed with the paranoia of feeling insecure about having a full time job.

I'll also miss my customer account teams. They all had their idiosyncracies, they motivated me to come up with some not so flattering nicknames and, sometimes, pushed me to the edge of wanting them to go away forever. Despite all the negative parts to it, though, they really appreciated me and they grew on me. I enjoyed how they would simply call me Lex and want to bring up Lex Luthor whenever they brought it up. I enjoyed it when one of them called me up and started the phone conversation with "THIS IS BULLSHIT!" for something I required him to do and another one who made a dumb little joke here and there. This other person on one of the account teams would come over to my cubicle a lot and have me do something that only I could do, and in the meanwhile, we'd get into these interesting, fun conversations about random stuff, like work, existential philosophies about work, retirement and everyday life stuff, politics and so on and so on. And honestly, I worry about those teams, about how much work they'll probably have to do to train the next person who takes my position and the frustration they'll have to face training the newbie. Then there's the projects I couldn't finish with them because I was ordered to leave and the projects need their attention at the time.

Then there's my mentor there. Not only did he teach me a lot of the things I needed to know there, he's a great, stand up guy. Honestly, he kind of reminded me of my older (but not oldest brother) with his stand upness. He had a great sense of humor and had this great fatherly, grumpy old man feeling about him. Mostly talked up music, silly stuff like planning for the wedding coming up in June, the bachelor party he planned and executed a couple weeks before I left and just general stuff about the world, Chicago and so on and so forth. Yet another person I'll miss not having around everyday weekday.

I could go on further about other people I didn't encounter everyday at work or didn't really get much further than hello and smiles while walking the halls and everyday watercoolor talk with an occasional delving into slightly more interesting things. Some of these people even showed a distinct interest in me and my life. While temping there for two months, I had built some pretty good relations with people that began to mean something, no matter how minimally it may have affected my life, and it really sucks that I had to leave involuntarily while doing a good job and getting along real well with just about everyone there.

At least when leaving my job in New England, we had time to adjust and it felt more like a maturing and leaving behind family. And leaving Blue Green, I felt great about finding a job that would pay the bills and not make me feel screwed over and pooped on in the same way, which all gave me more of a sense of relief leaving than anything.

Put simply, I guess I'm grieving. I'm grieving the loss of community that I felt grow around me at Fannie Mae, and the loss sucks. This grief I feel leads me to believe that if you don't enjoy doing the job you do, then you had better find a job where you can build a good community of people around you that will support you and provide you with some fun entertainment when things get slow and some good opportunities to vent in joking ways when things just reach that level of stress and annoyance.

So, yeah, going on these one day assignments this week feels weird. I'd enjoy meeting some new people and possibly create some new relations. When everyone only has one day for it to happen, though, how much effort will they give it? "Oh, he's just a temp. . .." How much effort will I want to put into it? "Oh, this is just a temp assignment. . .." It's all just rather weird. It has to happen, but I'm just sad that I can't go down to The Loop, ride the elevator up a high rise then go where it feels like home. . .sorta.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Jobless

An e-mail I sent my parents and a mentor back in New England:

Well, I can't avoid it, my conscience won't let me.

I no longer have a temporary assignment at Fannie Mae. Even though my co-workers and the associates with whom I worked closest liked and constantly heaped me with praise, the decision makers had hired someone to permanently work the position I had. They decided to do so, despite the fact that I had submitted a resume a month ago and demonstrated consistently my proficiency for the job.

It makes me a little angry that they didn't take into account my demonstrated ability to accomplish and excel at my responsibilities and then had [someone] basically kick me out of the building without any ability to negotiate changing my computer/network password before leaving. . .despite never having done anything wrong and building good relationships with people there Not a big deal, though. Such is life with a big corporate bureaucracy.

My situation doesn't worry me too much. I already have 2 one-day temp assignments for next week. In my free time, I'll continue on the project I discontinued when I got the assignment at Fannie Mae: networking with local insurance agencies to see if they need any CSRs focused more on service than sales. Also, I'll do an aggressive job search in the insurance business and other industries.

Maybe I'm a little annoyed at myself for becoming complacent while working Fannie Mae, but I believe something good will turn up for me. What mom said about losing that apartment before leaving for Chicago sticks me: "Sometimes, these things happen for a reason," and we ended up with a much better apartment. Things may not look completely bright and happy right now, but I've got hope for the future.

Hope all is well with you folks.

- Jesse


I guess I can now buy those Freddie Mac that I've been meaning to get.

That was a joke. . . or was it?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Have an Affliction of Lost Anxiety?

Feeling left out because you don't watch Lost or just because you can't keep up.

Well, you're in luck. They now have a prescription for this affliction: Losticil. Take these regularly, and you'll have to feel that special kind of social anxiety again.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Drafting and Politics

THE COMPLICATIONS OF WRITING A NOVEL

I anticipate a fair amount of frustration in a couple months. Editing the novel will likely start happening then. Right now, though, I keep telling myself not to worry about it now and just write it. The editing will come later, and if I worry about it now, the rough draft will take forever or never get done. It especially won't get finished if I try keeping the different viewpoints consistent and the continuity tight.

I've got three issues in mind:

+ Dealing with the different points of view, I fear some elements of redundancy. I've repeated a fair amount already. Flipping back and forth has gotten fairly annoying. Future readers will probably find it annoying, too, not because they'll flip back and forth but because they'll probably remember a good quarter of the chapter from a past chapter.

Argggghhhhh. . .but, again, I'm simply writing a rough draft. I don't have time to worry about it now.

Maybe I'll have to play around with point of view structure of the narrative. The whole flashback thing can work in TV and movies, but not so well in a novel. I think the experimenting later will breakdown the structure of the narrative, more flashing back and forth between characters. Hopefully it won't cause any confusion or frustration for the reader. . .it could have some interesting impact on the reading experience.

+ Another aspect comes from the rate at which the narrative reveals information. Where does it become dramatically important? Do I need it now to create dramatic impact and to make this one character more identifiable and compelling? Or should I wait until later to start revealing a fair amount of information? Maybe I don't have to reveal as much information as I have been doing. Could I possibly reveal the information less artiulately? And what happened to irrational and very emotional tone that I had taken earlier with this character?

This aspect simply brings up a lot of questions. A fair amount of my ignorance on this one more than likely comes from this being my first novel and story that I hope to publish professionally. As I said before, I may have to make it plain great simply so that it garners some good attention. And it maybe it becomes easier after I get the first one done, even more easier after the second one then much easier for the third one and so on and so on.

But again, I'm just rough drafting this one. Right now, I just need to get the words down on the page. These aspects will get their attention in due time, during the editing stage.

This aspect came to my attention while reading Hand Waving & The Gun In the Drawer at Dead Things on Sticks.

+ I think I touched a little on the last issue already. The fiancee brought up this point. As a quick aside, friends, significant others, etc. etc. that will read your work and give you an honest opinion becomes a very important relationship for a writer to have and nurture.

So far, I've let three people read the first two chapters in this rough draft form. I warned them of he rough draft status and that I didn't want any small or real serious criticism. At the time and still now, I really just wanted their opinion on the overall plot, the characterization of the characters and whether they got into it. I mainly asked them, afterward, what they thought about different characters and what they thought would be happening next.

The fiancee has done a fairly good job at predicting the fates of the characters. Then again, she has that kind of intelligence. Rarely does literature surprise her, yet she repeatedly reads and re-reads certain books, and mostly the franchise fantasy and chic lit stuff. Frankly, I don't understand how she finds enjoyment in the stuff if she can't get that momentary moment of surprise from the revelation in a book, movie or TV show.

Well. . .she hasn't had an easy time predicting LOST, and I think even Charlie Jade has surprised her a little, but 01 did most of that work.

Who, other than writers, really know what 01 will do next? Sometimes, I bet he surprises them, too.

I've only really surprised her once, myself (or, at least, she only says that I've done so once), and I did that the night I proposed. As she says all the time, I guess of all the times to surprise her, the proposal comes off as one of the best times.

But right, back to the issue. The people who have read this version of the novel, so far, with whom I've spoken about the characters commented that a couple of them were weird or they had a hard time reading the point of view of the characters. This current point of view is one of the hard ones. At least, the point of view of this character, as written in the prologue and the first part. I wrote those parts something like two or more years ago, before I started writing that paper that gave me hell and did a good job of whipping my angle into shape for the Project.

The other day, I asked the fiancee if she thought that I portrayed the women in the novel realistically. She said that she enjoyed how one of them got revealed, the character that the other readers liked. I can understand and appreciate their enjoyment, even if I think that character comes off as somewhat stereotypical to me. . .one of those stereotypes that I don't particularly find all that interesting, either, but she plays a real important part in the novel. . .and really, I find it fitting and gratifying that I don't like the character, considering where I got her inspiration (despite how much she has changed).

This current point of view, however, most everyone had trouble with her. One person mentioned that it had to do with the repetition in the narrative. This repetition worked differently than the redudancy from above, but I found it particularly annoying, too. I've tried to fix it the part I'm writing now, but I feel that in doing so, I've gone too far in one direction.

The other day when I asked the fiancee about my portrayal of the women in the novel, she didn't mention the repetition, but she said that she didn't enjoy how this one character developed. I can see her point, somewhat, but I fear that in trying to make her more compelling and identifiable, I may have sacrificed an important part of her, both a part of her, as a character, and her, as a part of he plot.

One bright side to the current drafting, she brought about an interesting plot complication. Looking back, though, I think her past narrative personality brought it about. And also, the dramatic impact of that complication requires some narrative time to pass, which encourages the redundancy. This complication doesn't actually require a ton of time to pass, but a primary plot complication that needs to happen needs that time, and I'm not sure if that complication can happen in another setting. . ..

So yeah. . .this one character and the plot complications that come about from this character is. . .complicated.

But again. . .I'm just drafting. I don't need to worry about these complications yet. I'll have the opportunity to worry about it during the revision and editing stage.

WOOPIE FOR THE RESULTS AND REPERCUSSIONS OF THE RECENT U.S. ELECTION

Yay! The Far Right Neo-cons no longer have control of the House of Representatives.

We don't know about the Senate yet, but one part of the Legislative Branch is a good start.

But especially enjoyable. . .Rummie has resigned his post as the Secretary of Defense. I still have some worry about what the Bush administration might have up their sleeves, but still, this repercussion feels vilifying.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Little Things Count

HOW I'VE PRODUCTIVELY PROCRASTINATED TONIGHT

About 1 hour to reading Romans in the Bible to address a question a friend of mine posed about religous Christians and their views on homosexuality.

Approximately 1 hour figuring out that, since we got the new TiVo about two weeks ago or so, I accidently unplugged the subwoofer. . .and that's why the sound sucked with my stereo.

Imagine what I could've done if I didn't have those two uaeful and/or interesting things distracting me.

I guess Charlie Jade said it right: time is our most valuable commodity, not diamonds, jewels, money or oil. Time.

Think about that.

COOL UPDATE

And somehow. . .I belted out 2 written pages in 90 minutes and feel good today, the day after. Pretty good for me, especially since my 2 pages written can often turn into 3 pages typed.

Unfortunately, I've started fearing the editing process I start once this draft gets done. The thing will most likely have to get pared down, get edited for effect, get rid of useless parts, fixed up the language, fixed up for continuity between not just chapters but also between perspectives that view the same thing and possible revisions of actual events to improve the story.

Is there an Anglo version of oi vey?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Don't Spoil My TV Watching, Darnit!

The scenario:

Last week, the TiVo recorded LOST, but the fiancee and I didn't get to watch it until last night.

Some friends of mine from back on the East coast have had a mailing list, in one form or another, going for a little more than 10 years now. Lately, we've taken to speculating on LOST, like a lot of TV watchers.

This week, though, things reached the brink of a flame war because other members started discussing details about the show. It got even worse after I mentioned a scene that I saw, in isolation from the rest of the show, on The Soup. Mentioning that isolated scene I saw brought on more details from my friends.

And sadly, knowing those details spoiled much of the episode's tension. I can't really project how I would have experienced the episode if I didn't have that one small bit of information, but I can easily speculate that I would have felt a more tension without this small piece of information.

I've had exposure to spoilers about other shows, too. They didn't miff me so much. I don't know how much that lack of miffing might have done with my attitude about spoilers at the time or how much spoilage I felt this time had to do with LOST, as a show.

After some intense discussion with The Fza about genre TV and speculative fiction, I got some exposure to someone who didn't appreciate spoilers. For some reason, his feelings about spoilers came off onto me, too. But did the attitude, alone, screw with my appreciation of the show?

I've had a fair amount of exposure to information about the new Battlestar Galactica, but I haven't seen anything more than mistaken clips and the first few minutes of the pilot that turned me off. Nonetheless, from what I hear about the show, I have the feeling all this information won't dampen my appreciation for the show. People have given me a lot of critical acclaim about the show. So much acclaim, in fact, that everyday, I want to watch the show, more and more, and really look forward to when it enters our Netflix queue.

So if an episode of LOST can get spoiled enough to take away the fun of watching it, does that mean LOST really isn't that great of a show? After all, I've watched Charlie Jade at least two times through, and it just keeps getting better; I've watched episodes of Farscape multiple times without any loss of enjoy; and same goes for episodes of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and Angel.

All the Matrix movies got better with repeated viewings, but how about the original Star Wars trilogy or The Sixth Sense after the first viewing. And how about watching all the Star Wars movies in story chronological order?

When and how does drama resonate enough that it gets better with more knowledge about the story or loses its power once the audience knows the order of events and the major plot points?

Does the first Locke flashback episode still resonate with us after we've seen it for the first time?

"UPDATE": A HILARIOUS STORY THAT ONLY LOST FANATICS WOULD UNDERSTAND AND SYMPATHIZE

Dead Things on Sticks: Rogers' Cable PVR is Evil