Monday, December 01, 2008

Media sadness

I have told you about this before, that i am a wimp as far as visual entertainment. I think it's getting worse.

We tried to watch the series "Mad Men" recently. I made it about half way through the first season. The Mister still wants to watch, but i don't. It's just so sad. The people are all miserable and fucked up, and so despicable towards one other. After every episode i felt depressed.

The Mister can watch if he likes, i will just leave the room. Which means he probably won't watch it.

Imez wrote something about the movie "Trainspotting" in a post. I admitted that i left partway through that movie too, feeling battered and sad.

Imez answered "I never thought of you as the type of girl to wander away from things that seemed depressing."

Oh, yes i am.

It's hard for me to understand why people want to watch/read things about sad, unhappy people who are unlikely to change. It's difficult to watch things that make me feel sad. I have a hard enough time trying not to be sad without any help from media.

We also started watching "Arrested Development" while Em was home for Thanksgiving. I did some laughing, but i also wanted to slap the people and tell them to stop being so self-indulgent and get a spine. Plus the undercurrent of financial desperation makes me sad.


Can you explain it to me?


Princess in Galoshes said...

Meno, I'm EXACTLY like you. I can't watch most TV or most movies. I also don't particularly like sad books. I feel like there's enough sadness in life without voluntarily taking on additional fictional stories to mull over.

Have you seen Wall*E? Best movie in a long time.

peevish said...

I understand what you are saying, and I think I just have a higher threshold for it than you. My husband is the one in our house who can't watch Mad Men. He is more sensitive than me. The show does make me sad and frustrated for the characters but I still watch it. That being said, there are some movies & TV shows that I never want to see again, and Trainspotting is one of them. I remember seeing Fargo when it first came out, and being appalled at how much people were laughing at it. I still cannot find violence, particularly aimed at women or children, to be funny. I do laugh at lots of other things: 30 Rock, Shaun of the Dead, and Arrested Development. I guess the more absurd, the better.

peevish said...

He is more sensitive than I.

When will I learn to preview?

Anonymous said...

I think you were correct the first time peevish!

I can't watch "comedy" that's based on hurting someone's feelings over and over. Just can't. I also skip parts in books that I'm re-reading because I know they make me sad.

furiousBall said...

those movies and tv shows? they're all make-believe.

thailandchani said...

I can't explain it because, well, I'm just like you! I don't find most "entertainment" entertaining at all, especially when it is rooted in schadenfruede. Why poison my consciousness with that kind of crap?

I watch very little network TV, preferring Netflix where I can choose what kind of thoughts and activities I bring into my personal space.


Scott from Oregon said...

Cave paintings.

Humans use media to "practice" dealing with life, so sadness and violence are the most popular aspects depicted.

"Desensitizing" can actually have good connotations.

How about those Seahawks?

Lynnea said...

Oh I'm just like you and my husband says, "We'll never get to watch much of anything but animations together." To which I say, "I love animations!" Heh.

Maybe the propensity to watch these things stems from the same reason people listen to depressing, break up songs just after they've broken up? You know, wallow deep and then maybe the morning light might feel a little brighter? Or maybe it makes the person feel good that their life isn't that fucked up? I don't know. I'm only able to hazard guesses.

Anonymous said...

I certainly don't care for shows, stories or anything that is "sad for sad's sake" but I do think that one can find a richer, more interesting story in the struggles and anxieties we find all around us. Cormac McCarthy doesn't write feel-good tales but he sure does write powerful ones. Existentialism is a heck of a lot more interesting than fairy tales.

ms chica said...

I turn to media less for entertainment these days and more to stimulate me to think, whether it be bad thoughts, good thoughts or problem solving. I can suffer though watching fictional characters fumble through their lives making the same mistakes over and over, because many of the real people in my life suffer the same fates...Sort of sticking with the devil you know. That being said, television seldom holds my attention exclusively, and I usually have a crossword nearby.

Gordo said...

I find people doing ridiculously embarrassing things on television to be painful to watch. I don't watch a lot of series tv for the very reason that the vast majority of it is drek.

The air of financial desperation is what keeps us away from casinos. I like the sights and sounds of the places and the excitement of trying to walk away with some money, but being surrounded by desperate people who should certainly not be there is painful.

meno said...

princess, i loved Wall*E! I can't wait to see Bolt!

peevish, But WHY do you still watch it if it makes you frustrated and sad? You will learn to preview about the same time i do, which is never.

mary, i'll have to call in a grammar expert. I skip parts in books too, or skim really fast to get to the part where it's over.

furious, NO! Who knew??? So why would anyone want to watch fictional people being sad and stupid?

chani, i watch tv like "It's Me or the Dog." That's about as deep as i get.

scott, how so? I mean with the desensitizing thing. I am not a follower of the Hawks although i don't think they are doing very well.

maggie, i know, i feel badly that i can't watch this stuff with him. Maybe my life isn't fucked up enough for this wallowing you speak of.

mamalujo, hmmm. I don't only read happy books. Maybe visual input is more affecting to me.

marsha, let's go watch kids movies together!

ms. chica, i should do that, watch with a crossword puzzle. Give me something else to focus on.

gordo, it is drek. And the humiliating seems to be getting more common, or so i read. Casinos make me sad too.

The Real Mother Hen said...

Interesting. Well, there is actually a lot of psychology behind - apparently when people watch someone else "screws up", the USUALLY feel better about themselves. And if you look into the history of drama, something sad/ heart wrentching is always popular during the difficult times. If you are the type who can dis-engage yourself from the drama, then you fall into the category of the few who can't stand the film. Interesting post. You give us a sense of who you are too :)

PS: Btw, you want to crochet? Mister watches the show, while you sit there crocheting, it's a great way to be there yet not there.

Anonymous said...

Use your powers for good then -- start an email writing campaign to get the legal eagles to release the next season of "Project Runway" -- whether on Bravo or Lifetime -- I don't care!

Cheesy said...

I still haven't gotten all the hoopla over arrested development...Sigh..Ad Men pisses me off and isn't the fact that political news shows are sad enough keeping us from the gloom and doom shows?
Office is also one that grates on my nerves.I find some parts funny but most pathetic.

And another thing! TV shows that depict the Fathers as dolts frost my ass....
Give me Discovery and Food Network!

Cheesy said...

Oh btw I highly recommend "Lars and the Real Girl".. Sad but with rays of hope and love... I LOVED it

Anonymous said...

I watched Mad TV on the weekend because my daughter was watching it. I laughed a little but was shocked at how mean the humor was. It's getting much harder for me to watch TV because so much of it is mean spirited or sad or reinforcing stereotypes. So no, you're not alone. I tend to close up, pull up my bridges when things become too much for me. My girlfriend pointed out to me that I am not unfeeling but rather that I feel too much. Sound familiar?

meno said...

mother hen, i did dig out my crochet last night, because of you! My yellow blanket is getting quite big. It keeps me warm while i work on it. I am not very good as disengaging.

daisy, i know you love this show. You are made of sterner stuff than i. Project Runway rulz!

cheesy, "Lars and..." is already on my Netflix list. I can't wait. I don't like Office either.

deb, There's a Mad TV show?? Who knew? You know, i hesitate to say that i feel more than other people, because how would i know how others feel. But you may be right. We seem to be in the minority about what entertainment we can stand.

The Real Mother Hen said...

Hey good for you - the crochet part. Now my husband watches whatever he wants to watch, and me, instead of leaving the room, I crochet instead, this makes us two stuck in the same room, ok, not so romantic, but it does help to save heating cost haha :)

Hey, what was the temperature up in SEA yesterday? It was 67 for us! Unbelievable!

TTQ said...

Honey likes to go to sleep with Fox News or TruTV on. Talk about depressing, current news and old murder investigations. All true which makes it worse. I wait till he snores then I come to bed and watch MY dvr'ed shows. Totally worth the wait to go to bed.

Robin said...

memo - thanks for the kind words. "unutterably sad" IS exactly what it all is, including me.

i don't like watching depressing shows either...that's what life's for, i guess. i do like watching comedies and occasionally, an action film (when i feel the need to kick some ass - transference, anyone?).

maybe you could blog while the mister watches something you don't like?

lu said...

I think there is sad or melencholy, for which you know i've a pencant, and then there is cavalier disregard. I can't watch films with cavalier disregard.

LazyLazyMe said...

She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die;
And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh,
Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips:
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
Veil’d Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
Can burst Joy’s grape against his palate fine;
His soul shall taste the sadness of her might,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung.

Keats knew why we must see the sad to know the joy.

Beauty is not always a thing mirth.

Anonymous said...

Oh how I wish I'd walked away from Trainspotting before he dove into the diarrhea toilet to retrieve his drug-laden suppository. That scene haunts me.

One of my favorite tv series is My Name is Earl. Have you watched that? While it pokes fun at the trailer trash stereotype, I find it curiously uplifting.

meno said...

mother hen, i abandoned this crochet project so long ago that they no longer MAKE the yarn. Guess it will be smaller than originally planned. It's about 45 and....wait for it...RAINY!

ttq, doesn't the snoring interfere with your tv watching?

robin, you're welcome. I try and blog, but i don't want him to know my URL and so i can't have him looking over my shoulder.

lu, i just don't have the stomach for it.

lazy, i read that out loud. Sigh. So beautiful.

franki, gee, thanks for that visual. I haven't watched Earl. Maybe it's about my speed.

Imez said...

Honey, you got sad from Arrested Development? Undercurrent of financial desperation? Meno, sweetheart! You poor thing!

I have so much more to learn about you. I wish your blog was anonymous, though it wouldn't really matter I bet because sadness isn't something you're interested in giving free reign too.

And, as an aside. I'd really like to hear your Twilight rant. I know as much about this book as twenty seconds on Wikipedia can tell me. I know it seems to mostly be about abstinence and going to the prom. I want to know more, but pretty much just from you.

Mels Place in Big Bear said...

Maybe in your core you fight depression and are too smart so you look to tv/movies to entertain. Probably others said the same thing already. I'm late as usual.

sari said...

Someone recommended Mad Men to me and I started watching one show (where one of the guy's dad dies) and I couldn't even get through that one episode. I'm glad I'm not the only one.

I'm sure it's good but I don't seem to be the type that watches the popular shows. I watch things like Project Runway and Top Chef. Oh well.

Magpie said...

i'd almost always rather read a book. or read blogs. or take a bath. i dunno, tv just doesn't do it for me anymore...

Anonymous said...

I couldn't do Mad Men either, and I'm getting tired of trying to explain to people why. Also, my husband watches Sons of Anarchy on FX, and I tried it, but couldn't do that one either. And forget any Law and Orders, or Cold Cases, or whatever drama of the week. I know that stuff is fiction, but it's not entertainment to me.

I am SO HAPPY that I was never cool enough to check out Trainspotting. Sounds like I'd be scarred.

Also, love your assessment of Twilight.

Vulgar Wizard said...

No, I can't. Why do I like to watch Intervention on A&E, knowing full well I'll see people at their weakest, lowest, most vulnerable moments and hoping that in the end they'll accept treatment and succeed, even if they usually relapse and fail? Is it because I have a cousin with Bipolar Disorder and substance abuse issues who's been in and out of rehab for half of his life and has yet to make "the change"? Probably. Is it because it's like an automobile accident in that I just can't seem to look away? Maybe. Almost always, though, it makes me thankful for my own fucked up life which almost always appears near normal after an episode of Intervention.

Vulgar Wizard said...

Oh, and give me Family Guy any day, I say!