Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Two nights ago Marcy and I finished watching our TV addiction of choice for the year, Prison Break. It was the season finale, and boy, what a great season it was. The plot centers around Michael Scofield, whose brother - Lincoln - is on death row, having been framed for the murder of the Vice President's brother. He robs a bank so he can get put in jail to help his brother - and others, as the show progressed - escape. It's a very intense show, and most of the episodes ended with a cliffhanger, causing me to wait with baited breath for the next week's episode. Every Monday I would say to Marcy, "You know what today is?" She would answer, "It's Monday." To which I would reply, "And you know what that means?" "Prison Break," would be her answer. And I would be giddy with anticipation.

I am also in the process of reading The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Now, before you question my Christianity or my wisdom, read my post below about this book. Anyway, Brown's writing style is a little annoying to me. I know, the book has sold a bajillion copies, but his chapters are each only a couple of pages long, and practically every one ends with some sort of cliffhanger:
  • Langdon could not believe the words that were scrawled on the floor.
  • Collett saw that the keys to the Land Rover were missing.
And so on. I know these fabricated sentences don;t make a lot of sense by themselves, but in the context, they would make one think, "Oh, I can't wait to find out what happens next! I must read the next chapter, all two pages of it!" It simply gets a little tiring after a while. It might work for an hour-long TV drama, but for a novel, I just don't think it works as well.

These two pop culture elements of my life have caused me to think about life in general. What would life be like if it were like Prison Break or The Da Vinci Code? What if, every hour or so, or at least every day, we had this huge cliffhanger in our lives that we had to deal with? I wonder how many of us would be able to deal with that kind of pressure on a regular basis. One minute, we lose our job. The next, we find out we've been set up. The next, we find out it's part of a huge conspiracy. The next, we discover that it is a conspiracy that we actually set in motion. And so on, and so on. By the end of the day, I would be curled up in the fetal position sucking my thumb. Thank God for the comparitively mundane-ness of life. Thank God that when I go home, I can simply kiss my wife, hug my child, and pat my dog on the head without having to worry about the government agent showing up at my door with a gun. Thank God that most days, the most exciting thing that may happen is that I get an e-mail from a friend or discover what great salad Marcy made for dinner. Thank God that the excitement of my life comes from an occasional great sporting event or roller coaster, and not from someone holding a knife to my throat. Cliffhangers are great for TV, not so great for novels, and distressing in real life.


Anonymous said...

It's interesting to me how TV twists reality in such subtle ways.
For example, the legal system is no way like the legal system portrayed in Law & Order, for example. Police are not in reality the way they are seen on TV. They don't work 24 hours a day and they don't get personally involved in cases for the most part.
Reality TV is totally bogus. Imagine, Mike, if you were on an island and being filmed by a huge crew of technicians. Would you actually be spontaneous in your dealings with others or would you be, actually, ad libbing the lines of a character they are having you portray? I also get a kick out of how characters talk to each other. People don't use full sentences in real life and they don't go over the top with drama with what they say to each other. Imagine if you had a bone to pick with a peer at your church and you went in to his/her's office and closed the door and said: I have something to tell you [insert name here] and you better listen and you better listen hard.
Come on! People don't talk or act that way. If you really want to have a laugh, catch a soap opera and watch it without the sound. Watch the facial expressions of the actors and how close they stand to each other when they talk. Imagine standing four feet away from somebody you work with and looking them straight in the eye and talking in clipped sentences to them. Har, har.

Anonymous said...

Blah, blah, blah. Reminds me of when Pope Benedict came out with his condemnation of the Harry Potter series. Why? Everyone was so busy reading HP, so no one was reading Benedict's books! You just can't stand the fact that Dan Brown has written a book that everyone wants to read, and now there's a movie that everyone wants to see. I saw the movie and it was very enjoyable. The critic really is the eunuch of the harem.

Fitz said...

I'm not sure if Anonymous is responding to me or not, but I will assume he/she is since it is a comment on my blog. (I know the first Anonymous is from Steve - the 2nd one is the one I am responding to) I'm not sure, Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, how my post is similar in your mind to Benedict's condemnation of Harry Potter. I'm pretty sure that I didn't condemn Dan Brown at any step along the way. As a matter of fact, in an earlier post, I advocated reading his novel and watching the movie - contrary to Barbara Nicolosi's suggestions - so one could actually be informed to discuss it. Doesn't sound to me like a condemnation so people will read MY book.

Secondly, I couldn't care less that Dan Brown has written "a book that everyone wants to read, and now there's a movie that everyone wants to see." Why would I care? It's not like I'm a published novelist that is vying for readership, or the producers of 'Over The Hedge' who unfortunately chose to open the same weekend as DVC. Nor do I know Dan Brown personally and dislike him so much that I wish ill-will to his potential success. I don't know him except for the picture of him on the book jacket. I simply read the book and didn't really like it. I didn't like how it flowed and how Brown turned every other sentence into major drama. And apparently the critics like the movie about as well as I did the book, giving it a rating of only 22% at But what do we know? After all, we are all just eunuchs...whatever the heck that means.

Finally, if you're going to make a critical remark on my blog, at least put a name to the critique (doesn't count for you, Steve - I know your writing). Unless you're spineless and wishy-washy, then critique away, Mr. or Ms. Anonymous!

Tari Noel said...

I am glad that Scott and I were not the only ones addicted to prison break this season. Although Scott is not sure if he want's me to watch it next season because I get so jumpy.