Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

Full Circle

So storytelling has come full circle.  Finally.  Well, it’s come full circle since the 19th century.  How’s that?  I guess storytelling’s probably been around for a little while, but in the recent present the kind of storytelling I’ve spent the majority of my life studying has come full circle.  You see, I’ve always viewed Dickens and all those writers who wrote novels in Serial form to be the precursor to T.V.  Basically, they were the television shows of their day, their day just didn’t have T.V. technology yet.  I mean think about it, every month two chapters would come out and you had to wait until the next month until the next two chapters came out.  Now, every week, you wait patiently for your favorite show to unfold.  There are methods employed to get you to tune in for the next episode or to buy the next chapter, but really this way of having a story unfold little by little is a 19th Century construct, and, as I said, it has come full circle.  

How?  You might ask.  Well, there’s this weird phenomenon like thing of television shows that don’t do so great on t.v. getting relegated to the web.  It’s happened with a few shows when they got cancelled that they are allowed to play out their remaining episodes on the web, but there are a select few shows that actually are produced specifically for the web, and my new ‘T.V.’ obsession is one of these said shows.  (Big surprise seeing as it comes from the creative minds behind My So-Called Life…and Thirtysomething).  The show is called quarterlife and it’s just absolutely amazing. 
Let’s backtrack a big, shall we?  So psychologist have diagnosed a new sort of phase/ailment, much like a mid-life crisis.  It’s called the quarterlife crisis.  Basically, it’s where we, the twentysomethings realize that everything life was supposed to be it isn’t and we try to cope with that.  We’ve just spent four years in college being promised great things when we leave, only to be brutally slapped in the face when we get jobs that pay about $12/hour, don’t have benefits, and basically require us to sell our souls so we can pay rent.  Now, for adults who are used to this, you might say, ‘get the fuck over it whiners’ but when you are first confronted with this fact it’s a little bit bitter to swallow.  These are the defining traits of a quarterlife crisis according to wikipedia: feeling “not good enough” because one can’t find a job that is at one’s academic/intellectual level, frustration with relationships, the working world, and finding a suitable job or career, confusion of identity, insecurity regarding the near future, insecurity concerning long-term plans, life goals, insecurity regarding present accomplishments, re-evaluation of close interpersonal relationships, disappointment with one’s job, nostalgia for universitycollegehigh school or elementary school life, tendency to hold stronger opinions, boredom with social interactions, loss of closeness to high school and college friends, financially-rooted stress (overwhelming college loans, unanticipatedly high cost of living, etc.), loneliness, desire to have children, a sense that everyone is, somehow, doing better than you.  Welcome to each and every one of my neuroses people.  Except for the children part, I’ve got no desire for one of those.  But this is my point.  Basically, psychologists have actually agreed that this is, much like a mid-life crisis, a very, I’m loathe to say important, part of many young people’s lives.  
So anyway, the show quarterlife, which airs twice a week on myspace, is about people who are in their mid-twenties and are having all these kinds of crises.  Perhaps that’s why I’m so hooked on it, because it feels like My So-Called Life for people my age.  It’s a little less whiny, and a little less genius, but it’s still pretty awesome.  I also kind of like that it’s in 8-15 minute segments.  Basically, any normal T.V. show is broken into acts.  A one hour show has 5 acts.  (you’ll note the act breaks by the fact that there is a commercial between acts).  For quarterlife, each act is a ‘webisode.’  It’s odd how time passing in your actual life can feel like time passing in character’s t.v. life.  So quarterlife feels like it’s been going on forever.  There are 33 ‘webisodes’ which means there have been like 6 episodes of an actual t.v. show.  I feel the exact opposite when watching t.v. on dvd: It feels like things move too fast when I’m watching an entire season in 2 days.  
Back to what I was saying at the beginning of this little email.  Dickens used to release two chapters a month, now we get two ‘webisodes’ a week.  In a weird way, by getting a little bit of a whole episode we are reverting back to Dickens and the serialization of the novel.  Now we have the serialization of the serialized t.v. show.  I love it.  
Peace, Love, and WebTV,
P.S. quarterlife is starting to actually air on T.V. Sundays at 9 on NBC.  Watch it if you’re interested.  It’s pretty cool


February 29, 2008 - Posted by | Culture, Hollywood, Literature, My So-Called Life, Television

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