So I was supposed to watch Prison Break tonight on Fox to give it one last chance before deciding if it’s worth my time or not. Instead, while I did watch a good portion of the show, I kept flipping back and forth to Gilmore Girls on WB. Which won out for me? Keep reading.
Well, Prison Break is drama, I like that. Episodes aren’t necessarily stand-alone, I like that. But everything is too dramatic and extremely focused. I imagine that if I were in prison and trying to escape using only a body tattoo as my map, life would be pretty focused. The problem I have there is that the only times my life gets so focused is when I’m in the middle of depression or, at the very least, completely irrational behavior. So while there is excitement, the massive amount of importance dedicated solely to one goal by so many people with only minor subplots that may get fleshed out slightly over time isn’t all that positive. At least in my life.
Shows like Gilmore Girls, however (and The West Wing and House would definitely fall into this category as well) deal with a bit more than one single thing over the course of a season. While not entirely exisitng within reality, they borrow the diversity of events that real life can bring and tell a story about life through characters that I can at least distantly relate to. The great event of the show isn’t the entire show, but one of many events being experienced, reacted to, and enjoyed or feared by each character in their own way with intertwining relationships that feel real rather than forced or soap operatic. Not everyone in each show has to deal with the crisis of the week, month, or season. Some never touch the main plot, or do so only sparingly. Others are only witnesses, but the events do not consume them in unhealthy ways (and if they do, that becomes it’s own event with the show recognizing the problem with that in some fashion).
I see more Gilmore Girls, The West Wing, and House in my day-to-day life than Prison Break and so I would rather spend time watching them. Rather, I see the ordinary parts of my day-to-day life used in different, sometimes extraordinary ways in a fictional setting. In the same fashion, the ordinary events of others or even characters on TV will, on occasion, be the extraordinary events in my day-to-day life. We exist in the same world, just different places.
Prison Break simply doesn’t share my reality and not because it’s in prison. I’ve seen prison stories before that shared my space just as much as the shows I’ve listed that do so (Shawshank Redemption comes to mind as well as others). It just doesn’t feel real.