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TV characters are old friends

| Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Warning: “Parks and Rec” spoilers ahead.

TV shows are better than movies, and let me tell you all why. Movies are too short and work too hard to wrap everything up in a neat little package and give you the ending you expect. Movies are so predictable, and I find that upsetting and discouraging. But TV shows can go on for however long the writers can make interesting story lines. Twisting and turning, taking their sweet time to fully flesh out characters and story lines — I love that. I am here for ten seasons of a show and more, intricate backstories and dramatic storylines. Please distract me from my life and let me step into another world.

Movies try to fit too much into two hours, lazily explaining a character’s motives and then jumping right into the action of the movie. But in TV shows you get to know all of the characters and their motives. You get to root for them and go through their failures and triumphs with them. In movies everything is condensed and lacking. But TV characters are whole and round.

Movies work too hard to wrap everything up neatly. Lovers reunite, the underdog finally wins or the hardhearted character finally opens up and enjoys life. But that’s too neat for me. I want to be invested in the story, I want to get to know the characters and feel the natural progression of the story. When TV shows have a long run, they can keep going back to jokes and they just get funnier every time. There is more of an opportunity to build up long running jokes and have funnier, more natural interactions between the characters. Comedy movies try to cram too much in, and although I’m a sucker for a quick laugh, you can just feel the writers shoving every funny line they can think of into each scene. Whereas longer running jokes — like when the Bluths do their chicken impressions throughout the show “Arrested Development” or every time Jerry/Larry/Terry/Garry Gergich is the butt of a joke on “Parks and Rec” — I just have to laugh out loud every time. Every time there is another disaster on “Grey’s Anatomy” I am distraught because of the emotional attachment I have to the characters and the time I have invested with the show.

My favorite show, “Parks and Recreation,” has never let me down. When I think about Ann and Leslie’s amazing friendship, I am inspired to be a more supportive and enthusiastic friend. Watching Ben and Leslie’s relationship grow from a tense hatred (mostly from Leslie) to a beautiful romantic relationship, I am encouraged to stick to my beliefs and give everyone a chance because you never know who may surprise you. Seeing April’s growth from apathetic intern to falling in love and finding her passion of helping other people find what they want to do with their life, I am reminded that everyone cares about something and it may take me awhile but I will be able to find my passions in life and lead an exciting and fulfilling life.

A favorite show’s cast should feel like old friends. We have seen their embarrassing stories, gone through their heartbreak and cheered them on in their triumphs. Movies are just the quick stories we share with people we have just met. Shows may be messy and long, but so is life.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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