Every Walker, I will go with thee

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Yesterday, I wore a cardigan, a bow tie and my tortoise shell plastic glasses to church. I could not have looked more poindexter-y if I were actively trying. Though, my intellectual garb did help when I was glowering over the speaker who spoke in favor of Prop 8.

I also spent a large chunk of yesterday watching episodes of Brothers & Sisters. I rather like this show, but I started noticing with the second season how each of the characters really only faces one issue. Justin is the addicted war vet, Kitty is the politico, Sarah is coping with family/work balance as a working, now divorced, mother, and Kevin is a relationship-phobic gay man. Whenever we see the characters, they're either coping with their topical trouble or are interacting with other family members on theirs. Because I've just noticed this (I'm nothing if not an indulgent viewer), they're starting to seem a bit flat. Even now, when they're trying to pull other dimensions to these characters' lives (like Kitty's Kinderlust), they don't come off as entirely authentic.

I wonder, though, if this isn't the appeal of the show. Rather than being a show about a single person coping with a wide-range of life challenges, B&S manages to make itself identifiable on a level that transcends personality. Viewers aren't forced to agree or identify with a real human, but with a shorthand version of a personal struggle, something they've probably faced themselves in a slightly different twist. In this sense, it's sort of like a well-crafted, disguised modern morality play. It helps that the writing is crisp, the acting spot-on and heartstrings just sufficiently tugged.

If I were a real cultural studies type, I'd probably spend some time writing academic articles about this series. One thing that'd be really interesting is to track is the amount of time spent on each Walker family member. If the show runs for several seasons (which it should, since it's one of the best serial dramas on right now), you could then even watch the evolution of issues across time and the concerns of the general public. Or explore which two characters/issues interact the most and what the intent of the writers is in doing that. Sigh...I really should just go back to academia, shouldn't I?

3 comments:

[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

I love that mental picture. Was that in sacrament meeting that the speaker was talking about prop 8?

alea said...

it was in sacrament. He then went on to reference individual paragraphs of the Proclamation, as if we all had it memorized.

[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

Don't you?

You bad Mormon you.

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