Saturday, August 27, 2005

End of Six Feet Under, Beginning of School

Ok, ok, school begins on Monday and I am looking forward to it. In a weird way, even though I know it will be exhausting, I know I am looking forward to the schedule, the students, my faculty brethren and sisters, and, of course, learning. I dig the classes if only because it drives me deeper and deeper into these subject areas. The benefit of repeated teaching means that you begin to understand your work in new dimensions. When the work is substantial it blossoms with each petal offering us something new and different, but the same as well. It's hard to explain but it's one of the reasons that when I teach a class that I have already prepared I still get a bit nervous. The truth is you think you know, but you know better and you never really do. More on that throughout the semester.

So as I told one of my colleagues, the end of Six Feet Under pretty much made me feel like I was suffering some sort of TV-induced form of post traumatic stress disorder. For about two days I walked around feeling as if I had just lost a best friend. That show, more than any other, crawled under your skin because of its messiness. It's not for the faint of heart. The show begins with death, ends with death, and in between there is joy, struggle and suffering. Lots of suffering, mainly spiritual suffering. Families can do that to you, you know. And if your family is dysfunctional and runs a funeral home, well, you get the idea.

Still, what does it mean to lose a favorite serial television show? The loss of a predictable part of modern fiction is something I haven't really thought much about. It's presence, yes, I get that. It helps us mark time, it gives us a narrative through which we can understand our lives in some sort of form of "parallel play", etc. But what happens to the audience when it ends? How does it feel? How should it feel? How did Dicken's readers feel at the end of each of his serial stories? What do Star Trek fans do every time one of their shows are cancelled? Is their a grieving period? Is there supposed to be one?

No comments: