Random Ramblings: It’s about Hope.

(this post has been rolling around in my head all day so hopefully it translates from my head to the screen well enough for you to understand)

Every now and then a series comes along that everyone rants and raves about. Another new adult drama that gets 5 star reviews, best-show-ever blah blah blah. And then I watch it and I feel…nothing.

Well, that’s not true. I watch and episode or two and I agree that the show has quality – it’s well acted, well written, beautifully shot. But it just doesn’t do it for me. After years of trying to figure out why that is, I know what a story needs to keep me engaged.

Hope.

I have to believe that there is hope for the characters. They will be redeemed or survive whatever trauma the series is putting them through. By the end of their story, things will be better.

Star Wars (OT), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings — these are a few of my favorite things stories and they all are full of hope. They do all have their fair share of darkness, but while evil may triumph every now and then, the characters manage to stay strong and be true to themselves.

But, you say, you have read and enjoyed all of the Hunger Games books! You watch American Horror Story – surely those are full of hopelessness. And you would be right.

But, then again, by the ending of Hunger Games, even though life is kinda shit, Katniss has survived. She has learned things from fighting against the Capital, alongside the rebellion. There is enough hope inside of her, even though she would deny it, to keep on living and to care for her fellow survivors.

American Horror Story was the real conundrum for me. The entire premise of the show is that someone is going to be in HORROR for a whole season. Except, how can you have horror without hope? It’s not scary if there is no hope, you would just give up and die (which I think was the problem with Season 2 for me, the people in the Asylum had nothing to hope for after awhile). In Season 1 and 3, the families in that show hoped to survive, so every scary monster, ghost or demon that attacked them was that much worse. Horror cannot exist without hope, which is why the seasons have to end where they do because you cannot sustain that sort of emotion beyond 13 episodes.

Walking Dead and Breaking Bad were the two shows that made me realize this need for Hope. I had been watching Walking Dead since day 1 as I had read a few of the trade collections of the comics and wanted to see how it translated on the screen. I liked the first season well enough. I got through most of the second season. But once we had the whole Sophie thing, I realized this was not going to end well. Things just kept getting worse. Everyone was going to die, sooner or later. Carl was going to grow up to be a mess and one by one every person in the group was either horribly killed or turned into someone that I *wish* would be eaten. The zombies are not going away, there is no hope for anyone.

Breaking Bad I watched the entire first season in a matter of days but I never felt compelled to pick up the next season. Again, I think that is because it is clear from the beginning that there is no hope for Walt or Jesse. This will not be a show where things turn out alright in the end, or even sorta okay. It was all going to end in blue meth stained tears. Even in that first season I knew that no single character was going to make it out of that show a good person.

I watch tv and movies and read books to escape the harsh realities of life. These stories are very personal for me. I don’t just watch and then move on, I tend to connect with characters and become attached to them. And I know that stories with no hope will not make me happy. I’m not denying that they are quality stories, but they are not for me.

Review: Don’t Pigeonhole Me!

Don't Pigeonhole Me!
Don’t Pigeonhole Me! by Mo Willems
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think a few of the reviewers on here missed the point. The title of the book is “Don’t Pigeonhole Me!” and it’s Mo Willems sharing the art he has been creating for DECADES, even before he was famous for his Pigeon and Elephant and Piggie. As he explains in the first few pages, he doodles all the time and sometimes he draws things for his adult friends and this collection highlights many of those doodles.

If you are a teen or adult fan of Willem’s art, you MUST read this book. It gives you insight on his artistic career through his love of ‘zines. It starts out with him as a poor struggling artist in NYC in his 20s, practically tricking his friend to publish an entire ‘zine of his work. And then this becomes an annual tradition that he still upholds today.

You get to watch his entire style grow and expand until you see the Mo we know by the end.

I loved this book. I loved his little notes. I think Mo loved having the opportunity to share this artwork which was just distributed to a handful of his friends over the years. It’s like being a part of his inner circle. The introduction of each collection explains where he was in his life at the time and why the collection is themed the way it is. GREAT book for aspiring artists who need some motivation to go on and maybe great inspiration for a home project or school/library program.

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