Thursday, March 03, 2005

Realism v. Fakeism. . .

Fakeism isn't a word. I know that. No need to alert the authorities. I just couldn't think of the opposite of realism using -ism at the end. Ism is a fun combination of 3 letters and I really wanted you to be able to enjoy it twice. Now you can, of course, one of them isn't a real word but you can ignore that for the sake of enjoyment. In some ways, this word describes itself because it is a fake word thus a 'fakeism'. I created a word. How thrilling. Or maybe I should just get to the point of today's post?

I was sitting at my computer trying to think of what to talk about today. For whatever reason, Darolyn's all time favourite televsion show came to my mind, Dawson's Creek. During it's run, it was an incredibly popular show. I know many teenage girls that enjoyed it week after week. Truth be told, it was an incredibly unrealistic potrayal of high school life. The kids didn't sound like teenagers nor did they really look like them. They more looked like how high school kids wished they looked as in being fully developed and free of acne. Puberty seemed to have long past by these teens. When it came down to it, the dialogue was very far fetched and a little too wordy. The stories? Not very realistic at all. Yet the show was a big ratings grabber. I even have to admit I've seen an episode or two in my day and it didn't completely make me gag. Was it even close to being anything resembling the real world? No. I wouldn't even say it was well written but just the same, it had its following.

I then started thinking about other television shows. How accurate were they to the real world. I've heard many people say how ER isn't even close to correctly protraying a true emergency room. 'Friends' has to be the farthest thing possibly from actual life in New York. Can a struggling actor really live in an apartment of that size? Not real. Very fake. But very popular.

We aren't even talking about just stretching the truth a little bit. I know countless web geeks who would spend paragraphs and paragraphs pointing out the enormous flaws in such shows(like this one). Even the fans of the shows, will openly admit it doesn't resemble their high school or their job or their whatever. It's not real. Yet with all it's inaccuracies people still sit down and watch. The real kicker? They can still relate to the characters. An audience can connect despite this world not being a whole lot like theirs.

There is a downside. The audience can get discontentment from watching these unrealistic shows. They can pine for what they see on television. They can convince themselves this is what reality is and they are somehow missing out. They will wonder where their soul mate is or wonder why they can't talk on a couch in a coffee shop all day. They'll think they are missing out. I can relate, at age 6 I really wished I could have a lightsaber and make thing fly across the room. Then again, I was also 6.

The other side of the tale, how interesting it is how people can connect to something that is so incorrect. There's a difference between outright fantasy and a show about 6 friends. In Star Wars, I don't expect realism because it's not even in my world. In a show about high school, I'd assume it should seem like something I went to. But it isn't. Somehow, a relation is formed between show and audience. Audience chooses to ignore the 'fakeism' of it all.

At some point, I think I lost the purpose in this blog. I'll try to steer it back on track. Starting. . . now. I find it interesting that as long as you can connect with a viewer/reader at some level then they are willing to give you some sort of suspension of disbelief. Because the viewer likes the hapless, roguish, slacker, cute boy then they are willing to ignore he has class with all the same 18 people. Really fiction is all about the characters and the situations the characters are thrown into. You need to care about the character in order to care about the dillema. If you care enough, there is room for inaccuracies and flaws.

Maybe not the biggest encouragement for good writing. It is a lesson on how important it is to make sure you make the people in the fiction seem real. Other things might be off but you can still believe in the people. Maybe not believe they are in high school but their personality and feelings are real. Thus the writer has afforded himself some 'fakeism'.

To all my inspiring television writers, you can make a camp worker live in a mansion and drive a porsche thus making it one of the most unbelievable shows around. You may still hook the viewer if you can make them believe in whose driving that porsche.

5 comments:

  1. no matter how far fetched it is I will ALWAYS love Dawson's Creek...and I miss it dearly...and it's all thanks to Candice Dunning! THanks Candice!!!!

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  2. 'The Last of the Mohicans' [sp?] was based on a true story wasn't it??? because then there would be some sense of realism to it...cause i've grown madly in love with that Hawkeye!! [sigh.]
    -k

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  3. I think you'll find said actor never had to pay half the rent due to totally awesome buddy who paid the majority....
    Friends is totally realistic and i'm moving to NY to prove it.....
    well maybe not

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  4. a camp worker driving a porche??? that just what my sitcom needs. you don't mind if i write that up do you???

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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