Monday, July 27, 2009
Reruns of Sitcoms v. Dramas
Elinor Whitney reading. (I don't know either)
We rewatch TV shows on occasion. They make a good nightcap, entertainment while cooking or cleaning, even a dinner accompaniment when we've been together all day long for months.
We never watch a drama a second time. See it once and it's history in our house.
Why? We puzzled it out on a walk today.
Dramas are almost completely dependent on their ending. So if you know the ending, there are few pleasures along the way.
Comedies put greater effort into their dialog. I can remember almost no dialog from any TV drama I've ever seen. But comedies often have several good lines on each show. Lines you can repeat years later.
Comedies often have set pieces that are memorable. Think of Frasier with all the screwball episodes. Think of Seinfeld with all its routines. I can still remember episodes of Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, All in the Family, Cheers, Mash, Taxi? Wouldn't you watch the episode of Taxi where Jim takes his driving test if it were on right now?
What episode of a drama holds the same place in your heart?
When I watch a show for the first time, I am just as likely to choose a drama as a comedy. But it will never get rerun in this house. I remember it too well and only for its conclusion. Does this make sense? Do you watch any dramas for a second time? Is the writing less sharp? Is all pleasure dependent on its ending? What do you think? Maybe it's not you, it's me?