Now, that I can see this glorious line up ahead, it means I can detach from my laptop and enjoy a little bit of non-writing time. This is how I came to discover ‘Sky Catch up’ and the current series of Grey’s Anatomy!
I have not watched this show for, I’d say, six years. That was, until Monday night when I found myself being sucked down the worm-hole of the lives of Derek and Meredith. I was reminded why this series has become a juggernaut of American drama. The drama is relentless, the production values are through the roof, the acting is great, it holds you in its bubble for forty minutes and the writing, oh the writing, is superb.
Unfortunately I happened upon the episode when (spoiler alert!) Derek dies! So, there I was in floods of tears for the lives of these fictional characters who err on the side of ‘cheese’ more often than not. “It’s a good day to save lives.” As Dr. Shepperd’s line goes, but if we met a doctor in real life who said that, let’s face it we’d punch them. But, in the world of Grey’s Anatomy it works. My husband claims never to have cried or become emotional over a film or book. (no, he’s not a robot, but sometimes I wonder!) When I told him of my late night blubathon caused by the TV the following conversation took place,
“You must enjoy it.”
“No I do not! Why would I enjoy getting upset?”
“You must, or you wouldn’t do it.”
“I don’t choose to do it. I get swept up in the characters, in their lives, I empathise. That’s why I get upset.”
He looked at me blankly, obviously not having a clue what I was talking about (he’s a business man, he deals in hard, cold figures). “I still think you must enjoy it.”
At this point I terminated the conversation and decided to blog about it instead. So, here I am days later still thinking about poor Derek and Meredith and wondering what makes us engage with characters? Why do some resonate so clearly that they transcend time? In short; what is it about great fiction that makes us engage emotionally with its characters. Why do we ‘allow’ ourselves to become sad, scared, happy, or angered by made-up people? It’s fascinating, don’t you think? And the answer lies at the heart of all fiction. Fairy tales and stories have been told since the beginning of time, we will always be entertained by a great story. How to make it ‘great’ is the ultimate challenge.