Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Here's the problem with really good drama: it makes you feel like you picked the wrong career.  

Of the major television shows I've gotten really hooked on, the very best have always made me feel somehow inferior . . . and pretty much a loser.  And - lucky me - I got to experience that yet again with Aaron Sorkin's newest, The Newsroom.

When - well after its original airing - I decided to take on all 7 seasons of The West Wing, I experienced deep remorse I hadn't studied political science and interned at the White House.  As the series crept forward, I kept thinking what a great Press Secretary I would have made.  I will admit that I STILL watch Grey's Anatomy (judge me, if you will), and while I'm totally over it now, the first few seasons featuring the main cast members as Interns had me questioning my proclaimed distaste for medical science.  Shows like Downton Abbey and Mad Men have me wishing I had been born in a different time period . . .  if only for the clothes!

Now I did watch the premiere of Breaking Bad Sunday evening (an AMC series about a chemistry teacher who finds out he has lung cancer, starts cooking crystal meth to make money to pay off all his debts before he dies, and eventually becomes a drug kingpin), and had no urge to become a meth-cook.  However, the excitement and roller coaster ride of power and danger definitely had me feeling like my life was a little ordinary and colorless.  So I guess my arguement can't apply systematically to every TV drama I patronize, but I think my point remains the same: really good drama makes you excited.

For those of you who don't know, if I had to "pick another career," it probably would be journalism.  It's one of the reasons why I write this blog.  I like to write.  I like to think I can write persuasively.  Ironically, I hate the news, but that's because most of the news is depressing or not worth reporting.  Where good journalism CAN differ from news reporting, in my opinion, is that there are more opportunities to tell fascinating stories.

I've been hearing about HBO's The Newsroom for a while now, and we happened to find the first three episodes streaming online last night.  And, Oh my.  The show has Sorkin's typical fast-paced, fiery dialogue and snappy exchanges.  The characters always seem completely at one extreme or another, first utterly vulnerable and then suddenly billowing like a storm cloud.  But they are always, without fail, excited about doing their job.

And in the first 15 minutes of the premiere we find that a young Newsroom intern has "accidentally" been promoted to the lead anchor's assistant, and then within another five minutes she's suddenly made an ASSOCIATE PRODUCER.  And of course they are all like 22 and have zero experience.  What????  Who gets that lucky?  Yeah.

All I could think about as I was falling asleep later was, "what the F am I doing with my life?"

Oh, I know it's not realistic.  You don't have to remind me that if I had selected any of the aforementioned careers and pounded after them, I would have spent probably 8 years in college with no social life, several years as an intern or personal assistant hating my life, and then IF I WAS LUCKY, might have gotten some random position where I felt like I actually contributed to the state of the nation.  I realize that TV drama takes real life and glorifies it past all recognition.

But it is hard, sometimes, to remember the big big BIG dreams you had as a kid and realize maybe you didn't try hard enough, maybe you shouldn't have given up so easily.  But, oh well . . .

not everyone makes the news.

1 comment:

  1. i wanted to be cop when i watched the wire. i hate cops.