It isn’t always true that good shows are difficult to watch, of course. Shows like the Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother are excellent and I have no trouble tuning in and watching all the way through. A show doesn’t have to be super deep to say something meaningful about the human condition or to entertain, and I firmly believe that these are worthy goals. I am not one of those people who dismiss romance as meaningless fluff, and I believe that genre fiction as a whole generally does a better job of making a point or making someone think than literary fiction does, though that isn’t what this post is about.
I was watching Falling Skies and it struck me how often I felt the need to leave the room during it lest I be overcome with righteous anger; not at the writers or actors or producers, but rather at the sheer truthiness of the show. It’s the same sort of anger I see when there’s a political ad on that I violently disagree with (a thing that happens so often that my guy, who is usually the one with the remote, is in the habit of muting or otherwise flipping past them) but not the same exact anger, because it’s a different sort of despair. Instead of my intelligence being insulted or my morality being trampled, I have a burning feeling in my gut that says, I know how this is going to go and I won’t like it.