Life as a TV Sitcom
by Anthony Weber
The TV sitcom has a basic plot: introduction, dilemma, and resolution in just half an hour. No matter how obnoxious or potentially damaging the dilemma, whatever happens is usually resolved with little or no long-term impact on anybody. The TV drama plays out over years (if it’s a good show), and while the resolution from show-to-show is not as necessary, what is necessary is…drama. Increasingly crazy drama, since the normal dilemmas get old.
The impact? I see a lot of youth living their lives as if this were actually the way life works.
First, youth today believe that life ought to unfold like a sitcom. Something that happens in one episode of their life ought to be resolved quickly and with no impact on the rest of their life. It should be a self-contained story, where everybody gets a laugh in the end. I can’t tell you how many conflicts I have attempted to resolve in which the offending party thinks that the minute he or she apologizes or gets caught, life should just go on as if nothing happened.
Second, they seem far more interested in the journey than the destination. No one wants their favorite TV show to end; the pleasure is found in the unfolding of the story.
For my generation and older, our lives were often guided by fixing our eyes on a goal, then ordering our lives in such a way that we achieved that goal. If life were a puzzle, we wanted the box top. We knew where we wanted or needed to go in life, and that guided our decisions in how we get there. The destination dictated the journey.
Today’s youth often take the opposite approach…
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