Monday, June 30, 2014

Answering the Question

I watched the first episode of HBO's The Leftovers and I'm intrigued. A friend commented that it has 'a train wreck quality' to it and that's pretty accurate but it also has some fascinating character building going on.

The situation is that 2% of the world's population is just gone in some sort of 'departure' event that may or may not be a biblical rapture depending on how one looks at it. The show focuses on the 'leftovers' in one small town. Life carries on in the new normal of loved ones just being gone. Very different kinds of thinking are evident in the pilot from a group of white-clad, silent smokers who watch select people in the town to the tortured chief of police to the man who shoots dogs to the high school kids at parties.

And because I'm a glutton for punishment, I went to the show's IMDB entry to read up a little on it. Message boards there listed complaints about the ending of LOST, the current Under The Dome and just general bitching. You'd think I'd know better. Still, I got a nice piece of information about the book there, and that's inspired the writing of this post.

It may be that the cause of the 'departure' could never be known either to the characters on the show or to the audience.

I like that!

That's life, you know? Everything is not always wrapped up nice and neat to be presented even when one takes the time to ask the right questions. In my case I will never know (or at least it's beyond unlikely) what caused the blood clots that gathered in my lungs like the Woodstock crowd crashing the gates. I don't know why my thyroid is weak and failing. I've been told "sometimes the body just fails" by doctors who I respect.

If there is something I can do to prevent more parts of my body failing I will do it but if science doesn't know then the lack of an answer is something I'll have to live with.

As far as stories go, I like wondering what happens to characters when the screen fades to (or cuts to) black. Inception is a great example and so is Blue Jasmine. I don't require an in-depth explanation of the whys and wherefores as long as I've been entertained. I'm comfortable, though scared, about not knowing everything in life, too. I can't control everything. I've tried that and it drove me crazy.

Really.

So I'm definitely part of the target audience for a smart show like The Leftovers appears to be. HBO and the producers have to be thinking that their target audience has to be relatively small, too, because the prevailing opinion of the majority of television watchers is that they want things nice and neat. They want the explanation.

And HBO should have learned that from the ending of The Sopranos.