I’ve finally realized why we love watching television, why we relate to characters we see ourselves in, and why we become so consumed in new episodes, sweeps weeks and upfronts.
My epiphany hit me like a ton of bricks. All of a sudden things became very clear, and I just knew the answer to all my questions. I came to this discovery once I realized that I could compare and contrast Heroes and The Wizard of Oz. They aren’t dissimilar. Although there are several central characters, rather than just one, they are the same story. The “Heroes” all discover things they knew all along, much like Dorothy and her friends seeing the Wizard, and the Wizard divulging the truth of their abilities. Although Dorothy experiences her truth through dreams, the Heroes find that real life isn’t always as it seems and that everything is connected.
Those themes sound familiar? They should. It’s always the same story over and over again, but with different characters and different situations. The story isn’t a “boy meets girl, something happens, then the two part because of insurmountable odds” story. It’s the journey to self discovery. Everyone is just looking to find themselves; to become the person they were meant to be. The reason why we relate so well to characters in movies and on television is because we’re taking the same journey. We are all just trying to get to the point where we are who we want and who we were meant to be. Not every has super powers or Slayer strength, or a dad who’s a private detective. But we are all making the journey of self discovery.
I’m not giving you homework, gentle readers. Although it does seem appropriate, seeing that school is starting this week. But pay attention to the shows you love. Watch the little things and pick out reasons why you love those shows and relate to those characters. I don’t mean the little things like you’re a nurse so you love Grey’s Anatomy. Or you’re in school for Forensic Anthropology, so you love Bones. And I’m fairly certain you’re not a Vampire Slayer or a witch (the Hollywood kind…), but I’d bet you can still relate to characters with those types of abilities.
Just think about it.