Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Crosby is a Douchebag and Sarah is a Self-Involved Twit or Why I Should Probably Stop Watching Old Episodes of Parenthood

My latest binge watch is Parenthood. I just started Season 4 and I'm getting really frustrated. There are a couple of characters that are simply not able to learn from their mistakes and I'm beginning to root against them. I actually hope that Crosby's wife leaves him and never lets him see his son again and that his mother stops doing his laundry. I hope that Sarah's relationship fails and her children never speak to her and Ray Romano fires her ass.

Not nice, right? I remember when this happened to me with Desperate Housewives and I started wanting things to fall out of the sky and squash Bree because she didn't deserve to live. I could go on about why Crosby is a Douchebag (could he not just once consider someone else's feelings besides his own?) or examples of Sarah's self-involvement (it didn't occur to you that it might be difficult for your son if you moved him in the middle of his senior year and in addition moved in with his English teacher?), but I realize that's not really the point.

The point is how difficult it is to sustain a series. If the characters grow and change, then they become something different than they were at the beginning of the series which is ostensibly what people liked about the series in the first place. If they don't grow and change, people get frustrated with how stupid they are and are no longer interested in them or perhaps even wish horrible fictional deaths on them. Lose/lose, right?

I'm in the planning process for Book 4 of my Messenger series. Melina has learned a lot about trust and letting people into her life and accepting herself as she is in the past three books. Has she changed enough? What more needs to change about her? How much more can I change her without turning her into something else entirely that might not be interesting to my readers?

I don't know. I'm not sure. I know what kind of supernatural creature I want her to battle. I know some of the struggles facing some of the secondary characters. I know I want it all to climax in a funny wedding fight scene.

How about you guys? How much do you want characters to change? Any examples of characters who've changed enough? Too much? Not enough? Un peu? Beaucoup? Pas de tout? A la fou?


Maureen McGowan said...

It's a tough one, and as you say, the big dilemma of any series...

And in real life... many people don't learn from their mistakes and most people rarely *really* change... so it's hard.

But to show that not everyone has the same reaction, to anything, and there clearly isn't a "right way" to solve your dilemma... My favorite characters on Parenthood are probably Sarah and Crosby. ;)

I'm sick of the lawyer and the Peter Crouse character and have had trouble empathizing with his wife at times, even when she was going through cancer.

My only *hate* moment on Parenthood was the Ray Romano character. Didn't like him. Didn't buy that Sarah liked him. Didn't buy -- for a second -- that she'd leave adorable English teacher guy for him. That decision of hers made zero sense to me. (Or have I just given you spoilers?)

Eileen said...

Nah. I finished the season. I knew what happened. I think it's hysterical that your favorite characters are the ones I want to be hit by a bus and my favorites are the ones you can't empathize with!

You're right. People often don't change and they make the same mistakes over and over and their families put up with them because, well, that's family. it frustrates me in real life and it frustrates me even more in fiction! I think it's easier to change a fictional character so why not?

Why can't Crosby not insist that he take the dog to the dog park and bring dinner on the night before Christina's surgery because it would make HIM feel better? Why can't he put Christina's feelings first? THen, of course, he screws it up because we knew that he would. They all knew he would. Then he expects everyone to forget it. And they do, but I don't.

Why can't Sarah be a little less impulsive? Think it through. Don't sleep with your boss. Don't sleep with your kids' teacher. Listen to your kids for ten seconds rather than constantly just screaming at them to talk to you.

I had mixed feelings about the cancer thing. I thought they got some things right, but they never really get down to the nitty gritty of that experience. Yeah. She lost her hair. You know what? You also lose your eyebrows and your eyelashes and you don't feel like getting busy with your husband and even when you're not nauseated, you don't feel like eating because it does weird things to your taste buds and everything tastes like copper.

Oh, man. I'm just cranky today.

Molly O'Keefe said...

I have a love hate relationship with that show - there was a season when I cried every episode and I couldn't watch anymoer and then I tried to get back into it - I think when all the FNL actors were showing up and it just seemed so over the top dramatic. It's hard to sustain a series and it's hard to sustain a series so deeply rooted in sort of mundane life.

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