I miss those days when we all went about our relationships with pedestrian preoccupations such as 'What if he's (or she's) cheating on me.' I mean, if I get into a relationship now, I'd have a ton of anxieties to choose from. If the guy starts acting weird, withdrawn or secretive, I'd go - 'What if he's a fraud whose lies I'd have to cover up for the rest of my life? (Suits) or 'What if he's a "good" serial killer? (Dexter) or 'What if he's a SPY who was sent to lure me into a relationship, make secret sex tape which he will later hand over to my DAD? (Scandal)' or the worst one yet - 'What if he's COOKING CRYSTAL METH, YO? (Breaking Bad).
I mean, I get the fascination with the dark side and all that. And as a writer, I get that there is no story without conflict and the bigger the conflict, the more exciting the plot. And it's not like this telling-the-bad-guy's-story or the story of the-good-guy-forced-to-do-bad-things is even new. BUT. Please acknowledge that this is some seriously twisted shit that we're being served up on television of late and what's worse, it's by popular demand!
Just yesterday, I was watching Breaking Bad and found myself wincing every time Walt came close to getting caught by Hank. At this point, the voice in my head yelled me into pausing and observing a minute's silence to feel nothing but shame.
I still want him to get caught by Skyler though, so maybe my ethics are not entirely clouded by pop culture yet. But who knows? I'm only on Season 2. There are still two and a half seasons left to slowly surrender my soul to the whole Maybe-there's-no-such-thing-as-right-and-wrong school of non-thought that everyone's subscribing to these days. Hey, I don't mean to be preachy, okay? But if your addiction to these shows doesn't cause you any kind of ethical discomfort at all, then maybe - just maybe - you're on Season 5 already. Yeah, you're too far gone, yo.
Also, I feel so sorry for the impressionable young girls growing up on this stuff. I mean, they're probably going to get attracted to seriously boring men because they are now primed to believe that they must be leading some sort of dangerous, exciting double life.
It's true, you know? I was eleven when I identified Axl Rose as the definition of desirable. I'm 32 now and when I see a grown man in ripped jeans with even a borderline rock personality, my brain immediately orders my knees to go weak in acknowledgment. I mean, if this guy is past his twenties and is still dressing like that, he probably has more issues than I do. And while I'm more than aware that 1993 was a long time ago, my brain is still wired to think he is hot. SO. These kids growing up on Breaking Bad are in for a lot worse. I mean, they'll get into relationships or worse, get married to these nerdy types expecting epic twists to their story. And when they realize that they are just regular, good guys who care about their families and are law-abiding citizens, they are going to get disappointed. And it's not going to be easy to get out of that relationship either. Just imagine how that conversation would go:
'Do you seriously have NOTHING to hide?'
'So this is ALL there is to you? You're just a good, responsible guy?'
'Uhh, yes? I swear, I can prove it. What do you want me to do?'
<Throws things> Are you KIDDING me? This is NOT what I signed up for! This is supposed to be the smoke-screen. You are supposed to moonlight as a drug lord or an ex-con who is now helping the police or I don't know, at least tell me you have two passports or something!
'What? What are you talking about?'
'Oh, dear God. It's true, it's true! I married the smoke-screen, I married the SMOKE-SCREEN!'
'What? Wait. What smoke-screen? What are you talking about?'
'Okay, regular-super-unforgivably-boring-dumbass, it's like the womanizing-hotel-buying-power-abusing Bruce Wayne acting as a smoke-screen for Batman. Or the plain vanilla Walter White acting as a smoke-screen for Heisenberg. GET IT? Now, tell me. Do you or do you not have a Heisenberg?'
'Oh, man. You are so damaged. What did your parents do to you?'
'Okay, okay. Are you at least having an affair?'
'What? Of course not!'
<Sobs> I can't believe this. I CAN.NOT believe this! Was I not even worth something as boring and entirely cliché as an affair? Do I really inspire NOTHING in you? <Screams and exits>'
Yeah, that's going to be one twisted generation. This is where vampire fiction trumps everything else. For all the flak the genre has been getting (though mostly for the right reasons), I can rest assured that my daughter is never going to bring home her 137 year old vampire boyfriend and expect me to offer him squirrels and bunnies for dinner. But on a more serious note, what I like about Vampire Diaries at least (it's the only vampire fiction I watch, I promise) is that - it begins with humanity at its most depraved and pushes it along the path to redemption. So yes, give me those dark, twisted, brooding and by all means, flawed characters. But give me characters who struggle - on a daily basis - to overcome the bad. This whole overcoming-the-good-side-to-do-the-inevitable-bad-thing is a dark path that we've opened the door to and we're going to pay for it.
But whatever, yo. I didn't write it. I'm on Season 4 and can't stop now.