I suffered quite a large tragedy this week when one of my favorite shows, Hart of Dixie, aired its last episode ever.
The show was — graciously — given a three-episode notice of the cancellation, so tying all the ends together was done, albeit quickly and ever-so cheesily. I’m not usually one to scoff at a musical number, but throwing one in when there had been no previous indication that any member of the cast could do jazz hands reminded me a little too much of the horrifying episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where everyone including Spike got a song-length solo.
It wasn’t un-cute, though. I have been singing the song all day.
I have, since, been attending a grieving circle, via iMessage, with two girlfriends who also watched the show. One of them wailed about losing her Friday night activity (what? We’re old) while the other about losing her connection to the Southern Belle community. We’re all mourning, though.
Losing a TV show without the proper grief counselling can be really devastating. It’s different when the show is on Netflix and you can see there are only three seasons, but when you PVR it every week and literally don’t make plans on Friday because that’s when it’s on, it’s quite a lifestyle adjustment.
Hart of Dixie was the cause of my fourth quarter-life-crisis-crisis. I almost went into medical school thanks to Rachel Bilson aka Dr. Zoey Hart. I even had the appointment with the advisor and everything — his exact words were “you know I can’t guarantee you a job in Alabama right?” to which I replied, “then I’m out of here.” (I never said it was a long-lived crisis.)
Unlike movies, television shows give an audience the chance to develop an extended relationship with a character. We accept a happily ever after in feature films because we don’t have time to know better. When a TV show, on the other hand, tries to tell us a marriage, birth, death, move — whatever — is the end, we feel cheated.
We look at our own lives — at all those moments we could have packaged with a bow and said I think I’ll stop here — and we know it was only the beginning.
I can’t allow myself to get wrapped up in it, though. I could fret for weeks over whether or not Zoey and Wade will raise a messed up corporate-hillbilly hybrid child that I’ll never get to see. It wouldn’t be a healthy rabbit hole for me to go down.
When we grieve for completed stories — especially stories we indulge in binge-style — we’re really grieving for the incomplete nature of the bigger picture. If there is one thing we have had planted in our minds from first-consciousness it’s the terrifying knowledge that time and space go on without us. Life goes on without us. The day, the song, the book, the television show goes on without us.
And when we’re told otherwise —“. . . they lived happily ever after” — we feel uncomfortable with the blatant lie.
In this age of technological savvy, of binary understanding, of social connectedness and of interpersonal understanding we are so well-versed in marketing ploys and tricks of the trade that we have resorted to the only thing left — truth. And we are offended when that truth isn’t made accessible to us.
In the scheme of First World Problems, getting over the loss of a television show is up there on the list of trivial-but-totally-true issues, but that’s not to say our loss shouldn’t be validated.
All one has to do is look at Netflix stocks to realize that TV is quickly becoming our best friend — and if it can just flake out on us like that and give us some excuse for not coming to our sleepover, we deserve to be hurt.
We deserve to grieve for our television losses, and dammit, we deserve to make millions of dollars off our fan fiction afterward.
— Andria Parker is a 20-something blogger from Kamloops