Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Surprising Turn of Events

I found myself weeping last night.

I spent many evenings over the last couple months mainlining the five seasons of Six Feet Under via HBO Go.  I remembered it being a good show, with a great  final episode, but something about the last 15 minutes of that finale had me in tears.

Suffice it to say that I'm not a particularly emotional person, so I found this disconcerting and still don't really understand where it came from.  Clearly the characters and plotlines are compelling. The dialog is well written and naturalistic, so I was drawn in and felt a connection.  But I think it was more than the content itself.

I think the way in which I watched the show had a subsuming effect, adding to the experience.  Specifically, I would watch in bed, on the iPad, with earbuds.  My wife would usually be asleep next to me, so the lights would be off.  I would also take off my glasses, limiting my near-sighted field of vision to the iPad screen in front of me, relatively close to my face, with everything outside that screen pitch black and hazy.  As a result, I felt immersed, both visually and aurally.

I think all this, combined with the compressed viewing period made possible by open access to back-catalog content and hi-def streaming capability, made for an emotional connection to a piece of art that I've hitherto not felt.

It was a little scary.


rob said...

i have been hearing about it for years. never have seen it. your post made me go check it out on Netflix, but it isn't streaming.

sad face.

Gus said...

The first time I watched Donnie Darko I cried uncontrollably for a half hour. And sometimes after watching a Miyazaki movie (or during a particular fight in Kung Fu Hustle) I find myself crying at the pure beauty I am seeing. I think we're starved for real emotion, contact, feelings, etc. And sometimes something transcendent or profound forces that shit to the surface. We need to go out of control sometimes.

Qhorin said...

Mary HK Choi had an article in Wired this month on "binge-watching" and the resulting emotional investment. Worth a read.

Wolf said...

rob - yep, HBO Go is the only streaming location today.

Gus - Donnie Darko was great. I'm still not sure I know what the fuck it was all about, even after reading the Wikipedia entry, but, man it felt right.

Qhorin - couldn't find the Choi article online. Am I going to have to pay money for paper?

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