Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Power of a Series

A part of me despises series. Things happen sooooo sllllloooooowwwwww. The payoff hangs on the authors ability to write a good ending. Still to this day my favorite Supernatural quote is, “Any chaped ass monkey can write a beginning.” And it's true. You can hone and and hone until you're fingers bleed the beginning. It is the unspoken promise of things to come. It takes a completely different skill set to take that promise and fulfill it, because let's be honest, fulfill is subjective. I think that's why no matter the ending Joss Wheadon writes he'll have polar reactions. The writer in me can look at Buffy and Angel and think, Wheadon never lied. Buffy wanted above all else to be a regular “girl.” (And Angel wanted to be the people's champion.) She wanted the biggest hangups of her day to be the boy she was dating or what she would wear to such-n-such party. The ending of Buffy definitely fulfilled that promise. Yet a part of me felt disasatisfied because I'd never see it.

(Do I need to pontificate on Angel's ending? )

I read through and angsted every release of the Fever series. I remember my local news station focusing on a kid who dressed up as a boy wizard for Halloween. I then saw Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone movie. The summer of '07 or '08, I waited for my pre-ordered copy. I read it in one day. That ending fulfilled me. But, that's not necessarily what fulfilled me.

This thought kind of hit me sideways as I listened to Ghost Story by Jim Butcher. (SPOILER!!!) (No, really a huge freaking SPOILER!!!!!!!!) At this point, Dresden is gearing up for the final fight and he's turning the weapon/sign of authority into THE ROD. (No, not the bibical one or the bibical sense sort of rod.) And I'm thinking, if this was the first time I'd read the Dresden files I wouldn't get why this moment had such importance. I wouldn't be IN on the inside knowledge. Very much like Spike donning his leather coat again in season 7 of Buffy, or Barrons' letting Mac know what the monster is in his “basement” is, or Dean letting Sam make the decision to let Satan ride him hard and put him up wet, or hell, Rachel calling Ross while she's on the plane to Paris. All these times being a fan of the series I could know and feel THIS MOMENT means something more.

It's the inside joke of people who have been friends for ages. A word can send these friends into hysterics, because they know the context. I think that's the appeal of series. You can say, “OMG, she's doing it again” and convey a world of frustration. Or say, “OMG, HE was the bad guy” and everyone on the IN can say, “INORITE?” Hell, even knowing what the hell, INORITE is can tell you the context of the conversation.

Maybe that's what series are: a shorthand, a short cut to connectining groups of people. On some level we love that inside joke or the ability to have one. Also, I think that's why series irriate me. I know on some level I'm agreeing to go on this ride. It's a commitment. The writer has to prove to me it's worth it. I've agreed to go on this ride and then the writer does something that I cannot go back to this series for.

But the possibilities for the writer from the author's atandpoint? Goodness. It's endless.

Do you like series? Hate 'em? Have you written some? Plan to write some? What are some of your favorite “inside jokes?”

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