Friday, February 1, 2013

is this a review? 30 rock ends, the office winds down, i weep

a young Liz Lemon 
In a further dissection of my obsession with plotlines and constant various forms of entertainment, I have just got to say holy shit, what a bummer about last night’s NBC primetime line up of the final episode of 30 Rock and 2 new episodes of the Finale season of The Office.   I HATE when stories I like come to an end.  It makes me so nervous to get to the end of things, sometimes, that it’s like a physical thing; I got a nervous stomach ache shortly before these 2 ending shows that I’ve loved for years came on last night, and I wanted to ask my husband if we could not watch them, but I was brave (how crazy to use that word in reference to watching sitcoms!) and watched them anyway, and thanks to that, today I’m fixating on the passage of time all day and how it’s impossible to time-travel, how I’m getting inexorably older every second, etc. – I was all excited to do my blog this morning and I wanted to send interview requests to David Johansen, Patti Smith, Tavi Gevinson, and a famous writer I knew when I was a teenager, Francesca Lia Block.  Then I thought, “if I’m going to interview Tavi Gevinson, I should catch up on her blog first before sending her a request” so I looked through her 2 blogs Rookie and Style Rookie, and it was spirit-dampening and a wake up call that I’m not a teenager -- her blog is so vivid, and successful!  - she already has an interview with Francesca Lia Block on her blog.  Tavi, who is 16, feels things so passionately, the way I did when I was a teenager, and I feel some similarities between her current life and my teen years.  This young woman is pretty seriously famous for what she does, which is to creatively explore her own youth, through fashion, her blogs, installation art and other media – she’s been on Jimmy Kimmel to promote a book of her blog entries, and I learned about her from reading a NY Times profile, just to cite a couple examples of her fame (which must be an overwhelming phenomenon for such a young person!).  I was nowhere near as famous of course when I was her age, but I was in a band that got a modicum of attention, like enough to have fans that came from other counties to see us play and to receive a fan letter here or there, and my long-running zine got me a bit of notice, too.  Also, Tavi seems to be friends with a lot of grown ups who are also her patrons and helpers, and that was my situation as well.  My grown ups admired my creative output, the way I admire Tavi’s, but they’d also wistfully say things about how I should watch out or I might peek creatively in my teens, and that my creative energy was going to burn out a bit because teens are just crazy emotional creative psychos and even if they think these qualities are gonna last forever, they don’t.  anyway, the thrust of this little detour is that I’m old as shit and wish that i could freeze time or time travel like Billy Pilgrim does in Slaughterhouse 5.  And what got me focusing on all of this today is having to see the characters in 30 Rock and The Office go through changes last night.  I love to watch movies and shows and read novels because I love to escape from reality, but I feel a real let down when they end.  When Pee Wee’s Playhouse was on tv when I was a kid, it’d make me so overexcited sometimes I’d jump on the furniture while watching it.  But oh when Pee Wee says bye to the audience at the end of each episode, and the pretty closing credits soundtrack starts and you see him riding his bike across many beloved monuments, it made me so sad that the show was over for another weekend that I would sometimes cry or change the channel before the end.  And Harry Potter:  Deathly Hallows 2 … that shit was DEVASTATING.  I saw it in a really expensive theater that lets you reserve your seats in advance online because I wanted to make sure I had a good seat, and I was moodily pregnant at the time, so I weeped like you wouldn’t believe, but even if I hadn’t been pregnant, it still would have been almost too emotional to see those little magical kids all grown up and some of them being killed by bad guys and then to see their years-long adventure come to an end.  I wanted Harry Potter movies to be made literally forever.  

And with 30 Rock, it’s almost hard to believe that the characters I was invested in are dead now.  I can’t write about it as well as Matt Zoller Seitz does in his write up "The 30 Rock Finale Dared Us Not to Cry, and Knew We'd Fail," which I actively sought out this morning because I wanted to read something that’d help me digest the fact of the show ending!  

I love 30 Rock but I LOVE The Office.  I still get chills when I think about the moment when Pam and Jim first kiss.  I feel like people judge this show’s writing unfairly harshly and that it’s because the show is so consistently funny that people take it for granted.  I don’t understand people’s disloyalty and critical eye when it comes to something they like, and I always hear people say that The Office should have ended already, but people also say that the Stones are too old to keep touring, and why do people want to hate on longevity?  Even though the Stones haven’t written good music since the early 80’s, I can’t imagine a funner thing to do in one’s sixties than being a physically fit rock star who travels the world getting laid and adored and being creative and rich.  And with The Office, why should they have stopped already?  The writers have developed Andy from a joke to the new Jim, wistful-romantic-wise (when he wanted but couldn’t have Erin), to a hilarious asshole, while Dwight has gone from the antagonist to a lovable naif who has grown childishly attached to his former nemesis Jim, and the co-workers as a group started out as mutually indifferent acquaintances at first (for the most part), like my real life, but after so many seasons, the characters are all written to have a near-familial relationship to each other, to the point where actually doing work isn’t a part of the day anymore, and I wish my job was like that!  But also, it’s just a really sweet show, with an obviously smart and liberal voice, and an absurdist edge, and I love it.  But (SPOILER ALERT) last night’s two new episodes go further in wrapping up the characters’ stories by taking Jim and Pam (the show’s former romantic centerpiece), and separating them from each other more and more, as Jim leaves her part time to work at his dream job in Philly, and he’s revealed to be sort of obnoxious (he used to be the hero), and we find out that one of the documentary crew members in the faux documentary framework of the show has fallen in love with Pam over the 7 years he’s been following her around.  I’m totally uneasy at the prospect of the plot becoming this postmodern, because postmodernism is too trendy (as is disregarding postmodernism in favor of sincerity they way I’m doing right now), plus I want a happy ending for everyone, since that doesn’t happen in real life, where things aren’t ever resolved but instead go through happy and sad mutations that end only when a person dies.

Can someone promise me a show or film franchise that lasts literally forever? 

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