Monday, January 14, 2008

A Drama of No Drama

I've come to quite like the show, Grey's Anatomy. For one, it features a number of women in the show, all of which are strong, determined, confident, witty, extremely intelligent and charming in each of her own way (if anything, it's the men who have been portrayed as jerky, self-centered, if not cowardly in a laughable way). For two - it has drama. And a lot of it.

But come to think of it - how could it be a physical drama in series broadcast on screen if it doesn't contain any drama?

And that, is the crux of the problem why no one is going to create a graduate-school-version of Grey's Anatomy or Shaw's Study or some sort.

Why? 'Cuz it would be a drama without any drama.

And that wouldn't be any fun.

I'm serious. I've tried to picture what a grad-school-version of Grey's Anatomy could possibly look like on ABC, NBC, or HBO ...




Nope, not a single clue.


'Cuz drama requires people, and with people there inevitably involve interactions, LOTS of interactions. Fun ones, happy ones, sad ones, teary ones, pathetic ones, exaggerated ones, unrealistic ones ... It matters little whichever type it may be, for whichever type it could be, it is some kind of interaction.

Such as a conversation occurred at the bar across the library, a eye contact over the cafeteria table, a planned or unplanned shoulder bump in the narrow stacks room (as cheesy as it may be), some type of large-group meetings/discussions/debates/arguments, a punch in the eye, a tear drop over an email, etc.

But, walking alone in the streets of bustling Shibuya, sipping coffee alone in the neighboring cafe, studying/reading/take notes alone at a dorm desk, pondering alone about the definition of post-colonialism, post-structuralism, post-modernism (just to name a few), busying oneself alone with some textual analysis exercises, or staying up late alone trying to jam out a report/conference proposal ... None of these constitute "interactions" per se.

Not that a drama doesn't require some of these elements. For they do! But only for a few seconds, usually ... Usually, that moment of one walking down the streets of bustling Shibuya alone, or stressing over a fellowship application due at 5 pm the same day, or staying up late trying to BS through the entire paper, or having an epiphany over how to topple the established discourse of post-colonialism, post-structuralism, or post-modernism -- any of such moment would only appear for as quick as a few seconds or as long (at most) as 1/3 of the theme song ...

'Cuz supposedly, those are the "passing" moments in life. Moments passed in order for greater actions, interactions, and drama to occur.

But what if - all of a sudden - those moments constitute the exact and sole content of the drama? With no further actions, interactions, and drama to occur afterwards? What if, those are the moments, rather than the passing moments?

Nowadays I don't think I've seen any fun or popular dramas (whether the Japanese or American alike) out there that would not have a scene about somebody having a drink with somebody else, over a key thought or an inspiring issue or some moment of revelation (and of course, nowadays, there's quite some other development out there from the moment when they walk out of the bar ...). To put it simply, there cannot be a fun drama without a bar scene of some sort.

(let's just recall the bar across the hospital in Grey's Anatomy and its dear, fatty owner Joe who listens to or overhears everyone's hidden secrets ... or the bar where Elaine in Ally McBeal would always try to flirt with someone on the dance floor or Ally herself wallowing in little gloom or self-pity over a glass of martini ...)

But what if such a bar scene cannot be written into this grad-school-version of Grey's Anatomy b/c there simply is no dear, fatty Joe or the other person to whom one may pour his/her heart over a glass of martini?

No wonder I haven't seen any grad-school-version of anything these days. It simply wouldn't work. There's no juicy detail to show, no interesting characters to boast, no one is going to watch it, the rating is going to plunge, and - most of all - it simply would not be a "drama" to speak of after all.

Even though I am living in one, right now, at this very moment.

梅ちゃん at 11:44:00 AM



at 1/14/08, 11:57 AM Anonymous Grad said...

thinka bout it, it's not impossible to write a drama about grad students. It's quite likely there is a fatty Joe at a bar at Harvard Square. And grad students still love/hate other people. So there could a drama. Maybe it's only because you are a lonely soul in Tokyo so that there are less interactions with others...


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