Kevin Khatchadourian’s Bookshelf

Welcome to the Character’s Bookshelf. This is where I speculate, entirely outside of the space-time continuum and the barriers of language, what books would be a fictional character’s favorites. As you can see here, all of the Character’s Bookshelf posts so far have been about my favorite characters. That’s going to change today: welcome to Kevin Khatchadourian’s bookshelf.

For those of you who don’t know Kevin yet, I’ll give you a quick, spoiler-free bio: Kevin has had a book named after him. It was Lionel Shriver’s We Need To Talk About Kevin and it’s one of the most chilling books I have ever read. Why? Because Kevin is a psycho. I’d imagine, in spite of his lack of empathy, he’d enjoy the books I’ve listed here.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

What’s not to love about Dexter Morgan? Family man, blood spatter analyst and part-time vigilante killer.

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The Final Episode: A How-Not-To Guide

I live in constant fear of contracting some rare, painful and terminal disease. I’m afraid of height, needles and shadows moving in the dark. I am, generally speaking, a fearful person. My worst fear, however, is not that of abandonment, or the social anxiety I experience at parties, or the dreadful nightmare I often have where my skin falls off and leaves gaping holes behind. My worst fear is being disappointed by a TV show.

We’ve all been there: you’ve invested God-knows how many hours in watching a show you have come to love with all your heart, and, quite suddenly, like the writers have lost their heads, the resolution of the plot is terrible. 

Any writer can tell you that endings are hard. They run the risk of being cheesy, either too happy or too sad, or being just plain random. The ending of a long-running TV show should satisfy the audience, but giving them everything they want runs the risk of appearing unrealistic. It seems to me that the problem is this: we have no endings in real life. We go on, or we die. Even when we die, the people around us, the supporting cast, so to speak, eventually go on. No one has any experience whatsoever with something ending; so, it’s extremely difficult, maybe even impossible, to write an ending.

Still, I have some opinions on what constitutes doing it right and doing it wrong. Let’s have a look at some examples. WARNING: None of these examples are spoiler-free, but spoilers for each show are only in that show’s paragraph, so skip ahead if you must.

Bad Endings

How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother had its finale in 2014, but I only caught up on the show just last year. My friends had been watching it for a while and encouraging me to do the same. It was funny, they promised me, but not in the way of so many sitcoms that got nothing but the occasional snort of laughter from me; HIMYM had character development, it was a TV show with a heart and a soul.

I watched it. That takes three days, four hours and sixteen minutes, according to BingeClock. So I think it’s fair to say that I invested quite a bit of time. Of course, I made it to the final episodes with slight feelings of apprehension, as the resolution of the plot and the answer tot the Big Question (“Who Is The Mother?”) are infamous for being a disappointment.

The rumors were true; it was disappointing. The derailment of HIMYM’s plot wasn’t slow, like in Lost. It happened quite suddenly, over the course of the last handful of episodes. I was no longer amused. Through a series of events that don’t bear repeating, the character development the audience has witnessed over seven seasons is completely undone. No, Barney is not a one-woman man now. No, all those times we saw Ted’s relationship with Robin fail were just temporary, and they are actually meant to be.

A mainstream TV show like HIMYM, which gets its viewership mainly from people like me, looking for a happy feeling and a laugh, should not defy expectations in its final story arcs. HIMYM’s finale should have satisfied the fans, and it did not.

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Best TV Intros

Intros are to TV shows as facebook pages are to people. Although looks can be deceiving, someone’s facebook profile and a show’s intro can give you a lot of information about them. For example, I started watching the first episode of True Blood, but stopped after a minute because the intro was too gruesome for me. A show’s intro is like its business card. And here are some of my favorite ones.

The West Wing

I love The West WingI wish I’d never seen it so I could watch it again for the very first time. I wish I’d never seen it so I would stop holding every other TV show to impossible standards. I love it so much that, like a Pavlovian reaction, the theme fills me with nostalgia and glee and sadness and every other kind of emotion a great TV show gives you, put together in an overwhelming mix. Additional fun fact: the theme’s composer is hilariously named W.G. Snuffy Walden. Continue reading