Woke up from a dream in which I was about to be shot in the head on my grandmother’s front lawn in front of my two year old by a man who was then going to shoot my child.
I watched most of the pilot of The Following last night.
Something happened, post anti-hero as protagonist, wherein we writers went from telling stories about main characters who were damaged but understandable and somehow redeemable through their good intentions to stories about main characters who are just bad. Now our stories are about getting into the minds of people who do not have good intentions, who set out intentionally to harm, and to try to make that relatable. I’m talking about Dexter, I’m talking about all the SVU’s where we find out that the child molester is only a child molester because he was molested as a child so we should pity him, too, not just his sad victims.
Something happened where we went from writing naturalism, as in show people as they really are, zits and all, to showing humanity at its worst. I’m talking about House of Cards, Sons of Anarchy, The Shield.
What happened to beauty? What happened to acknowledging that the human creature is flawed, yes, but capable of great beauty, and not just in blood spatter patterns after decapitating their latest victim with a chainsaw?
I want beauty. I want to see humanity with good intentions. I want to see it fail and try again. Maybe we don’t need heroes, maybe as a culture we just don’t buy it anymore, but I could use a proper anti-hero, zits, good intentions, and all.