There are places that one always dreams of working maybe NASA, Google, Intel or Gallup. Palaces one dreams of belonging, the bar down the street or someone else’s family (since they seem more interesting or saner than yours). For me it is the fictional Jeffersonian Institute.
It took me some time to realize that my attachment to the TV series Bones had little to do with the plotting and less to do with the writing – the two things that usually get me. Both have been, at times, inconsistent. But the great consistency in Bones is the relationships between the characters. A working relationship that is built on respect and gives each of them room to be who they are rather than to conform to some random standard of normalcy.
How many of us actually have found this corporate version of nirvana?
The trend in TV is the ensemble cast – the friends, family, and coworkers – that bond together supporting each other through thick and thin. Fewer and fewer shows have the lone wolf doing his/her thing without a band of associates.
The worse things get the more we want to hold tightly onto our worlds – this includes our friends. There was a period of time when a group of my friends were going through some rough things. We hung out more, had more parties, and drank more during that time than we have since. When we needed to mourn or commiserate we did it together.
At the same time as we are watching these groups of characters behave as the perfect extended family. I wonder how much time we are, in fact, spending alone.
Those of us who landed on the unemployment rolls felt the jolt of going from a lifestyle that was filled with people to one that wasn’t. Once we spent a minimum of nine hours a day five days a week with others. Filled with conversations, interruptions, meetings, and projects. Now, if you are like me – divorced and childless – my time is spent in my home office looking for work, writing, and taking online classes. Where is the personal interaction there? Except for the cat – there are days when I don’t speak to anyone.
Now I don’t mind…much.
I’m a bit of an introvert anyway and I get more writing done this way then I ever did before. But I watched while my universe got smaller and smaller until I had to make myself go out, make myself connect with people, meet new ones, check in with old ones – and yes I finally joined Facebook again.
So how is it, in this new world of being alone, of being so disconnected from face to face human contact reflected in the media as ensembles? Heck – even Felicia Day’s web series “The Guild”, about a bunch of gamers, starts out with them meeting in person for the first time. Their movement from a online team to a group that supports each other as much in the real world as in the virtual one is the arc of the first season.
We need human contact. We crave it. When we can’t get it in our lives we watch shows that mimic what desire. To work among friends. To be appreciated for what you bring to the table. To be accepted for your flaws. To support and be supported.
Rather than dreaming of someone else’s perfect place, I should probably build one of my own. As they say, if you build it, they will come.