I feel this is one of the only platforms where my intense honesty is well received. So, with that in mind, I’m NOT going to talk about the recent anti-abortion laws or politics or anything that truly matters. Why? No one wants to hear that (and if you do, listen to The Weekly Wine Down podcast, because it’s great and Jackie D, Jean Copeland, two amazing Stacy(ey)s, and yours truly discuss many, many, many things).
What I am going to discuss is the deep, deeeeeep sadness I fell into after Game of Thrones ended on Sunday. I struggled so much on Monday. And Tuesday. And even Wednesday.
Why am I so upset about these fictional people in this fictional land?
And I realized, as the white end credits of the series finale started to roll on the pitch-black screen, I was upset because I was saying good-bye to my friends. Some of them were super great friends, too! Well, not necessarily “great,” so much as “extremely flawed and superbly human,” but friends nonetheless. I had been through so much with them. And ultimately, I think it’s the knowledge that after the show is over, the only way to revisit these people is through storylines you already know the ending to, which isn’t a whole lot different than revisiting picture albums after a loved one has passed.
I don’t know about y’all, but good television shows have been hard to come by. I will say, lately, things are looking up. We now have a variety of well written programs which tell wonderful stories with relatable characters. It feels good to be able to connect with people on our television screens. Sometimes for no other reason than to help us understand our feelings and our emotions have not created an island for us to float upon. Some of the shows I watched during my teens were far from relatable.
There was one show that quickly stole my heart, and just as swiftly, broke it in two when it wasn’t renewed after only nineteen episodes.
My So-Called Life.
I don’t know if anyone among our community watched this gem of a show but let me say to you, the kids of Liberty High School were everything to young Erin. As a high schooler, the same age as our leading teenager, Angela Chase, it was so fucking cool to see real problems and predicaments portrayed with such care and honesty. High school is rarely easy for people. I’d like to wager a bet that even the most secure person still went through many things she struggled intensely with. It sometimes seems so unfair that the most important period of growth a young human being goes through is housed in such a difficult environment to navigate.
But problems such as liking someone you aren’t sure likes you back, teenage sex, drugs, drinking, discovering your parents don’t have a perfect marriage, acne, body image issues, broken hearts, were highlighted during the show’s short life. As I said previously, the care with which these issues were dealt with was phenomenal. You connect with the characters, you understand what they’re going through, you get why Rickie was so scared all the time, you feel for Rayanne’s inability to settle down, your heart broke for Angela… and the reason everything they went through felt so real was because it was real. All of it.
Saying good-bye to those characters was one of the hardest break-ups I’ve gone through. They left without warning and without a good reason (aside from ratings, but what teenagers gives a fuck about ratings?). There wasn’t a “The End” to deal with. I still had to say good-bye to these friends I grew so close to so fast.
For the longest time I struggled with the end of a lot of different shows. The Golden Girls, Freaks and Geeks, Frasier, Friends, LOST, ER, Once Upon a Time (although, let’s be real… OUAT jumped the shark the instant Emma started dating Captain Hook and not Regina… but I digress).
The list goes on and on. And I’m sure you all have lists of your own.
As a writer, it gives me something to strive for whenever I create a new character in a new scene. I try my utmost to make the circumstances the characters are surviving as real, honest, and relatable as possible. After all, isn’t that what we all want? To see ourselves reflected in someone else? To know we aren’t alone?
So, as Sunday approaches, and I remember Game of Thrones is done and get sad, I hope I’m not alone. The end of something is always sad for someone… And I finally realize why my mom cried so hard when MASH ended.
P.S. Want to watch My So-Called Life? It’s on Hulu.