Getting Sassy with Sarah: Down with the darkness: worry or wonderful?


Sarah Lentz, Staff Writer

I watch a lot of TV.

Yes, I get my homework done and go to work and have a social life, but I live for the rare moments when I can sit down and enjoy some Netflix, HuluPlus, etc. Recently, I’ve noticed a new trend in entertainment.

The trend of sad, soul-crushing media.

Don’t get me wrong, I love an unhappy ending…in moderation.

I’ve noticed the blaring examples of depressing material on the boobtube.

If you know me at all, I’ve probably talked to you about my overwhelming love of all things “Game of Thrones.” Now, before all you purists (like me) freak out about how the HBO show is nowhere near as brutal as the books, let me tell you, I know. I’ve been waiting with waning patience for author George R. R. Martin to finish the series that makes me cry and hate my life every time I pick up his work. And pick up his work, I do.

GoT is my go-to escape. I don’t know how many times I’ve re-watched the seasons when I’m bored.

For an escape, it’s both perfect and perfectly masochistic. “Thrones” is famous for killing off characters faster than you can learn their names, but not before you’ve formed an overly strong emotional connection to their character.

I’m not the only one, either. “Game of Thrones” is one of HBO’s most popular shows. I take this to mean everyone is as screwed up as me.

When I think of TV shows from the past, almost none of them can compare to current shows like “Game of Thrones,” “The Leftovers” and “Breaking Bad” on the disheartening scale.

I blame the “The Sopranos” and “The Wire.” Both were hugely popular and masterpiece works of television.

What concerns me about all of this dark material making it into our cultural zeitgeist is that it means we are no longer turning to TV for superficial laughs or lightness. There really are no Steve Urkels dominating the ratings, with the exception of Sheldon Cooper, that is.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just a little strange.

I find it refreshing that, in the generation of the comic book movie where everything is tied up in a nice little bow at the end and the good guy wins and has an option for a sequel, realism is doing just fine.

Life is messy, the good guy doesn’t always win and, sometimes, good things happen to bad people.

What is potentially worth worrying about is what we are compensating for.

With Twitter and 24-hour news cycles, we have never been more aware about what’s going on in the entire world than right now. That leaves a lot of room for bad news.

Trust me, HBO, I’ve got enough strain on my soul. I’m a college student with an ever-increasing mountain of debt growing, no post-graduation job prospects and I’m way too plugged into the state of American politics and economics. I really don’t need to see the many ways you can make Tyrion “the only good Lannister” Lannister suffer.

Why do I fill my downtime with such downtrodden TV? Why does anyone else?

With all of the darkness in our world, why is it that we want the same level of dark in our entertainment?

I definitely don’t have the answers. I’m just as guilty for contributing to the continuation of the depressing anti-hero. But, hey, if you can’t beat them, join them. That’s the apathetic American way.