The first time a character died on Grey’s Anatomy (thinking of George O’Malley here) I was distraught. Really could not believe it was happening. After McDreamy was cut from the show I almost swore I wouldn’t watch it again (how could you, Shonda?). For 13 seasons, I have watched my favorite characters suffer and was thirsty for even more action and drama.
It’s not only Grey’s Anatomy that pushes the knife deeper into the wound. Plenty of TV shows have killed off their beloved characters and left and empty space into our binge watching hearts. Can I get a shout out for GoT?
And after all the crying, wasted tissues and emotional turmoil, we keep coming back and back again. We want to see more, even when we know what’s going to happen ( I was very upset about the ending of Spartacus! I mean, c’mon, it’s still fiction.). And it seems that TV writers are getting their kicks out of it, as killing off characters has become working day routine for them.
And we love it! We’re massochists! Binge-watching and waiting for the next characters to die, and then we watch even harder. We get emotionally involved and we fool ourselves into thinking we’re waiting for a happy ending, but we secretly love the little sufferings. Maybe it makes reality better or maybe we just need a good cry every now and then and it should be over something that doesn’t really matter.
In the end, it’s the drama that keeps us glued to the TVs (or other devices), not the story line or the need for a happy ending. We could just turn it off, start watching a sitcom and move on with our lives, but we choose to go back to the shows that broke our hearts, just like we would in a dysfunctional relationship.
But we feel a duty to go back because it’s part of our lives and we feel like we are part of it. The characters are basically our friends or our enemies, we give them advice, even though they can’t hear us, we gossip about them with our real life friends who also share the closeness. We even dress as them for Halloween, we buy their books and we get excited when we see their cameo appearance on other shows or movies (it’s not the actor we’re thinking about, it’s the character).
All in spite of the fact that they make us cry.
Photo via Visual Hunt