An ambulance with lights flashing drives up to the emergency room door, where doctors and nurses are waiting to receive the patient. No! Not one ambulance, but two, and we learn a building collapse, or traffic accident or shooting, has taken place. Injuries are grave, and everyone gets to work, knowing life and death hang in the balance. Families in panic beg for information, doctors skirt personal issues, ordering tests, stopping bleeding, and fighting death. Then the drama is ratcheted up with an overflow of patients and no other hospital to send patients to, every doctor and nurse is treating multiple critical patients at deaths door.
Dramatic ? Yes! This is one of my favorite shows, “Code Black.” Medical shows make good television because of the potential for drama. Other good choices are police shows and who done its, legal dramas, and soap operas. Just sit back and ask yourself what is the worst thing that could happen? What is the worst choice this person could make? These bad events and bad choices add to the drama, but if the show is coming to an end, watch for the lucky break for a satisfying conclusion.
These dramatic shows manipulate our emotions to keep us watching, and keep us coming back for more. Our favorite books do the same thing, and I would wager our favorite blogs do a little of this also.
Real life drama is just as riveting. I have been on the edge of my seat watching the parties elect their candidates, and watch how the candidates try to position themselves to look good (before flags, before military boats) while making the other candidate look bad by repeating every bad thing that may have ever been thought about the competition. We watch reports of war, and rumors or war. We watch as gunshots fly and bodies mount up.
Some people will argue that trouble in the world is aggravated by the fictional and real representations of violence. I would argue that fiction and news can show us not only the worst, but the best of what we can be in a crisis. We can see the way people band together to help each other in crisis. We can see many reach out to give comfort in times of suffering. We can see that there are those who reach out in times of suffering due to injustice.
Real life is not a dramatic show for our entertainment. Real life has complicated issues that we cannot solve in an hour. Our entertainment may show a reflection of real life and a hint of the complexity of the issues of life, but it can’t provide solutions. #