Thursday, June 6, 2013

Television and the Need to Grow Up

We live in a culture that doesn't know how to grow up. It's all around us; we're swimming it. It's especially obvious in our television shows. A friend of mine recently wrote a blog addressing this specific problem. She calls it the Peter Pan Syndrome. I was thinking about this and reflecting on a few of the shows on TV that I really like. Though great television, most of these shows support this view. Here's a list of a few men that suffer from the Peter Pan Syndrome.

Michael Scott, The Office
What can I say about The Office? It kept a smile on my face for nine years...that's what she said. I can always watch an episode and be happy. However, where Jim and Pam characterize a healthy marriage that's worth fighting for, Michael Scott characterizes the boy who refuses to grow up. Or rather, the boy who doesn't know how to grow up. Or maybe even still, the boy who doesn't know that he needs to grow up. Of course, in the end he is redeemed through his relationship with Holly (and the people rejoice...), but for most of his screen time, he is the consummate child.

Shawn Spencer, Psych
I love Psych; it's one of my favorite shows. I Can't get enough of all the '80's references. However, Shawn certainly suffers from the Peter Pan Syndrome. Shawn is afraid to grow up and marry his girlfriend. Instead, Shawn would rather spend his days playing silly games with his best friend, Gus. Pop goes the culture.

The Bachelor
Do I really need to comment on this show? Hey I have an idea, let's have a show where we broadcast a man engaging in multiple realationships and affairs at the same time, and we'll pretend like it's dating and it's moving toward marriage. This show really is a great reflection of our culture. Next

Doctor Who
Three cheers for the good doctor. As great as he is at saving the world, his relationships are bit too wibbly wobbly timey wimey. This is a man who has been around through eleven incarnations, travels with multiple companions, nearly falls in love with every one, and still refuses to marry. For awhile, he was even traveling with a bisexual Captain. Eventually though, he does get married to a fellow time traveler, so it all works out in the end, right?  I wish  could say that. He has left plenty of broken hearts in his wake.

I'm not trying to ruin TV for you, but if I did that's fine too. It is important to take a step back from time to time to see the state of things. Remember, TV, movies, and music is not created in a vacuum. They will always reflect the culture from which it comes. Does our culture need an overhaul? Absolutely.