I got home last night in a pissy mood. I have met my true nemesis, and it’s name is Act 2, Scene 2. You see, every time we run the scene I feel like a newborn deer trying to stand up; I have no control over what I’m doing or where I’m going and the only thing that’s keeping me from falling flat on my face is the basic instinct of balance. I can intellectualize the process for hours, but the moment the scene starts, I’m Bambi all over again. It’s a cruel way to spend a night. Yet I’m getting off topic.
I got home last night in a pissy mood. I’ve been struggling with occasional insomnia over the past few months, and one thing I’ve discovered is that said insomnia usually occurs when I’ve got something weighing heavy on my mind. A bad night of rehearsal and an impending audition are quite the recipe for disaster. So faced with a night of no sleep (thus rendering me even more sluggish for the aforementioned audition), I turned to drugs. No, not sleeping pills. My new drug of choice – “Arrested Development”. Yes, The Pusher came through and finally delivered on her much delayed promise, so I’ve got a new addiction to feed while I fight off the withdrawal symptoms from “Lost”. And I must say, the results are impressive. I slept sound last night, and woke up in a much better mood today than I would have wagered I would have given last night’s misadventures. And yet… this development frightens me somewhat.
Am I really that easily manipulated by a TV show?
Is it really possible that a couple of cheap laughs at someone else’s expense is all I really need to put myself in high spirits? I’ll admit, I’m as likely to take pleasure in another’s foibles as the next guy, and certainly “Arrested Development” is built around making light of the Bluth family’s individual neuroticism, but still, something about this is upsetting me. I feel cheap. I’ve always been a moody person, prone to swings of attitude that defy logic and reason. Yet despite this tendency to bounce between emotions with the frequency of a menstruating heroin addict, I’ve always at least held firm to the idea that my moods were of my own making, and that I maintained control over my own emotional fate. Now? Not so much. I’ve become a puppet for the whims of Hollywood. When did this happen? Has it always been this way?
Digging deep into the vast recesses of my psyche, I find answers which are not pretty. As a child I was clearly influenced by the musings of Big Bird and Company. I’d giggle at the rantings of Oscar the Grouch and then carry out my day in joyful bliss. I recall being terrified by “Cujo” as a kid and to this day I’m not a dog person. Coincidence? Not likely. In later years I would tune into the A-Team, only to grab my toy gun and head off into the backyard all fired up about shooting stuff and turning a wheelbarrow into a primitive Death Star. (You know what I could have really used as an 11-year old? A blow torch.) Even something as seemingly innocent as watching a porno makes me want to seek out sex. HOW CAN THIS BE?! (Actually, that’s a pretty obvious cause-and-effect right there. Bad example.) All of this establishes a clear pattern.
It’s weird. I used to scoff at people who blamed all the problems of the world on television and video games. “Clearly you’re not doing your job as a parent”, I’d bluster. “The idiot box is not to blame for little Johnny’s attitude”. And I still believe that to be true… mostly. Yet here I sit, a perfect example of someone who’s attitudes towards the world around him are orchestrated by artificial stimuli. All of this glorious free thinking I thought I was capable of is apparently an illusion. And what’s worse, I’m just as likely to be as a susceptible to suggestion from something vapid like “Saved By The Bell” as I am by something clever like “Arrested Development”. The only thing that’s saving me is the fact that I wouldn’t be caught dead watching Screech. One false move with the remote and I’m fodder for “Full House”.
As the great David St. Hubbins once said, “it’s a thin line between clever and stupid.” How utterly horrifying to know that I’m walking that line every day.