Sunday, July 09, 2006

Community: Sustainable Relationships On TV

In a recent post about community I looked at how film typically often show people entering into meaningful relationships with one another through shared space, shared mission, or shared relationships. But I also point out in this post that very few films hinge their plots around the concept of sustainable relationship.

But even after making my list of cartoons yesterday I began to think about how the smurfs and the scooby-doo gang show the concept of sustainable relationships more than any movie I can think of. Because you see, the plot style of television really allows for a demonstration of sustainable relationships. It's not just about shared mission, shared space, and shared relationships, it's about shared life.

Whether it's Saved By The Bell, Frasier, Beverly Hills: 90210, or Seinfeld television is filled with good examples and bad examples of people living in community. Relationships are formed but the emphasis is not on the formation of friendships, but the deepening of relationships in community.

Just think about the television show friends. There relationships were not static, there were times when Monica and Rachel were closer than other times, and times when Phoebe and Ross did and did not get along. There were stories about cooperation, and working things out together. And the depth of their relationships grew. Remember the first episodes when Rachel really was forced to have a life change from the wealthy life she was set to live with her fiance. Who did she rely on? Her friends. And those relationships changed and developed over time.

I'm usually a movie person far more then television, but when it comes to looking at sustainable relationships. Television offers infinite more examples.

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AWG said...

Of course my favorite example of community as shown on television was the show "Northern Exposure." At the time I yearned to live in a quirky, interesting, remote community like Cicely, Alaska. I still do.

jasdye said...

can't stand 'friends', but i think you're right. since tv is serial, you see relationships over long periods of time.

the best example of positive communal relationships (with all of its nasty ups and downs) though is Buffy - where oftentimes that community was the saving grace (literally) of that world.

Terence Towles Canote said...

You are right. I think over all television is a better medium in which to portray sustainable relationships than motion pictures. Indeed, one can get a better sense of community on a TV show than a movie. I have to agree with Awg about Northern Exposure. I would also throw in The Andy Griffith Show (Mayberry actually reminds me of my hometown)as a good example of community on TV as well.