Thursday, October 15, 2009

Peace: The Christmas Episode

One of the interesting things about watching a season of a television show on DVD is that you are watching it with the absence of time. By this I mean that if it's fall sweeps and shows are bringing in big name celebrities, you might not realize it until you watch a couple episodes in a row that have a different type of "marketed flair" to them.

Even more noticeable then sweeps is the Christmas episode.

What makes the Christmas episode(or in some cases episodes) different is not just the decorations and holiday related banter. No, it's also the tone of these episodes. They tend to me more relaxed, less stressful, and in the end they give you a feeling of peace, that all is well.

For no show is this different more clear then in Fox's hit medical series House.

Dr. Gregory House is known in this show to be harsh, impersonal, offensive and callous in his approach towards his staff and his patients. He operates on the theory that all people lie, and that medical diagnosis is a mystery detached from the person who the disease is effecting.

All the same, every time I watch a season of House on DVD there is always an incredibly disappointing Christmas episode, an episode smack dab in the middle of the season where House is nicer, and if he's not a lot nicer, everyone around his is so sugary sweet. Not only that, House usually learns a lesson, or has a heart-warming moment. Ultimately these stories usually end with providing a sense of peace.

Sure in October and January everything can be awful and the show can explore harsh realities and trauma, but not for it's December episode. No, this is the episode where Wilson helps House feel just a little bit of the Spirit of Christmas.

It's interesting how this seems to make the episode sub par. In fact, it's disappointing to me, because I want film and television to explore this theme.

Yet the only way I can understand that is in terms of how the theme of peace distracts from the nature of good narrative, which is explored and developed conflict.

Click here for previous Peace post)

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