Not a Drama Llama

The context of a scene determines my reception, not just the actions of characters. When a best-friend dies in an action film, this serves as motivation for the hero to continue the good fight, despite the danger. In a drama, the gone-girl-DF-01826cc_rgb.jpgprotagonist must process the pain, loss and grief of a loved one’s death and continue the motions of life. Similar fact pattern, but radically different execution and effect on the characters or audience.

This is why I gravitate towards action-adventure romps, sci-fi epics, fantasy journeys and kid’s stories. The stakes are the entire world, but there isn’t emotional baggage attached. In dramas, the protagonist a victim of events or a deplorable person who wants to make the wrong choice. I am asked to watch a story with characters I relate to destroyed by the world with no recourse or seeing someone I would never associate with ruin the lives of people around them with reckless abandon. Neither is desirable.

Addiction, spousal abuse, depression, infidelity, murder, corruption, suicide and the impact of real world issues are not how I choose to spend my entertainment time. I prefer to engage with fun adventures or something that could Drama Cheatingmake me laugh. I recognize that the universe is not always sunshine and rainbows. I don’t need a reminder of the atrocities around us through my entertainment proprieties.

I recognize I am missing out on many of the best films and shows with this policy. Actors hone their craft while playing roles with true weight behind their action. I’m certain performances with an equally talented member of the guild come across more powerful than when acting opposite a CGI tentacle monster. Directors flex their talents and frame scenes which make the audience feel the pain on screen. These creators are talented at their trade, almost too well. Because I can’t turn off my receptors and just watch the scene play out, I feel the emotion of the story even when I don’t want to. My only recourse is to not watch.

My favorite films still contain dramatic elements, but the environment and sentiment differ. When Marty McFly speeds towards the clock tower to go Back to the Future the audience is tense and cheers with him to victory. When characters in a drama race towards their destiny, there is a sense of dread and worry as their fates end. It’s not the unknown which creates tension within the audience, characters die (or not) in both serious works and flights of Schindler's List, Oliwia Dabrowskafancy. It’s that downbeat portions of the drama linger longer with the viewer than the excitement of an adventure.

Our brains are hardwired to remember negative stimuli longer and more vividly. It will take ten positive encounters to counterbalance a harsh one. I can’t control when off-putting situations arise in my life, but I can dictate when I digest adverse forms of media.

I’ll watch the fictional escapades of Indiana Jones fighting Nazi’s as opposed to the well-told, cruel realism of Schindler’s List every time. Not too escape reality, but because I’m well aware of the problems we encounter as individuals and pitfalls of society.

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