May 6th, 2009
I thought of another item to add to my 100 things list, but then I thought, I could write a whole post about that. So…
I have a problem with suspense. In real life, I don’t mind change and I’m usually quite philosophical about having to wait and see—where we’re moving, a baby’s birth, whether vacation plans will pan out—the Navy has been very good for me in that way. But when it comes to fiction with the tiniest bit of suspense, I absolutely cannot stand not knowing how something’s going to end.
If I’m reading a book and the heroes’ fates are looking uncertain, I will flip to the last chapter and read it before going back and finishing the rest of the book. That habit drives Troy crazy, but I have to do it or I wouldn’t be able to keep reading. When the last Harry Potter book was released, I didn’t buy it. I’m not even a huge Harry Potter fan. I’ve only read the first two books and seen all the movies. But when we were at the pottery studio the night after Deathly Hallows had been released, and I noticed that my friend Laura who worked there was reading it in between helping customers, I asked her if I could borrow it for a minute while she was helping someone. She looked at me strangely when I explained I just wanted to read the last 20 or so pages so I could find out what happened, but handed the book over, bless her. I knew if I didn’t read those pages and find out what happened to Harry and his friends, I wouldn’t be able to even see the last few movies in the series.
And movies! I love movie spoilers, seriously. Bring ‘em on. When my mom mentioned that she’d seen Signs, I begged her to tell me as much about the plot as she could remember. I wanted to see the movie at the theater but I knew from the trailers that I wouldn’t be able to sit through the whole thing unless I knew what was going to happen. The only movie I regret knowing spoilers about is The Crying Game. I knew the big secret of that movie from a magazine article that I read before I saw the movie, and I actually wish I hadn’t known that one.
Oh, and The Usual Suspects! I actually have a funny story about that. Years ago when Troy and I were visiting our friend Dave we went to a Blockbuster to look for a good movie to rent. (Remember when you used to have to go to a store to rent a movie? Ah, the good old days.) I had picked up The Spanish Prisoner and Dave saw it and asked what that movie was about. I read a bit of copy off the back, including something about how people who loved The Usual Suspects would love The Spanish Prisoner. I mentioned to Dave that I would love to see The Usual Suspects, and he said, “Oh, me too! Can you believe that Actor O’Drama was Keyser Soze?”
I clapped my hands over my ears, but not quickly enough. “Da-ave! Why did you say that!? I haven’t seen it yet!”
Dave smacked his forehead. “I’m so sorry! I thought you said you loved it!”
“No, I said I’d love to see it, you dork!”
Dave apologized profusely. I shook my head and granted him forgiveness, because it’s not like I was going to let a spoiler ruin my day. He assured me it was still a great movie, that I’d enjoy it even if I knew about Actor O’Drama. And he was right, when I saw the movie later, I did like it. But that’s one movie I would have watched totally differently if I hadn’t known the ending.
When it comes to TV, this dislike of suspense takes a slightly different form. If I’m watching a TV show and it becomes apparent that missing one episode will make it hard to follow, that every show ends with a cliffhanger, I will stop watching. I get too involved in the show and will get completely anxious about what’s going to happen next week. I just can’t take that kind of drama on a weekly basis about people who don’t exist, ya know? I can only barely take it about people I know in real life.
Which is why I’m going crazy right now. If you follow me on twitter you know I’ve recently discovered the fantastic show Chuck. Chuck is an average guy who accidentally got information from a government supercomputer implanted in his brain, and sort of falls into becoming a covert CIA agent while at the same time working his $12.50-an-hour job as a computer tech and trying to explain his weird behavior to his family and friends. Mike was telling me about the show and how great it was, so one night when I needed to crochet but couldn’t find anything on TV to watch, I pulled up Hulu and found the pilot episode. I watched it, loved it, and went on a “Chuck”-watching-and-crocheting kick.
Over the following week I crocheted and watched episodes late into the night. I told myself I’d only watch one or two, but to me it was like potato chips: one only made me want more! So I kept watching and crocheting, finishing one baby blanket, three headbands, a big-sister gift along the way. I finished the last episode of Season 2 last night, and loved it. I’m so glad I found this show.
The only problem is, NBC still hasn’t decided if they’re renewing it for a 3rd season or cancelling it. Now that I love it, I’m totally and completely convinced that they’ll cancel it, of course. I’m hoping they won’t, because I’d love to see more. But in the meantime, it’s driving me nuts NOT KNOWING.
Ugh. Suspense is overrated.