Saturday, December 5, 2009

Gems in Unexpected Places

Confession time: I have a couple of guilty-pleasure t.v. shows I enjoy watching. They actually serve a great function for me: they allow me to turn off much of my brain and just sit. Just watch and enjoy and relax and not think too hard. These shows are especially nice after I've spent all my brain power grading research papers - ack! :-)

One such guilty-pleasure show - yes, feel free to point your finger at the screen and laugh hysterically at me - is the "new" 90210. I used to watch the old one in the 90's, so I started watching this new one out of curiosity. It's fluff. It's silly. It's melodramatic. It's filled with eye-rolling dialogue and unrealistic plots. But today, as I was watching my DVR recording of it, there was a well-written gem amongst the rubble.

One of the teenage characters had just lost her mother to cancer, and had attended the funeral an hour before. Afterward, she sat on the edge of her bed, talking to a friend about the surreal funeral experience. She said this, in a monotone voice, with an empty look in her eyes: "People, strangers, kept coming up to me, kissing me, and telling me things like, 'I'm sorry for your loss.' 'I'm sorry for your loss.' My loss? What does that mean, loss? She was a person, not a baseball game."

I paused and processed what the character said. How true. How cleverly-phrased. The word "loss" is cold. It's over-used, impersonal, even trite. To compare a meaningless baseball game to the weight of someone's life puts things into an odd sort of perspective.

The moral is - if you look hard enough, sometimes, you can find a moment of actual depth and poignancy and creativity in an unexpected place. So, always keep your eyes/ears open for well-written gems -- even when partaking in a guilty pleasure that you're sure will only yield fluff. Because it might surprise you, where the gems can be found...


  1. I've always disliked that expression, too. The "loss" seems so abstract, lacking a subject or an object. Whose loss? Loss of whom? The word floats out in space, attached to nothing. Let's lose it.

  2. Great post, Traci! 'Gems' can be found anywhere really...a comment made by a parent to a child, and vice versa, a line of text in a novel that POPS when we read it....we have only to be aware and alert to those gems.