As I posted on Monday, I conceived this column as a way to hold my self accountable so that I would read more and watch more scripted television. Not only watch more, but study it. I didn’t really think I could learn anything (for the writing from my nasty little reality tv habit…but I was wrong.
Flipping Out has been one of those indulgences of mine for a while. Though, I have to admit the show took a long time to grow on me. Back several years ago, when Jeff Lewis made boku bucks flipping houses, it was one of my husband’s (who installs and finishes hardwood floors and has had ‘flipping’ aspirations) favorite shows. My thoughts back then? “What a freaking jerk” (In reference to Mr. Lewis)
Times change, the economy hit the skids, and the real estate market crashed. Jeff Lewis shifted his focus from flipping houses to design and (here’s the key) I actually took the time to really watch an episode or two.
Like a lot of people I really know, I suspect that ‘freaking jerk’ attitude I saw with casual glances at the TV is a defensive shell. Evidenced in this week’s episode, when faced with the possibility necessity of firing his soon-to-be in-law, who really hasn’t mastered the concept of job performance. He caved. Gave her another chance, piled on to the 1,543 chances I’ve seen in just the first few episodes this season.
What do you know, there’s a heart in there. And a good one at that.
So, can I take anything back to my writing?
Actually, I can. Characters are rarely black and white or good and evil. Most people are blended. (I’ll leave the inherently good argument for the philosophy classes) They have plus and minus traits. And sometimes they have to be cut-throat. Sometimes that behavior is motivated.
And sometimes the best drama / entertainment comes in seeing what’s under that crusty defensive shell.