Opposites

April 1, 2016

The two TV series I've been alternating between for my semi-binge watching are House of Cards and Call The Midwife.

They couldn't be more diametrically opposed in tone. And as a writer, I've been studying my own reactions to them.

The first couple of seasons of House of Cards were attention grabbing, à la rubber-necking at the scene of an accident. But this year, I found myself more and more impatient with the characters, and less and less involved in seeing the series through.

Whereas Call the Midwife gripped me from the start, and never really let go.

The difference between the two is that I was emotionally invested in the characters of Call the Midwife, whereas I've basically stopped caring about the Underwoods. I can't relate to them. Their scheming is titillating, sure, but I didn't learn anything new about them this year. It's like they've gone flat in their venality. Their behaviour is so alien to me, that it's hard to see them as people. They don't seem to see other people as people, either. So why should I care?

Call the Midwife, on the other hand, is quintessentially human. I care deeply about each and every character on screen. The writers treat them all with compassion. Plus I learned a little history, and had driven home to me just how much of a game changer contraception has been. Call the Midwife highlighted to me how little compassion one sees in our entertainment these days. It feels like a relief to watch this show, amid the cynicism on display elsewhere.

Or maybe I'm just getting old. ;-)

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