You know those generic spy-cum-assassin thrillers, where there's always some clichéd rule about not getting attached to anything? As if the ability to experience human emotion and connect to another human being will impair their ability to spear a biro into someone's jugular. If the impending stress about an awkward date at Nandos will somehow make an incredibly experience assassin hesitate about sniping a crooked official from a hot air balloon in...I dunno, Prague, or something snazzy like that. But of course, said assassin becomes attached to whatever has entered his life and is so utterly infatuated and gripped by it whilst it lasts. Every so often you find a part of the cultural zeitgeist that somehow latches onto you, pries open your skull like an novelty serial killer and pours itself all over your brain, smothering your consciousness with fantastic characters, brilliant scenarios and a general atmosphere that’s so endearing and enjoyable it’s on par with a mix between Christmas, Pizza Hut and a year huffing morphine fumes from a balloon with a smile painted on it in marker pen.
You see, I’m probably a tad unusual in the fact that I get incredibly involved with certain books or films and feel probably more irked or disappointed than most people when it’s over. I’m not talking about an obsession on par with say fetishists or the Manson family, nor does a bleak winter sky of a depression following the closing chapters, but enough to make me quite ‘reflective’ when it’s over. I imagine it’s because I’m for lack of a better phrase ‘Socially awkward’ and tend to dislike EVERYBODY WHO HAS EVER EXISTED. (Daryl Hall, Colin Firth and Kaylee from Firefly not withstanding)
I don't think you could handle a picture of Daryl Hall's magnitude.
Of course I doubt this is just me, I remember the national outpouring when the final Harry Potter book was released, or the last LOTR movie; these two examples seemed to unite the entire world into a level of unusual, yet understandable ‘mourning’ like a worldwide cultural funeral whilst the earth bawled unashamedly.
Why though? Why do we suffer such strong reactions when something goes off the air or finishes a series? Remember when FRIENDS finished and about 95% of the population were incredibly distressed, apart from E4 who realised they now held the keys to a chest containing at least 10 more years of re-runs, like a middle aged man stuck in the 90s who references long-since-funny OJ Simpson jokes and occasionally says ‘what’s the deal with....’ before unleashing a disgusting guffaw at himself like a cross between a nauseating teenager laughing and a Labour MP having an orgasm. I’d suppose we come to treat characters as ‘friends themselves, not literal, but in the sense that you’re regularly involved in their ‘lives’ and personal details, you know they’re ‘reliable’ and when they’re gone there’s a definitive sense of losing something you’ve grown strongly accustomed to, especially with a series spanning a decade or several novels.
Perhaps it’s something you’ve known since childhood, like an endearing TV show or bedwetting, and when it finally ends, it seems a sad reminder that your childhood is over, not to sound like some pseudo psycho-analytical wankpot, but it’s the knowledge that your childhood is over and your now an adult, where fun is outlawed and a mortgage is the sexiest word in your lexicon.
Characters of the opposite sex are perhaps the simplest to summarise in that they seem ‘perfect’...wait no, I don’t mean to sound like an unshaven sexual deviant who dreams of making an exercise bike out of human skin; let me explain. Think of any character of the opposite sex you’ve admired or become particularly fond of (Not in a weird way...you kook), with what description and scenarios we’re given our subconscious seems to create a character from these materials, the result being...for lack of a better word, somebody bloody awesome. They’re not the girl in your class you’re afraid to talk to, resulting in your staring gawped like a group of cavemen around a fire; nor are they the person who constantly rejects your affection, like somebody turning down a muffin full of soul affirming fun, I mean, come on, just one bite right? Just try it, you might like it! Seriously, just a nibble? Come on, give it a chance and see for yourself, EAT MY FUCKING CAKE YOU IGNORANT, TEMPESTUOUS HARPIE! DON’T MAKE ME CARVE YOUR NAME INTO MY DOOR.
....Sorry about that. But to re-iterate, we perhaps become attached to characters of the opposite sex because they seem ‘obtainable’ and we’re allowed to add our own perfections and ideas onto them because they seem far more ‘possible’ than the myriad of human beings queuing to reject you and your ugly face, you loser (Except you, obviously. You’re bloody marvellous). Of course I’m using self deprecating humour to otherwise mask a point which is in fact quite adult and interesting...you get what I mean. And when these characters go, we’re disappointed because of becoming attached due to our own imaginations and hopes; yeah, it’s your fault for having the metaphysical properties involved with creating abstract representations of ideal people...you spoiled feeb. You and you’re bloody emotions eh? If only we could trade them in for something of equal value, like a game boy.
A game boy colour would be pushing it.
That said, at the end of the day it’s all about lifestyle, obviously. The reason people adore the Harry Potter stories are because, frankly, life is uneventful compared to the extravagant situations they’re having. We want what we couldn’t possibly experience for ourselves, which is why I imagine Harry, Frodo or Robocop would rather sit down at the pub than constantly have the threat of death and TERROR (all caps) thrust at them. Comic books are a massively dominant cultural force, but Spider-Man would never read one, and even if he did it’d be something low key like Archie or Dennis The Menace; because he gets enough ‘sensationalism’ in his own day to day life.
What I’m essentially trying to say is whilst the narratives and characters may be strong, we only get attached to these things because we're all so boring.
And that when this show finishes I'll have nothing left...