Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Guru Jessie James: What I've learned from Life With Jess.

I'm finally beginning to figure out what Jessie James and the Life With Jess narrative has been trying to tell me. In short, it's a wake up call to the fact that my own happy sense of life is only made possible through ongoing inattention and apathy regarding the suffering of others. And that I have a foundational and pervasive sense of entitlement based on what is mostly just good fortune.

I'm not saying that I'm a bad person. In fact, I'm probably above average on a scale between ISIS beheaders and  the Dali Lama. But I can see the seeds of Jessie's character within my own consciousness. They do not come to fruition in the same overt intensity. But to her defense, Jess is a fictional character in an animated series, so there's no real harm done. 

In the fictional universe I've created so far, the consequences are never visualized. I don't show Lizzie huddled in the bathtub cutting herself with a razor blade in order to feel like she has some control in a life that is full of shame and coercion. Or the Dean standing on a chair with shaking knees, an electric wire tied to a ceiling fixture and wrapped around his neck, contemplating oblivion instead of facing his colleagues and wife when Jessie threatens to expose his affairs with students.

These dark undertones began to hit me as I was writing the script for the men responding to Lizzie's ad. Although they were still over the top caricatures, there was a more realistic resonance and ugliness that Jessie's cute lovability masked in previous episodes. So here's the uncut version, without the mitigation of Jessie's presence:

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