A bad sitcom is forced. In a bad sitcom the characters that you’ve come to know will do things that you don’t believe they would do. Not because their actions are unbelievable (it is not well known that every action is to a certain extent impossible when weighed against the endless possibilities it was not) but because their actions do not fit their profile. A profile if we had to define it is, to a certain extent, what a personality of a given type would do in any situation. We can say that we are not types that we are individuals but it may be true that all of our particular attributes or actions can conform to particular types, in the broadest sense and acknowledging that types do not in fact delineate or determine action; in any case what is a sitcom but a study of types? The free-spirit, the obsessive-compulsive, the slacker, the “straight” man or woman. Etc. And when these types perform actions—responding to situations—in ways we don’t expect, not because we expected a particular action from them and not because we are disappointed by the redefining of their type—for every character must undergo change of some sort because experience is in itself a form of change—but because the action strikes us more as a means of advancing the plot rather than a response to a situation. And an action that is performed for the means of advancing a structure outside the character, outside the character’s world—unless the character perhaps has a knowledge of the plot—can’t help but strike us as cold or flat because it is a betrayal of the character and of the process the character belongs to and of the experience of watching types react (if this is done in bad faith—because of laziness—and not knowingly, although if done poorly knowing a thing does not make it work).
I have always had trouble with unmotivated action because I did not believe that anyone could act according to something that was outside their selves. Conversely (and maybe paradoxically) I also believe that any one can do any thing in the right situation and with the proper impetus, and that the right situation and/or impetus can be essentially any thing. The characters I have witnessed up to this point have been at least convincing even the odd times action has seemed incongruous it has conformed (as I later find) to a type. This kind of incongruous action is extremely disconcerting because it suggests not only that our possibilities are more limited than we suspect but also that type can dictate action.
hi michal im a kobo i made some poems for you
michal theres a kobo in the river
i ran my bike over to see what the hubub
was. christapher spotted it by the weeds
a matte black case with the front page
set on “war and peace”. tolstoy
was crying because hed lost it and
his boy had gone in the river
to fish it out and couldnt find it and drowned
michal while i was eating a kobo
came up to sit next to me looking
extremely fine waering a white bonet
with a nice wool suit jacket and lether
oxfords. i thought thats cool and
asked the kobo if it would liek some-
thing and it said “yes a plate of cavier
and mussles” and i said “whoa
too rich for my blood.”
i was in the hospital michal
and a kobo was my doctor.
he said are you having difficulty
sitting down and i said no i don’t
have any problems and he threw me out
you won’t beleve this: that guy looks exactly like ross from friends
i just put my glasses on and i can’t beleve i’m looking at everyone’s faces
wakeing up at eleven i think of all the other times i could have woken up
i’m going to ried my bike for a bit and decide if i’m hungry or not
Write a long blog post about the architecture in Doom and how it demonstrates or transmits or connotes something (maybe), what it means to rush around those surfaces (maybe), to have the ground shift, the walls open, to deal with constant enemies (maybe), to search for clues and openings, to realize (finally) that there is “always another level”, that even when completed nothing is ever safe (the rabbit, the green grass, pan to reveal torture, ruin, war in the games’s final credits (all the episodes of the first two games more or less end this way))—Doom is the product of a wrecked and depraved culture, of a depressed person, its labyrinths and monsters like Kafka’s trials, degradation, eternal, with no answer, no end (in Doom II, the final boss is hidden, it isn’t the demon that you thought you killed, but in a secret room, designer/programmer John Romero’s severed head (the demon, after all, is only fiction, the real horror the mind that will persist, beyond Doom, spawn others)).
“Anxiety about writing feels like: I am poor in words, ideas, and feelings, and when I sit down to write, this poverty will be revealed. It is another rule of the general rule about fear: fear has nothing to do with its object. (When I jump off a thirty-foot ledge into the sea, my experience bears no resemblance to what I so paralyzingly apprehended before making the jump.) It’s obvious to me that if I have a problem with words, ideas, or feelings, it will be due to their excess, not their lack.”
—Harry Mathews, 20 Lines A Day [Day 45]