Friday, May 6, 2011
The Future of Communication, For Better or For Worse
In 2008, Lynn Johnston finished the thirty-year run of her stunningly overrated, preachy, pompous celebration of the Whitest Family in Canada, the "For Better or For Worse" comic strip. The strip concluded with daughter Liz Patterson marrying her on-again, off-again high school sweetheart, Anthony Caine, who by that time was a divorced father of one and well-known to the strip's fan base as the most sunken-chested, morose, family-destroying stalker to ever be portrayed as a "good guy" in any medium.
The "relationship" between Liz and Anthony was notable primarily for it's total lack of meaningful communication. The two characters never actually spoke what they were thinking, but instead each played a passive game of Wait For Fate which might have gone on forever if their creator had not been determined to make them The Perfect Couple. Even their Engagement consists of nothing more than the two soulless idiots sitting on opposite ends of a couch, Liz muttering something about how since they get along, and they are already dating, and there's nobody else, well, they are kinda sorta engaged, right? (Anthony's breathtakingly romantic response: "I guess so.")
Too bad the story didn't take us beyond their hideous lavender-and-teal-wrapped wedding, because had the strip continued, this commercial would make a good example of what Liz and Anthony Caine, Mr and Mrs Meant to Be Like it or Not, could expect out of "marital bliss."
The couple in this ad is so disturbingly distant, so emotionally detached, and so utterly incapable of communicating that they now must resort to "expressing" themselves by scrolling through their cable service's On Demand menu. The guy seems genuinely interested in playing Kiss and Make Up, displaying romantic garbage titles and video of "our wedding." The girl is having nothing of it, at one point even changing her Facebook status to "single" (seriously, if that's an indication of how truly horrible their fight was, is it really going to be fixed by choosing the right tear-jerker to snuggle with? Is this guy really so diminished by his relationship with this woman that he's going to forget she announced to the world that their marriage was over because of a FIGHT?)
At any rate, the choice of the "right" video ultimately ends this disgusting display of passive- aggressiveness and gets this obviously well-matched couple back together again, and they have "SmartTalk" by Samsung to "thank" for it. No apologies necessary- no apologies, no heart to hearts, no soul searching, no compromises. Nope. Whatever the problem was, it was solved through the magic of the Big Glowing Screen. Thank goodness, because there's nothing in the world worse than actually communicating with the one you "love," is there?
Very fortune for us, too. Because on television, it's kind of hard to read the thought bubbles.