Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Change: it's not just for your piggy bank

This may sound like a no-brainer, but for a show to be truly meaningful to you, you often have to watch it during the right time in your life. The same thing is true of any kind of art - books, movies, paintings, poems, music; what you connect with at one time in your life may be completely different than if you'd encountered it years earlier or later. Watching Buffy as a teenager was revelatory for me, but who's to say whether watching it later in my life would have the same effect?

My point is, your relationship to a piece of art changes over time as you change. This makes it interesting to go back and rewatch shows you loved at one time from a new perspective. Sometimes, you feel just the same, and other times, you feel completely differently.

I've been thinking all this because I've been watching Felicity again, right from the beginning. When I first watched 'The Fugue', the episode in which she loses her virginity, I was furious with Felicity. What was she thinking? She wasn't supposed to sleep with some poser sensitivo art student punk! (Insert adolescent fuming here.) But rewatching the episode, I'm surprised by how much Felicity's actions don't bother me this time around. Certainly, I'm not applauding Simon Rex as her choice for the deflowering man of the hour (poor!), but I'm not upset at Felicity like I was back then.

It's more than just feeling differently about certain aspects of the show - it's connecting with things you didn't the first time around. For example I didn't remember this exchange from the first season finale, where Felicity's debating whether to go with Ben on a road trip or Noel to Berlin, but I absolutely loved it on rewatch:

Felicity: "I can't go with you because that would make me the Devil!"
Ben: "You are not the Devil." ...
Felicity: "What if I am, then what?"
Ben: "Then I'd still want you to come with me."

Cute and sweet and earnest as Noel was, he was always the safe choice for Felicity. When I first watched Felicity, I wanted her to make the safe choice. I wanted her to make the choice that wouldn't put her heart at risk, because Ben was almost certain to disappoint her. But that wasn't what Felicity wanted. She wanted the challenge, someone to make her feel alive and complicated, who would let her make mistakes because he'd make them too.

Maybe my taste has just changed from font-loving geeks to swim-loving delinquents, but I don't think that's it. I think it's that I now have empathy and respect for the struggle to choose between what looks right on paper and what feels right to you. Felicity made the decision that was right for her. She, and I as a viewer, just had to do a bit of living to understand that.

Has your opinion of any shows changed between your first viewing and a later viewing? What about music or movies?


At 10:20 AM, Blogger Abbey said...

It's moments like that that really show me how much I've changed since college...or high school...etc.

And usually I find that I've changed in a positive way. For example, since college I feel I've become even more open-minded. What's funny is that many people say that most people become more close-minded when they get older. I'm hoping to just stay the same...or maybe become just a bit more open-minded. I don't want to go too far. hahaha : )


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