When Bad Things Happen, and Happen, and Happen …

A friend of mine recently suggested that there should just be one bestselling book that just never ends. Instead, bad things just keep happening to all of the characters in an endless procession of pathos, bathos, emotion and grief. He happened to be reading “The Goldfinch” at the time, but the principle could apply pretty much across the board, not only to books but movies and teledramas as well. Breaking Bad just keeps breaking, bad. Orange is the New Black is one poor unfortunate with a heart of gold after another. Orphan Black makes a career out of shockingly bad things continually occurring. The list goes on and on for every entertainment that’s come my way in recent months (except, perhaps for that endless orgy/party scene in The Matrix Regurgitated). Writers and directors and producers could just take turns in a rotating orgy of bad things happening to people. My personal observation of this trend began with The World According to Garp, where it wasn’t enough for someone’s penis to get bitten off in a car wreck, oh no. Many more really nasty things had to happen in that book! We could get over the pretense of this or that author or show being “great” and just make a celebration of them all together at once. There may be no perpetual motion machine, but there’s certainly a perpetual emotion machine raging on right now across the arts.


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