Suspending Our Regular Program

Alright, if you’ve been paying attention to the rhythm of this blog, you know that when Friday is my day to post, I usually post a BSG list.  But this week there’s a wee problem.  We only have one list left and I seem to have misplaced it.  So until I find it or we reconstruct it and/or write more (though it might be time to stop beating that dead horse for a while) the BSG lists are on hiatus.

Instead we’re going to talk about a little issue I have.  Suspending disbelief.

Clearly I don’t have an overall problem with suspending disbelief.  I mean, I love Sci-Fi, fantasy and musicals.  And soap operas.  In general, I’m all over suspending disbelief.  I’m an incredibly uncritical viewer.  But there are moments that break me.  And not the ones you’d think.

For example, Stargate SG-1.  Magic portal that transports people to the other side of the universe?  This I will accept without blinking.  And anthropologist that looks like Daniel Jackson?  Okay, seriously?  I’m not sure I can buy that.  (And I’m not alone on this one.  When I pointed to the character and explained to faithful reader Mary that he was an anthropologist, she snorted and said, “No, he’s not.”)

Another example:  Lord of the Rings (the movie trilogy, I think the moment in question happened in The Two Towers)—the moment where Sam and Frodo fall down the hill outside the gates of Mordor and Sam gets stuck in the gravel.  Frodo throws his cloak over them and the soldier that comes over to investigate mistakes them for a rock.  There’s something about the camera work in this sequence that makes it impossible for me to believe the guard doesn’t see them.  Again, the whole “magic ring has the power to cover the earth in darkness” is totally believable in my brain.  But this moment?  Pulls me out of it, every time.

Sometimes my reactions aren’t even on base.  Take my soap opera of choice, One Life to Live.  We’re talking about a show where people come back from the dead with a fair amount of regularity.  Where the “good” characters go through a dozen marriages or so.  But when the show revealed that Jessica and Natalie Buchanan were twins but had different fathers I went, “Okay, OLTL, you’re really reaching here.”  Thing is?  It turns out it’s actually possible (the real world kind of possible) for twins to have different fathers.  My mother’s even seen it happen.

So anyway, long and the short of it is I don’t really understand why these moments jump out at me.  And yoink me out of my happy fictional world.  (Okay, I really do think in my second example camera work has something to do with it)  But I feel like it needs to be said.  For the children (so long as they aren’t hot anthropologists or half-sister twins).  I don’t think I’m the only one this happens to, but it seems to be different for everyone.  One of my old roommates always said the part about Lord of the Rings she couldn’t believe was the whole Frodo being willing to give up his life for the good of the world thing.  Clearly she and I are different.

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