I just finished binge watching all 8 seasons of Weeds – the American TV series that ran from 2005 until 2012.
102 episodes watched in the last month while making art, making dinner, listening to my children, listening to my partner, doing the dishes, eating breakfast, eating lunch, eating dinner……
Last night was the finale and like all finales it wasn’t satisfying. Why? because I have lost my friends- the space in my mind that was occupied with family drama, drug dealing, comedy, murder, ridiculousness and fantastic characters is now empty – back to my life, my life that is void of such excitement.
Pure escapism at its finest. But is it escapism when it impacts your life? Through watching self centered, no so great mother but fearless survivor Nancy Botwin (the fabulous Mary Louise Parker) I grew a set of balls – a set to join the ones I already had – but these balls were different, these were reclaimed but improved balls, ones that fell off while raising three children -its the ‘I don’t give a fuck’ balls – not the angry kind I had when I was younger – the indifferent kind. Perhaps this is an age thing that would have happened anyway and Weeds has sped up the process. Spiritual teachings comes in many guises.
However, many challenge the idea that escapism is fundamentally and exclusively negative. C. S. Lewis was fond of humorously remarking that the usual enemies of escape were jailers; and considered that used in moderation escapism could serve both to refresh and to expand the imaginative powers. Similarly J. R. R. Tolkien argued for escapism in fantasy literature as the creative expression of reality within a Secondary (imaginative) world, (but also emphasised that they required an element of horror in them, if they were not to be ‘mere escapism’
I agree with C.S Lewis – my imaginative powers were definitely taken out for a play during this series as I concocted my weed growing facility. I would announce every few days in a state of reverie to a weary & amused Brad.”As soon as it becomes legal I am going to have a big barn, proper lights, a cafeteria etc and of course I know how to make creams for the old people, you know it helps their arthritis – oh and I was raised on a farm so the horticulture part will come naturally – I will get my dad to help, you know it will be a family business but also I can employ my friends, that would be hilarious. I will help people with cancer and take the business off the shady gangs – oh remember when we used to have to score from Ma, that beast in Flaxmere – god how did we ever do that when we were teenagers” the next five minutes are spent reminiscing about Ma and how she would pull the tinnie out from her dirty old bra, how she used to meet me, a young white female, down her drive and do the deal there – now that I think of it, she was probably keeping me safe – Brad, the private school boy would have to go into her house – he now goes to that place re-living the smell, the dog hair on furniture, fearing that it may of rubbed off on him – I know he is at this place by the look on his face.
Why am I writing this? Because I am in my come down period, what goes up, must come down – funnily I remember reminding my eldest daughter this same sage advice when she phoned me distressed a few weeks ago after ascending to great heights one night.
Television is a drug – a trap – a trap you enter willingly but perhaps quite naively.
Are all traps bad? and is it a trap if you realise it is a trap but forge ahead anyway? Is it safer to be in a trap than out on your own in reality? Are all the pleasures in life a trap?
most tasty food – usually the trap of the flab and heart attacks drugs – trap of the come down, possible mental illness and addiction alcohol (technically a drug but deserves its own slot) – trap of being an obnoxious arsehole, sleeping with the wrong person, bad liver etc etc travelling – trap of perhaps being blown up sex – disease traps, baby traps – actually children are a trap all by themselves
I have no idea where I am going with this and it may never stop, although I like how this flow came back to traps and now the enemy of traps – escapism.
Brings me back to Rachel Harrisons idea that all works of art should have a trap door
Ironically this bit of escapist writing got me focused and productive rather than walking around the house aimlessly wondering how to function without rewarding myself with an episode of Weeds afterwards.