Monday, May 12, 2008


Yesterday mom and I watched the second installment of Cranford, the TV movie that I talked about a week ago. Contrary to what we would have expected, the second installment wasn't the last. No, the plot thickened with sudden deaths, new characters and mysterious crimes.

All this has us cursing PBS for not telling us earlier that it was a three part series. Though, to be fair, if we were really interested we should have looked up the schedule on the website. Still, we're both in a position where neither of us will likely be able to watch the end. Mom will be in Salmon Arm because it's a long weekend and the rabbit ears on my TV don't pick up American channels.

I'm going to be pissed if I have to read the book.

It occurs to me that writing in those days was easier. You could have someone go off to India to never be heard from again, only to call them back at will whenever you needed them to appear. Such things only happen in soaps now. Everywhere else they'll update their status on facebook.

Getting rid of characters was easier too. All you had to do was to make them die. No research required. There didn't even need to be a valid medical reason. All you need is a good... fever. That's it. And suddenly they're gone.

Characters these days don't die without good research. I mean, I guess they could go in a quick and dirty car accident or brain haemorrhage but even still you need a specific reason for it. Then you need a trip to the hospital and all the medical procedures and emotional fallout.

Not to say that they didn't have a lot of anguish and soulsearching before, but perhaps there was somewhat less because the characters lost four siblings before the age of twelve, their mothers in childbirth and their first loves to consumption. Death was a regular occurrence like the rain, and almost as unpredictable. Does that make it any less sad? No, but it makes it easier to write about, and shorter too, because you can't very well fill the book with funerals.

In cities and in the developed world it's a hard thing to fathom. We get teary as we argue over whether to put the cat down because we've come home to find that she's soiled herself and is covered in blood. She'll die. We watch House, confident in his ability to save everyone.