"It's a short time on this planet man. It's a date, and then a hyphen and then another date. We're the hyphen and I'm like, "I'm not spending the whole time talking to f#!*ing celebrities man" "
I think there's something fiercely profound within that quote and it's something maybe we should take heed of. Especially the way it affects us and our way of life. We may not know it yet, or maybe we've warmly embraced this moment of enlightenment, since you're already out of your cage and you're doing just fine. It's through no fault of our own and the media is something akin to dream weavers which is to say, it's something we either believe in, want or experience. So let's take a step back from it all, enjoy the monotonous silence and smile.
Hi, I'm Fruity Drinks, or more often than not, Ken. Yes similar to the voracious boyfriend to the popular doll "Barbie". I'm here to talk about something very important and dear to us all, our lives.
Craig Ferguson was one, if not my favourite host of any talk show. The way he breaks that illusion of this highly sophisticated late night lifestyle, where everyone who comes has an amazing story, anecdote, or supremely hilarious jokes to entertain us. Instead he wanted to show the world what life might actually be like, and made us laugh while doing so. Let me tell you, it's a weird yet wonderful life filled with nonsensical moments and endearing moments of awkwardness. It is this I want to hone in on for this article, and then extrapolate that idea writing about things that are not exactly related but really damn close and hopefully turns into something you'll enjoy reading.
For readers and other people who generally just know me, I promise this isn't some weird moment where I've experienced an existential crisis (though it does sound awfully a lot like it), or suddenly transformed into one of those "Damned, no good, hippies". I can promise you that there will be a consistent lack of images in my posts because I live in a coalition government.
The media is like pure 100% sugar free, food colouring free and especially, horse meat free, fairy dust. When we see it, watch it and maybe for some experience it, we get this crazy mad dopamine rush to our head. Its then something we want more of, we obsess over, we lust for it to the point of sheer delusion/obsession. The thing is, it's not real, fairy dust is fake! It's something unobtainable, like the resource unobtainium, there's a reason why unobtainium is not real, let's break the word down, unobtain and ium. Don't you love it when writers and creative people decide to make a scientific fictional resource by adding the word "ium" to things? Fruitium, or maybe Drinkium. We're all affected in some way, and don't you dare deny it! Hell I think I'm in too deep and can't get my head up above, instead i keep going under. Too much? Let me give you an example. Football (or soccer you uncultured swine) is a sport, very enjoyable to play and thoroughly enthralling to watch. I buy into the romance of football too much, an idea that these humans who have honed their skills in kicking a ball enter a grassy crucible filled with other similar talented athletes in a game where they do battle in order to become the greatest, through contests in which they'll test their abilities against one another. This is football. Every match is history in writing, where the stakes are so high that a loss is exile into the unknown and a victory is a mentioning in the hall of fame. Sounds great doesn't it? It's got to the point where I religiously watch the football expecting spectacles where human gods do battle through sports, when in reality a handful of games turn out to be boring and uninteresting. I become so involved supporting my local team I have cultivate an unfounded hatred for my neighbouring local team. They've bred a warrior inside of me, a nerd, that I didn't know existed inside myself. Now this is a small portion of me that I've dissected for you as an example for you to digest (scrumptious isn't it?) See how I've glorified my view, my expectation and my experience, when in reality it falls reasonably short of what I wanted (Granted we get some games which are, simply put, exquisite) and I'm left feeling regret and disappointment (SIT DOWN MY EXISTENTIAL CRISIS, YOU'VE GOT ANOTHER 20 YEAR TIL YOU'RE RELEVANT).
So what is this about? Well let me say that a fellow writer inspired me to write this (which I found a fantastic read), which is somewhat relevant to the Slice of Life genre in anime, so I wanted to write about something really special. Life.
We're all different, we all lead different lives, we all have different taste, schools of philosophy and clothes (god forbid we wear the same shirt in public) Even if we're so different, we share something much more special, emotions, happiness, sadness, depression, excitement and guilt. Thing is we all have this notion of inevitable death, our biological clock is ticking, we get to spend only so much of our time at this moment of writing (who knows if in the future we discover how to turn ourselves into cyborgs, or we discover the elixir of immortality) on this world. In this short span of life we see ourselves trying to make the best use of time we have. I totally respect your way of life, it's your decision and awesome, if that's what you want to do, I'm behind 100% all the way!
I'm here to express that I love your life, my life and that person 2 blocks down the road, their life, it's really super special and that's why you're here, with me, reading this. When the media attempts to recreate those moments of a more realistic life, it's something I appreciate and I hope you, in turn, appreciate them as well.
Sitcoms are great aren't they? Seemingly ordinary people with amazing personalities and amusing circumstances which help produce entertainment for us. Yes, the characters portrayed seem relatable yet vulnerable (to the whims of the writer mwahaha). Friends (the American sitcom) is a fan favourite, and one I grew up watching it, it had amazing influence over me, and is something I'll always hold dear to my heart. This was a series that made me want to have that sort of level of friendship with my friends, hoping that funny things will happen as well and stories could be told from it while at the same time having a good time. It's right there, there's something slightly superficial about this camaraderie between these "friends". Friends always had something going on, be it slight drama between Chandler and Joey to full blown arguments between Ross and Rachel. There was always something that seemed unnatural and never entered in to the realm of the norm, yet in the end I brought into Friends, because it was entertaining and I wanted to more of it. See what I mean about the fairy dust?
I think one of the more prominent examples is my beloved series How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM). The character Barney Stinson is someone portrayed to look for the most "Legend wait for it, DARY moment" A character who strived to always do something awesome , grand and breath taking. He embodies my idea of that fairy dust, and that the rest of the crew could be considered the audience or us. There are many instances in which maybe Ted wants to stay home with Marshall and Lilly rather than go out with Barney, or that the gang doesn't feel like going out, so Barney recruits his brother James to rally them together for a night out drinking in a fancy bar and such. It's that insatiable hunger for something great that drives Barney to do these crazy stunts and go to these faraway lands. HIMYM does touch on this realistic portrayal of life every now and again, when Robin arrives at the bar to ask how everyone's day is, with the reply of not much, she would explode in anger, because there are no tall tales to tell, no funny stories to laugh at (yet) and exclaims how is it that these perfectly young people in New York city have done nothing noteworthy. Just like that we're dragged into the illusion of idea of an exciting lifestyle. I just want to take a moment and embrace the awkward shrug from Ted that nothing has happened, as he sips on his beer. It is that instance that we get a tiny glimpse of maybe the extraordinary normal life we live in.
In Boyhood, we follow a young boy (who would've guess) as he grows up over the course of 12 years, as we see his environment changes, family changes and so forth. Super fantastic film I recommend it. What I want to focus on here is, how brilliantly the film diverts all the drama and all the noise around this character life, and puts it aside. Why? Narratively the kid has no power in the situation; he is a bystander in this short lived theatre. The film instead focuses on the small things with the kid as he grows up, because all of those external matters are irrelevant to him, what does it change? The film goes out of its way to show us the small aspects of the character life in an excellent way, because for him it's all about how the small things together add up to what his life is. From showing him working part-time to collecting rocks he finds. It all accumulates together to provide an insight and character development while providing narrative sense later on. Yes the film focuses a lot on the relationships of the boy and how he eventually grows and becomes a man. It's the way they decide to let this character grow, that's what I want to empathise, they didn't force the drama onto our character, and they didn't force changes on him through circumstances. The last scene of boyhood embodies this idea for me "You know how everyone's always saying seize the moment? I don't know, I'm kind of thinking it's the other way around, you know, like the moment seizes us"
Let's change gears and bring it around to anime, a series where there was nothing but moments seizing the character. Non Non Biyori. Where we follow the lives of these girls (look, I'm not here to break conventions) as they live in the countryside. Funnily enough not much happen in the countryside, its void of people, things to do and people to see. One of the most heart-breaking episode, episode 4, featuring the character Renge during the summer. This episode portrayed that lifestyle perfectly. We discover her friends are all busy doing something else and she becomes bored and decides to play outside on her own. I won't go further since it becomes spoilers. The notion of an episode dedicating about 1/3 of the run time to show how simple the life is, yes please! How about K-On! A series following high school girls (I know what you're about to say) where arguable there is nothing but adorable interactions between our cast members, from running around, eating cakes and drinking tea. The serenity in their lives is what makes me smile because of the idea behind it.
Yes I know what you're about to say, a lot of these are comedies, we have these mediums for entertainment, I'm easily entertained or something along those lines. There's nothing wrong with that! In fact some of the best stand-up comedians understand the idea of a normal life. What they do is extrapolate it, twist it and make it funny, which is an art form really. Take Michael McIntyre and one of his most amazing skits. He takes on the mundane subject of a man putting all kinds of stuff into a drawer. In hope that one day that people might need that stuff, it becomes essential to the task at hand. Normally we would find that a little stupid, horribly boring and forgetful and then dismiss the notion. Here McIntyre unravels that notion, brings up his own funny examples from other jokes, and churns the man drawer into a wonderful yet extremely hilarious tale. I love it. The same with sitcoms and a lot of SoL comedies in anime, there are people out there, writers, comedians, directors and many more who love the normal, daily lives of humans and makes them interesting and funny! They're great material and bring us much laughter to us as a society which is something we need to be able to do. I probably did no justice to McIntyre's joke and I implore you go on YouTube and watch it.
The thing that I find fascinating though is that for people to be entertained, people decided that the best way to do so is to present something extraordinary, the fantastic and unimaginable, right? The gripping drama, the blood curling violence, the razor sharp witty dialogue or the humorous skit shows, yet somewhere over the rainbow (actually more the pacific ocean or rest of Europe depending where you are, just head east) the idea of portraying normal lives thrives. Sure put it down to different audiences and culture and what have you, but have a little variety in your life! Only in anime are we allowed a taste of the ordinary, the mundane and boring. Hence the SoL (Slice of Life) genre in anime, told you it'd be relevant earlier. I love this notion I have in my head that we as an audience are happy to watch characters do absolutely normal things. Imagine an episode where Jack Bauer on 24 goes for a weeklong vacation, because he really deserves one, the man does a lot of hard work in 24 hours. It's probably why I'm always drawn to "Gogglebox" and leave it on when I flick through channels, yes they have flamboyant people and slightly exaggerated personalities, but they're still normal people! It's me watching people watching TV! How do they create such ideas! SoL also allows a very natural narrative segue for more high concept ideas such as the psychology of a "NEET". Welcome to the NHK. Yes the main character literally has one friend and spends a freaking lot of time in his room throughout series, so you know these slower shows have flexibility for the more creative minds out there to use as a template for a story.
I'm entranced that in a world where a lot of audio visual entertainment that we consume is so farcical and superficial, yet we do have a small little island in the vast Michael Bay Ocean that I can peacefully enjoy and chill with without the need to go through having my heart at 420 BPM (Blaze per minute for you gangstas) or violent mood swings because Charlotte in Infinite Stratos will probably lose. "Yes Ichika went on a date with Char! NO ICHIKA! DON'T RUN OFF WITH RIN! SHE'S IN LOVE WITH THE PAST YOU, NOT THE REAL YOU!
I guess the real moral of the story is, don't be influenced by the media and screw the big man upstairs (not literally if you live in an apartment block). Media is an evil dream machine tricking us all into buying crap and doing things all so they can pocket more coins out of our purse, and that we're cattle just ready to be herded and culled on their whims.
So we're back here again. I'm not saying you should quit your job as a host of a late night show, or hang up your fedora and bullwhip in attempt to discover lost hidden treasures. What I think I'm trying to say is that life doesn't need all of that, sometimes the beauty of life is life itself. Can't we take a moment to appreciate the small things like laughing with friends over a cup of tea (can you tell I'm British?) or sitting at home relaxing. In words that I've adjusted to suit my needs, from the great entertainer Day9
We may not live the greatest
We certainly don't lead the worst
But we try really, really, really hard (or don't have to at all)
-Sean (Day9) Plott
Fruity Drinks is not responsible for any of the consequent events that should transpire after the publication of this freaking awesome piece of literature. Should you happen to disagree with any of the above content, please transcribe your comments & thoughts on a piece of parchments and send it via Owl to Avian Sama, Minulle.
Fruity had to retire from "Late Night Drinks with Fruity" as legal allegation accused him of promoting excessive alcoholic consumption. He now hosts Fruity Grapevine Chatter now on a free view television channel at 5 o'clock.