A buddy once explained why he liked being a pretend journalist. He said something along the lines of “being a journalist / writer helps channel my natural nosiness, my curiosity.” I really liked that.
And to boil that down I think, The Heights let me be nosy. Just like it did for my friend and former colleague, it let me channel the characteristic that often makes me a social deviant and helped me meet folks who I consider the coolest people on campus.
This is the last Reasonable Dowd, by the way. I know you’ve been counting the days ’til I sail onward into the undying lands of second semester senior year. Please, for all our sakes and your own dignity, hide your tears. Pull yourself together. This is, so far, the easiest column I’ve ever written. There’s no elaborate jump to make from the Star Wars trailer / Jon Snow / Angelina Jolie’s ovaries to BC culture. There’s no proposed cultural dilemma (yet) that gets solved with a few choice anecdotes and a shrug. All that’s left is the period.
And I promise, this isn’t a ruse of a finale at the end of the semester to stir up discussion and debate before I come back next season semester. This is it.
For those who haven’t followed this column’s every wake (so everyone except my mother and Anthony F.), some of the light topics we’ve tackled here are, in general order hope, internal inertia, objective and subjective truth, snobbery, hope again, censorship, the sandwich method, country music (just once?), the true meaning of Halloween, and nostalgia with a bunch of Westeros references along the way. Wow, that was cathartic (for me).
I’ve been thinking a lot about an episode of You’re the Worst lately (here it comes!). You’re the Worst is about two endearing, shitty people (Jimmy, a British “novelist” and Gretchen, a born-to-be-wasp publicist) who together try to form one generally-functionable couple. And after their meet-ugly and subsequent alternative courtship, the second season has gnawed at the delicate dance of their relationship.
In “LCD Soundsystem,” Gretchen—who has recently revealed to Jimmy she’s clinically depressed, follows a neighborly couple around for a day, as they go about their apparent cool, hip adult lives. Gretchen—our mischievous, sarcastic redhead—watches them watch television from the bushes out in the street, with popcorn. She steals their pug (yes, a pug) named Sandwiches.
Rob and Lexi seem to live a good life. They have a nice house and do nice things for each other. But what’s lying under this surface of a life—the same surface any run-of-the-mill sitcom offers—is the same debilitating fear of roads and opportunities lost that Gretchen has begun to feel, though it’s not til the end of the episode, when Rob confesses his alarming dissolution that Gretchen realizes that things, apparently, don’t get easier. Things never all of a sudden click and settle down.
And it’s a terrible moment for Gretchen, as she stumbles out of Rob and Lexi’s nice house back to Jimmy’s with Jimmy. Things on the other side of the fence are just as she’d feared—empty, acidic. But oddly, that half-hour episode of television was comforting to me. I’ve spent the past year peeking over fences, into other people’s yards and lives, trying to broach in the most honest ways I know how their deepest, darkest feelings. Maybe it has been your roommates, someone you’ve been in class with. It must be. To wonder if they’re like me, like us, if they have the same hopes, fears, desires.
“LCD Soundsystem” reminded what I had learned over the past year. That we all bury (more or less) the same hatchets in the back yard. And that, as bizarre as it may sound, it’s the most comforting thing I’ve learned in a while, that life is hard and complicated for everyone. And I think, I hope, Gretchen will realize that the hard things are the ones worth the most while, and the most fun—really fun.
Featured Image by FX Networks