Real Angst

The Revolution Was Never Going To Be Televised

At one time, I was an educator, teaching Astronomy and Physics to undergraduates in Kalamazoo Michigan. (Oh boy, was that in another life time!) The kids were great, but I was very nearly one of them myself, and I had very little perspective about their situation. Too close to the subject! I’ve grown more wary over the years, and worried – angst ridden for real – when I saw fresh-out after fresh-out hired to work in my field with hardly any interest or desire to do the job. Their ability to do the work was questionable, too, at times.

I’ve grown to fret over – and hate – seeing articles like this one, recently highlighted by The Instapundit.

Teaching in college, especially one with a large international student population, has given me a stark – and unwelcome – illustration of how Americans’ work ethic often pales in comparison with their peers from overseas.

My “C,’’ “D,’’ and “F’’ students this semester are almost exclusively American, while my students from India, China, and Latin America have – despite language barriers – generally written solid papers, excelled on exams, and become valuable class participants.

That is – disheartening.

Now, in writing “The Problem With Sarah”, I fully intended it to be about the character’s failings. She’s lousy at relationships, she’s not funny. She comes with baggage, and she doesn’t like music. It didn’t come out that way, of course, and you almost want to say “So? What else you got?” Face it. If Sarah existed, you would want to know her, every bit as much as Chuck does. You’d trust her and confide in her as quickly as Ellie. If you were her boss, you’d have as much confidence in her work (either in the field or in the Orange-Orange) as does the General. The character is attractive on more than just a physical level.

You could say the same for Chuck. These aren’t cartoons; These are fairly remarkable young adults that aren’t too unrealistically drawn, in some respects. Perhaps you even know someone who’s a bit like that. I think I do.

And that’s the remarkable thing. If you haven’t yet, take a look at the Intstapundit link, and go to the end, where he quotes Michael Barone. America has the world’s worst 18-year-olds and the world’s best 30-year-olds. Let’s hope we can keep that up. That’s Chuck and Sarah, and that cheered me up.

I think it’s true, too. And you know, more than the humor, more than the action and even more than the romance, what I like about Chuck is the way it sees people. I like the way the show recognizes how ordinary people overcome hurts, limitations, and circumstances to sometimes do extraordinary things. And sometimes the ordinary things we do are very extraordinary, indeed. (“I like you and Ellie fighting for each other.” – Stephen)

That attitude defines the show every bit as much as Charah, I believe. It’s why we like all the characters, and moreover, it doesn’t go away when Chuck and Sarah are on the angst-filled outs. Maybe it’s why I have a tremendous amount of confidence that this is going to be another great season.  You can worry about PLIs  in the story-line (I certainly have!) and fret about the foolishness to which television is prone, but these characters are already better than that particular problem.  I’m convinced that those who’ve created and breathed life into them think better of human nature, the same way that I knew Tolkien did by the time I finished Two Towers.

We may see other “stuff” thrown at them, and rocky is probably a generous description of their road in S3.  But “more of the same” will be the last thing I expect to see.

– joe


About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
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4 Responses to Real Angst

  1. OldDarth says:

    “We may see other “stuff” thrown at them, and rocky is probably a generous description of their road in S3. But “more of the same” will be the last thing I expect to see.”

    Totally agree.

  2. Miranda says:

    I felt the need to comment this post… I just read it and though.. deep 🙂 loved it btw..

  3. Gord says:

    Joe, it seems once again we are on the same page. Less than a week to go. To paraphrase one Devon Woodcomb “S3 is going to be awesome”.

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