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Entertainment Is Essential: And So Was "Medium"

In a Goldilocks Society, it is proper to seek out that which is neither too hot nor too cold.  Why settle for less when we can have warm and cozy?  It is therefore fitting to reject what is too hard or too soft, too big or too small.  It is imperative that we make accurate decisions:  pick the exemplary melon from the market; select the best answer on a multiple-choice exam; meet our perfect match at an online dating service.  We want everything to be just right.  But where the heck is Goldilocks when it comes to preserving entertainment that is not too extreme, not too tacky, not too vapid, not too trite, and that is in essence "just right"?

Case in point:  Once upon a time there was a dramatic series about a female psychic sleuth named Allison Dubois who could see dead people and solve crimes in her sleep.  The show was known as MEDIUM and aired on N.B.C. . . . until that network abruptly yanked the plug and the happy beeping dot on the life-support screen that is Television flatlined prematurely to a monotonous droning signal.

But the story did not end there, for the program was miraculously revived by another network called C.B.S.  Fans everywhere, including myself, rejoiced.  Until that network suddenly pulled the plug, cutting not just a season short, but the future and potential of an amazing series.  A show that was, in terms of appeal, just right.

This is nothing new, and I have vociferously protested other heinous brainless discardings of merit by those merciless oil-stained mechanics in suits who toil for the Mega-Conglomerate Entertainment Machine.  Too often it is the least original and most unworthy that prosper these days.  If something dares to be too good or even grand, perhaps a bit complex, watch out.  It scares people.  It makes them flee (in a Goldilocks fashion, I suppose) for the familiar, the mundane, the ordinary lessities to which they are accustomed.

Despite the fickle nature of mainstream culture, exceptional unique shows and movies and books do on occasion keep trying to emerge from the muck to jump-start the mind and be recognized.  Sometimes it happens.  Yet audiences have been diminished by the sheer mass of distractions and demands that compete for attention.

The forms of entertainment we could once depend upon are being jeopardized by riffraff and flotsam.  Garbage has always been present, of course.  But nowadays, for a stellar individual work to be noted at all in such an inflated diversified market, let alone to steadily maintain that interest, is increasingly uncertain as well as unlikely.

When true quality is cast aside or unnoticed, we all suffer.  Just as the loss of familiar and comfortable or preferable options will take a heavy toll as little by little our choices are narrowed by an ever-expanding glut of "the latest" products.

These days established industries are scrambling in a state of panic and dishevelment due to hard times, the Internet, and independent competition.  Television once challenged movie theaters, but miraculously theaters remain.  Will the same hold true for traditional book publishers and T.V. networks?

The paradox of the matter is that while MEDIUM was nicely nestled between excess and pablum in content and virtue, the title of the series belies the stellar acme of talent and quality that the series boasted.

The shining example of a family and marriage weathering with humor and love the best life has to offer as well as the worst — the darkness, death, disease, doubt, and Drama with a capital D — MEDIUM is one of those sterling shows I will not forget.

The values and love story represented by the series gave me hope, despite so much evidence to the contrary, that the notion of true love and the institution of Marriage could withstand these troubled times.  Between the rise of immorality and cheating, the ease of contact and stalking through online social networks, it is more and more possible for relationships to falter, be sabotaged or abandoned with very little thought and discussion.  Watching this couple, the T.V. Allison and Joe, survive the world's challenges along with their own issues was heartening.

Like all great works of art that you connect with on a magical divine level, or an intensely personal one, the series spoke directly to me at times — to my fears or worries or questions — as if there were truly a psychic link involved.  Somehow the show managed to provide support, comfort, encouragement, and uncanny examples or parallels.  Sometimes it reached out; other times it simply made me feel happier for a while.  The "medium" of television — like books and films — can do that.  Can be there for you at just the right moments.

The emotional final episode of the series once again eerily impacted my life as I was dealing not only with the loss of the show and the loss of a character, but loss on a personal level around the same time.

I have previously pointed out at length that great characters — embodying the best, if flawed, traits of humanity — whether fictional heroes or depicting everyday people, can become so vivid and real that they step into our lives.  They can make us feel better about ourselves and each other, about the world.  They can make us believe that things aren't so bad and anything is possible.  That we can get through whatever challenges confront us!  As a writer, it is my goal to create lasting and inspirational characters; to touch the hearts of readers in ways they will remember.

Why do I rant and rail and shake my fist when another beloved cast of characters is unfairly dismantled and terminated?  It's akin to abruptly being jerked from a fabulous dream — one you never wish to end because you are so content there; you feel at home.

As I bid farewell to MEDIUM, I feel I have lost another cherished piece of happiness.  And I don't know about you, but with so much turmoil in the real world, given life's continuous series of too-often unfortunate events, I can definitely use all the happiness I can get . . .

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Lori R. Lopez

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