Decency Over Dystopia

I know I’m supposed to watch “Squid Game,” like everyone else seems to be, or already has. I watched the first episode, and I hated it.

I was anticipating the new season of “Succession,” about a family of reprehensible people doing hideous, appalling things to hold on to money and power. I even re-subscribed to HBOMax to watch it.

But I just can’t. I’d rather have the two seasons of Ted Lasso on an endless loop until the third season comes out. Because I’m done with “dystopia.” I want decency. Ted Lasso is the closest thing to a new Frank Capra movie I can find.

After more than a year and a half of isolation, loneliness, fear, anxiety, and existential dread, I’ll take feel-good TV over dystopian drama, and Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin is the scariest thing I’ll choose to watch for Halloween. I’m saddened and more than a little freaked out by how popular horror movies, filled with slash and splatter, have become. I don’t get why people would deliberately set out to expose themselves to ghastly, evil, and terrifying stories. What good do they do anyone? Are those kinds of films and TV shows supposed to be cathartic in some way? To me they’re just the stuff of nightmares.

I go for the good guy riding off into the sunset. I just finished bingeing “Longmire,” about a Wyoming sheriff. Sure, almost every episode is a murder mystery, but the central idea is about how a decent man tries to do the right thing in the face of grief and doubt, with the help of flawed but loyal friends and coworkers. Spoiler alert: yep, there is some riding off, if not specifically into a sunset, at the end.

I also like “Grantchester” on PBS, for many of the same reasons. A seasoned and slightly cynical detective, Geordie, accepts the help of the local vicar (casting has changed since the first few seasons – one vicar leaves town to be replaced by a new guy). Geordie has a lot going on, and he’s far from perfect, but he cares about getting the outcome right.

So if anyone has suggestions for other films or series that choose decency over dystopia, send them my way. We could all use a little encouragement as the slog to the other side of the pandemic seems to grow longer. I got my booster shot, and I feel relieved about that, but it doesn’t relieve my frustration and incredulity about those who refuse vaccinations, won’t wear masks, and don’t seem to give a damn about anyone other than themselves.

Great Frank Capra movies (and pretty much all of them were great) found decent people triumphing over greed, deceit, class distinctions, deception, and outright lies, often in the midst of communities in turmoil. But somehow, those communities come together to do the right thing in the end, and the good guy (the so-called “little guy”) wins. Think “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” or “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” or of course, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Angelic Daughter attended a Halloween party on Saturday, and gets to go to another one on Halloween itself. Masks will be worn and social distancing observed, but at least she’ll get to have the company of friends. There’s a raft of information about how loneliness is bad for physical and mental health, both for older people like me and for young adults.

Let’s reach out, give a friend a call (not a text, so there’s at least a human voice attached) and check on your older relatives. How’s everyone doing? Anything you need? Anything I can do?

I”ve never had a lot of friends – usually just one or two close ones at a time, and none for many years. I’ve haven’t gotten beyond the “acquaintance” lane in ages. I know I’m missing out on the benefits of truly genuine, unconditional friendships. I hope it’s not too late for me to learn how to make more friends.

In the five years that Mike’s been gone, I haven’t found a social activity that has connected me to anyone new (I joined a choir and that was great for music, but not for socializing – it was hard work, and the social relationships were between people who’d already been singing together for 30 years). Maybe I’ll try to take that native gardening class, and I’m going to make an attempt to participate in NaNoWriMo, even though I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.

How have you kept your spirits up over this long, bleak time, when the goalposts keep moving farther away and the natural disasters just keep coming?

Hoping for some suggestions and encouragement, I remain,

Your lonely, trying-to-fend-off-anxiety-while-looking-for-a-good-friend-or-at-least-a-good-TV-series-to-binge,


4 thoughts on “Decency Over Dystopia

  1. I get it. I’m with you 100%! I guess we’re all so used to doing things by ourselves it’s hard to find new friends. If you haven’t already, join a writers group. Mine meets virtually these days, but I’ve forged some good relationships through that. Not always social, but supportive and I did find one really good friend who’s one of my besties. Writer’s conferences are starting to happen, too. If you can, go.

    No one knows what they’re doing on NaNoWriMo…trust me! So do it anyway!

    And for what it’s worth, my WordPress blog site hates me. It will only work on my work computer now and I have no idea why. I can’t write on either one of my blog pages and no matter what I’ve tried, nothing works! I’ve even had to sign in to post this comment! Finding rejection from the site where I write about rejection is kinda funny and dystopian.

    “30 Rock” is on Netflix now. I highly recommend it. It’s silly and never fails to make me laugh. I watch a couple of episodes before I go to bed. I promise you it’ll bring a smile.


    1. Thanks for the suggestions! And have you tried the help function on WordPress? I usually get a quick response and their “happiness engineers” might be able to help. I’ll check the settings on my site – you shouldn’t have to log in to comment! Maybe that’s it why I get so few….anyway hang in there and I hope you get you blog sorted out soon!


  2. I wonder why it is uncommon to find another who also disliked Squid Game. 😦
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I felt at home reading your post. A feel good movie I love watching anytime is Major Payne!


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