The Time of our Lives

I heard about this new Australian TV Series a long time before I got the chance to see it for myself. Girlfriends were talking about it. To be honest I have only watched one episode. What I am interested in is that we seem drawn to film and television dramas that mirror our lives. This is a contemporary drama about an extended family living in inner Melbourne. It is about the complexities of life in your thirties and forties. Life is busy as you pursue relationships, juggle children and develop a career. People make mistakes and hurt each other. Life is disappointing.

And yet we go back for more. This is what Amanda Higgs and Judi Mc Crossin know to be true. They have nailed the narrative formula in The Time of Our Lives. We want to watch people make bad decisions because it appeases our guilt. The lust of character x justifies our own, the lies of character y makes our own lying habits seem minor and the dysfunction of another family suggests our clan is almost ‘normal’.We want drama – like  The Slap, Offspring, The Secret Life of Us. Not because it edifies and encourages us; not because it challenges us to view life, decision making or a relationship in a productive way. But because we like to revel in another’s misfortune. And I think women are the main culprits here.

The Time of Our Lives may be interesting, relevant even poignant at times. But let us not get lost into television viewing that whilst entertaining us also numbs our ability to discern how it might feed our needs and desires. The secret side of us.