Wednesday, September 22, 2010
A Gibbs Girl
I admit it. I love television.
I know. So many writers pooh-pooh television, saying that it shrinks our brains and hampers our creativity. But give me a well-written drama, and I can learn so much about writing and pacing from it.
Say ... NCIS.
I further admit that I am a Gibbs girl, myself. I love me some Gibbs -- Gibbs is one of those characters that appear at the top of my "If I were ever stranded on a desert island" lists. He'd probably hammer me into the ground by the end of the first day, but by gosh, he's nothing if he's not competent. Give the guy a case of toothpicks and a piece of innertube, and he could probably build a raft.
NCIS is one of the few television shows that The Husband and I will watch together. The Husband's non-ESPN tastes run to sit-coms, which I file under breaches of the Geneva Convention. Most sit-coms turn on pratfalls and abject humiliation, and I never got past the stage where I just empathized so strongly for the poor blighted character that I had to walk out of the room at the moment of their humiliation.
But NCIS, somehow or another, caught The Husband's attention. It has to do with several factors. One, it's not a particularly gory show after the first five minutes -- unlike some of my other fave TV show -- CRIMINAL MINDS or CSI. Two, it's got comedy in it, and if you want to keep The Husband's attention, you'd best keep his funny bone tickled.
As I write this, both The Husband and I are rather tickled at the prospect of the season premiere of NCIS. I've waited a long time to see what old Gibbs will do following last season's cliff-hanger -- and if his dad makes it after facing down a gun held by a revenge-bent woman.
I try to remember that I need to bring just that sort of balance to my own writing -- some choke-you-up tender moments, some shoot-em-up action sequences, some belly-laughs. What a good writer is doing is constructing a roller coaster that will take the reader on a ride. NCIS and other good shows like that help me remember that.
Or at least, that's what I tell myself about why it's worth 45 minutes a week for me to speed through the DVR'd version of NCIS. It could, of course, just be a fatal weakness for Mark Harmon.