Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Knowing Who to Root For

Have you ever watched Harry's Law?  It's a TV show about a quirky group of lawyers staring Kathy Bates (the first reason I started watching it) and set in Cincinnati (the second reason). 

Last week's episode had a couple legal cases that made me glad I wasn't on the jury of either one.  One was a couple of parents taking legal action against their son's school after he died from injuries recieved in a high school football game. Their stand was that football is too dangeerous and should be banned.  Ridiculous, huh?  Until a number of recent studies were sited that showed the long term brain damage associated with playing football, especially with young players, even if no serious injuries were ever diagnosed.  Harry's closing argument was that she personally loved football, it's part of our culture, but...if medical studies prove the sport is far more dangerous than it was believed to be, should our youth still be allowed to play?

It was a good, thought provoking, not-sure-which-way-I'd-vote, kind of show.  I like those.  That is, I like those kind of stories on TV.  But for some reason, I don't like them in books.  When I'm reading a book, I want to know who to root for.  I want to know who the good guy is, or which is the right cause.  Maybe a little uncertainty for the sake of suspense, but I want it clear at the end.  I don't want to come away from a book thinking - you know, I would have been just as happy if the other guy had won, got the girl, whatever.

Maybe reading a book requires more emotional investment so I want a definite payoff.  I'm not sure.  How about you?  Do you want a story to have a clear cut right and wrong?  Is it different for TV verses books?  What about movies?  Do you want to know who to root for or do you like more gray and less black and white?

Groaner of the Day: William Penn, the founder and mayor of Philadelphia, had two aunts - Hattie and Sophia - who were skilled in the baking arts. One day, Penn was petitioned by the citizens of his town because the  bakeries in the town had, during the Revolution, raised the price of pies to the point that only the rich could afford them. 

Not wanting to challenge the bakeries directly, he turned to his aunts and asked their advice. When they heard the story, the two old ladies were so incensed over the situation that they offered to bake 100 pies themselves, and sell them for 2 cents lower that any of the bakeries were charging.

It was a roaring success. Their pies sold out quickly, and very soon they had managed to bring down the price of all kinds of pastry in Philadelphia.

In fact, even to this very day, their acheivements are remembered as the remarkable -
Pie rates of Penn's aunts.

(think Gilbert & Sullivan)


GigglesandGuns said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GigglesandGuns said...

I want an ending but I admit I kind of like it when the MC having a bit of doubt. Great ending but maybe...
Where do you get these groaners? That's rhetorical. I really do to want to know :o)

I had to redo this comment -- it looked like a foreign language. Not enough coffee I guess.

LD Masterson said...

Aw Mary, you'd ask me to reveal my sources? Honestly, everywhere. I'm always searching for groaners to add to my collection. People who know this, send me ones they've found somewhere. But I'll admit, it's getting harder and harder to find new good ones ("good" being a relative term here).

Jessica R. Patch said...

I think it depends in books. If it's a continuing series with all the same characters, when not knowing exactly what I want is okay because as the series develops, I know the writer will lead me where to go. I guess that's why I love series books.

But I eventually want swayed. :)

Angela Brown said...

I've started needing a bit of mystery of who to root for. I've started analyzing stories from page one, deciding what's a possible red herring, which character fits into what type so I will not be suprised by the action they take through the story, and so forth. So when I read a book where things have more shades of gray, it forces me to really let that critic part take a break and flow with the story to see how it ends. However, the romantic side of me DOES favor a nicely wrapped up ending.

LD Masterson said...

Jessica - I think in a series I'd especially like some idea who the good guy is. I'd hate to follow a character over several books and then find out I'm rooting for the wrong team.

LD Masterson said...

Angela - the mystery part I like, as long I can count on some clarity in the end.

Liz Fichera said...

I'm not a huge fan of lawyer or doctor shows. That said, I don't mind grey in my books or movies, as long as issues are resolved by the end of the book.

LD Masterson said...

Liz - It's funny, I don't usually watch either but this year I've found one of each I enjoy, Harry's Law and A Gifted Man (doctor show). I like Harry's Law because they do cases with a lot of gray areas and no clear cut right or wrong. The very thing I don't like in a novel.