30 Days of TV – Day 30

Day 30 – Saddest character death.

This is how you want to end things? 30 questions over what ended up being almost a year of near TORTURE and you’re going to end with SADDEST CHARACTER DEATH?! Who wrote this meme? I need to punch you in the face real fast.

FIRST of all, you have obviously never heard of the Oreo effect. They taught us this in college as a strategy to use during parent-teacher conferences, but I think they should teach it freshman year of high school and also at college orientation as a general rule for dealing with people – always cushion the negative with positive on either side. For example, “Little Johnny is really great at painting, he can’t read worth a damn, and he’s so good at dodgeball!”. So you can’t be all, “Remember your favorite show? Remember your favorite character? Remember your favorite storyline? REMEMBER THAT TIME YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTER WAS RIPPED OUT OF YOUR LIFE LIKE A VITAL ORGAN?! The end.”

So. Rude.

In addition to this just being a cruel way to end a series of questions, it is also nearly impossible for me to answer. I cry at the end of The Little Mermaid because she’s leaving her Daddy and can never swim in the ocean with him again. Death kills me. It sounds ironic, I know. But, I’m sensitive. So death affects me. And death affects me even more if it affects other people. For me, crying is more contagious than yawning. It breaks my heart to see others in distress, so even if I didn’t know/care about the person in question, if someone is upset, chances are I’m somewhat upset myself.

However, for the sake of ending this meme [I really hate calling it that, because I’m unsure whether I’m to pronounce it “mee-mee” or “meem”] with the same vigor with which I started it, I shall play along. I think the saddest character death for me was Buffy at the end of season 5. It was after the internet took over the world, so I knew Buffy had been picked up for another season. I knew Buffy couldn’t be dead forever. But the entire episode was just so upsetting. She didn’t just die. She sacrificed herself. She took the place of her sister and left all she knew behind. She didn’t assume she would go to heaven – that kind of hopeful thinking is left for those who don’t know of the living dead and creatures beyond your imagination. She knew that it was possible that she was venturing into an untold hell dimension. That wasn’t important. She knew that in order to save her sister, her family, her friends – and less importantly, the world – she needed to risk the dangers she potentially faced. She needed to give of herself. And she did so. Bravely.

It didn’t help that the direction and cinematography was epic. We saw her whisper into her younger sister’s ear, but didn’t hear what she had said until she was floating in slow-motion into the abyss that held her certain death. The dialogue drew from earlier points in the season, the camera panned to each of her friends – the friends that had stayed strongly and bravely by her side for the past five years of their young lives – as they realized what she had done and already began to mourn the loss of their leader, their
friend.

I own all seven seasons on DVD. So, on top of the first time watching them live, the second time watching them as I received the DVDs as gifts, re-watching the entire series with various friends that had yet to experience the magic and selecting random episodes to feed my addiction, I have watched 98% of the episodes of Buffy at least five times each. However, that episode is one I think I’ve watched the least. Not because I didn’t like it. Quite the opposite. It affected me too much.

I remember when it happened. I remember where I was. I remember the couch I was sitting on – the old couch, we’ve changed living room sets since then – and where my father was. I remember not being able to control the tears streaming down my face. I remember half laughing through my sobs when it was over, saying to my father, “I know it’s coming back next season, so she obviously can’t be dead forever, I don’t know why I’m crying”. But I also remember going upstairs to bed soon after. I remember crying
myself to sleep that night.

Tara’s death also threw me for a loop. I don’t think I knew it was coming. I certainly didn’t expect it at the moment of it happening. I kept waiting for her to come back to life.

I would speak of one certain death in the series finale, but I regularly deny the fact that it happens. It helps me enjoy the other 99.9% of the series better, but also fully breaks me all over again each time I reach the end.

I think I channel my feelings through fictional characters. I think I always have. It’s a lot easier to feel justified in crying over a television show than anything else. For some reason, in my head, it’s more justifiable to cry over fictional events meant to be upsetting than to real life events. It’s like, crying when a beloved character on television dies makes you human, but crying when your life leaves you feeling broken and alone makes you weak.

I think it also has to do with the fact that I tend to be attached to fictional characters in the first place. I start to think of them as my friends, people I see once a week, people who share their lives with me. So when one is ripped away from me, it feels personal. Another character death that shook me was George from Grey’s Anatomy. I had been sad enough when he left, seemingly forever. Then he died, breaking what was left of my resolve. Saving another person, no less. It was one of those moments of television that has stayed with me in excruciating detail, despite the years that have passed since its airing.

It’s funny, sometimes my mother jokes that I have a cold heart because I don’t know how to cry happy tears. But maybe I don’t cry happy tears because I am so inclined to cry sad ones. To be fair, I don’t cry in front of people anymore. In high school, I’m pretty sure I cried every day. Whether it was to/because of a teacher or to/because of a friend, most of my friends had seen me cry. By college, I had my emotions more under control, to the point that when a friend would see me cry, they would panic a little, because they knew it must be legitimate.  These days, I can count on one hand people who have seen me cry that I am not related to or that I have met post-college.

But all it takes is a good soundtrack and some teary-eyed actors, and I will lose it. While this usually only applies to deaths or people leaving forever, there is the occasional exception in which something hits too close to home and I will also drop a wall or two and cry.

Well, now that you have read a novella on my tendency to bury all of my emotions and only reveal them under the guise of being sympathetic to fictional characters, I think we can declare this meme officially finished.

*Insert triumphant sound of victory here*

IT’S OVER!

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~ by Valerie Anne on 02/02/2012.

2 Responses to “30 Days of TV – Day 30”

  1. Wow girl. I have been reading all of your blogs over the last few days and once again you had me in tears. This time sad ones 😦 I too remember exactly where I was when Buffy died in season 5. ‘The Gift’ is my second favorite episode from the entire series. (‘Hush’ is my favorite) I will never forget that episode, especially the last 10 minutes. Epic! Sad! Amazing! The part that always kills me is where they show everyone sitting around her body, especially Spike crying. Oh gosh. Haha. I agree, saddest character death. Another great writing 🙂

    • I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the randomness of my blog! 🙂 Joyce was a close second for me as far as saddest character death, because The Body slays me (heh) every time, but honestly that was more saddest character reaction to character death than anything. I can’t deal with Anya’s speech. So good.

      Thanks for reading! Sorry I keep making you cry! haha

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