Why We Love Tragedies.

I’ve recently finished binge watching The Gilmore Girls, and yes, I’m a few years behind the times. (X-files was more of my love when I was a teenager.) With the witty banter and romance, I can see why Gilmore Girls is so popular. But when looking at the show, I see it for what it is, a tragedy. By the end of the show (I’m referring to the original, though the new Year in the Life applies as well), Lorelei has ruined her chance at happiness with only the promise of a kiss with Luke. Given her previous history with love, it isn’t much. Rory, while finally graduated from college, also loses in love and only has a promise of a low paying journalist job. The show is definitely missing its Happily Ever After.  I can keep complaining about the girls’ poor choices and week parenting, but I was glued to the show like everyone else.

Then why do we watch? Is it the promise that somehow, they’ll pull their lives together? Maybe in the hopes that Lorelei will one day make a commitment or that Rory will go for the too good to be true rich boy, Logan.  Maybe we watch because real life is more complicated that a simple fairy tale.

I look at another tragedy, one of my favorite novels, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. In the end, his life is over, everything and everyone he knew is gone. The only hope is a small group of old scholars that go around, sharing the books they’ve memorized. They have no chance at freeing their ignorant society or over throwing their government. They live in the misery of their knowledge, with barely a hope. I love that small hope.

Like Shakespeare himself, tragedies span the history of storytelling.  Maybe we revel in the pain and suffering of tragedies, because we can relate to them. Life is ugly, messy, and complicated. We make stupid mistakes and have to suffer through them.

In these tragedies, though, the characters also find happiness and humor in small bits of joy and love, and in those small kernels, we may find the reason for this life.

Tragedies remind me to find the pleasure in the path ahead however challenging. Like Lorelei, we can rip open ten different bags of candy and watch an old movie, criticizing their judgments and escaping our own reality for a time.

While we each experience our own tragedies, small or large, I hope we can find joy in the journey and peace in the quiet times, and maybe we even experience a happily ever after now and again.

SPOILER ALERT: If you have finished the Year in the Life on Netflix, I love to hear your thoughts, and maybe your guess on the father.


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