“I wanted to show a projection of our own world that was kinder, show how much people can grow and the capacity with which people can love when they are not fearing for their lives.”
– Dan Levy, Interview with Entertainment Weekly, 6/9/19
Last week, I was affected by watching a show I admired make an unfortunate storytelling choice. This week, I’ve been thinking about the antithesis to that.
So much of the media we consume has an obsession with “drama”. Tortured relationships, violent outbursts, people dying in horrible and unexpected ways.
I do believe there is room for all stories, and a wide variety of story types can have value. And yet, sometimes I wonder at why so few stories want to talk about kindness.
For sure, there is a great deal out there for children. The fact that Sesame Street is still on the air after fifty years shows that kindness still matters to people when it comes to what their kids consume.
But what about for us adults?
I quoted Dan Levy above, because when he created the TV show Schitt’s Creek (yes, that is the real name), he deliberately set out to tell a story where you would see LGTBQ people in a small town experiencing zero homophobia. In addition, his main characters, who started off in a fairly shallow place, have developed and grown to be better people just by learning to be a part of their family and loving each other.
From the success of shows like Schitt’s Creek, The Good Place, and Queer Eye, I think I’m not the only one starved for some representations of kindness and acceptance out there. Drama will always have a place, and shows like The Handmaid’s Tale still have something to say. But over time, I do hope that more creators and developers remember that there’s more than one way to tell a story. Not every couple needs to break up, not every child needs to be traumatized, not everyone needs a grim ending. Stories with the best of kindness, compassion, and love have value too.
What’s the best story you’ve read or watched about kindness?