Different Strokes

In our family room my husband is relaxed, watching a rom-com about a beautiful cupcake baker in a small town where no one needs to lock her door and all the parked cars have keys in the ignition. A thief’s paradise, yet the crime rate is barely above 0, and that non-0 statistic is only because sweet old Mr. C is becoming forgetful and has taken to walking off with packs of gum from Uncle Al’s general store. Outside, on the sidewalk, everyone smiles and greets all the passersby by name. Of course they all know each other’s favorite cupcake.

In the living room, I’m sitting in front of another large flat screen. Mine is bigger, which I like, but his has better resolution which, as an engineer, he needs. I’m happy, but not exactly relaxed. My entire body is focused on a rerun of a Dexter episode, his knife-wielding arm raised above his latest victim, who is strapped to a table. Well, not an innocent victim since the guy on the table is, like Dexter, also a serial killer. Serial killers are second only to hit men on my wish list. Third would be fixers like Ray Donovan, who do a little of everything.

If my spouse does join me in a crime drama, it has to be bloodless, like the rom-com above, and with a very clean body, seen from a distance. All the violence will be off camera. And no punches to the face or gut, please.

In other words, he likes cozies; I like grit. 

We’re talking about television and not books, only because the issue comes up when it’s together time. The different preferences remain the same for books. He’ll pick up a Monk; I’ll go for Nordic Noir.

Here’s just a taste of breakfast conversation as we debate the merits or not of the two ends of the “violence/no violence” spectrum.

Him: That gritty portrayal glorifies violence.

Me: That cozy script makes light of violence.

You’d never know we were talking about murder in both cases, albeit fictional.

Him: I don’t want to be reminded about real evil. My programs are more about the puzzle, figuring out the clues.  

Me: My choices are more realistic, more of a deterrent to the viewer.

And so on.

I can’t really argue about his preference for cozies. After all, I’ve written almost 30 of them, give or take.

I’ve taken on “evil” in my writing, but only in short pieces, closer to flash fiction. The truth is, I can’t stay very long in the minds and souls of the likes of Hannibal Lechter, or Tom Ripley, or “number one fan,” Annie Wilkes. 

Instead of constantly echoing debates past, we’ve reached an agreement. I’ll give the channel famous for bloodless mysteries a shot, but if I can’t stand it after twenty minutes, I’m free to leave, with no repercussions or criticisms on either side. Similarly for him. As soon as a scene shifts to the coroner’s lab, or slab, he leaves for the kitchen, brings me back a bowl of ice cream and keeps walking.

Win win.    


Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.