Friday, December 06, 2013

The communally-agreed-upon ending

I have just endured yet another drama where the writer seemed to think he/she was wiser/hipper than the viewer and the viewer simply had to take what the writer wanted to give. Some of these k-drama endings lately seem almost to be thumbing their noses at the audience…and at the “old-fashioned” idea of a communally-agreed-upon ending. I find these endings very disrepectful and arrogant.

Okay, I understand a writer possibly planting hints all along as to what the ending is. And I understand the open-ending where there is a hint of Happy-Ever-After even if the story isn't finished. And I understand an up-in-the air static kinda ending.

What I do not like are endings where we the audience must choose the ending they would like. It feels like either the writer is lacking in moral courage and refuses to affirm her own choice for the ending because she doesn't want to alienate one part of her audience. Or that th writer herself didn't know how the story should end. 

I understand that something strange often happens when one writes a love triangle. I can attest to it as a writer. You see the virtue of both lovers and you, the writer, become somehow conflicted. This is often what makes the rivalry so believable, because while one is writing a chapter with the OTP, you totally feel that they are perfect for each other. Then when writing the chapters where the second lead and the heroine interact, you totally feel that THEY are perfect for each other. The reader/audience picks up on that and are as conflicted as you are. This is what I think happened to the writer of this particular drama I'm ranting about. She stuck to her guns by making her heroine "love" the fated hero. But at the same time she undermined the heroine’s love for the hero, sabotaging the written OTP. In addition, while there were moments when she should have begun turning the second lead’s heart toward the second lead female (after the second lead guy finally saw that perhaps he would never be loved), the writer did those moments half-heartedly..and she never allowed herself to give up on the second lead’s love for the heroine (no matter what the heroine did) because she/the writer did not want to cut the second lead loose and deprive the heroine of his love. This is something that happens with writers all the time. 

As a writer, I know this situation: the writer really likes both guys for her main character. But after a while, you have to man up; and if you still want to be piggy and to let the heroine keep the love of the two rivals, you kill off the girl’s rival so the second lead character can’t rebound to her. There are ways to do these things but this writer’s choice….is the least respectable way.

But what bothers me about this kind of open-ended pick-the-scenario-you-want endings is -- while it allows all kind of internet bantering about what the real ending was-- it deprives the viewer of a communally-agreed upon ending. And it shows cowardice.

We buy a book or watch a story because for a little moment in time we want to hear someone else’s philosophy of life (dressed up in story form.) When a writer is confused about her plot or is lacking the moral courage to finish up with her theme, it is like listening to a philosophy or religious or spiritual lecture by a writer without hearing the writer's conclusion or resolution/resolve. Hell, if I disagreed with the ending, that would be better than enduring a writer who is unwilling to speak her conclusion about the subject she wrote upon...a subject which, I have to say, took away 16 hour of my life that I will never get back. What is storytelling except honestly telling your conclusion on some subject?
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