Do you ever think about the things you don’t care about anymore?
This band I was obsessed with for most of my late teens and early 20s is releasing a new album in the next few months, have dropped new tracks and inter-personal tragedies, and while I certainly don’t wish them ill, I’m also too busy and too reluctant to get involved again. I haven’t heard a single single or watched any of the videos, and I only know about the sad things because people have linked me to posts about them. I don’t know that I would say I have an addictive personality, but when I do get invested, I go hard, and I’ve found that I’m just not at a place where I can care that way anymore.
Man, I’m old.
For example: yesterday my friend Pants tweeted out this Yahoo article about the 10 songs that can’t be used on TV again, and there are some old standards, of course — that Snow Patrol song was everywhere in the early 2000s, along with Rilo Kiley’s “Portions for Foxes” and Jeff Buckley’s (gorgeously, gloriously, hauntingly beautiful but entirely too overplayed) version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” — but the clip that gutted me the most was that of the Six Feet Under series finale and the Sia track, “Breathe Me”, that overlaid the final moments of that show.
I came to Six Feet late, but it hit me at exactly the right time. I was a morbid teenager, and a show about a family that owned a funeral home sounded right up my alley. I think I watched the first four seasons in less than 5 days, and a few months later when this finale aired, I was completely heartbroken.
What a relief, I thought, that we get to see the future lives of these people, even if they are sad.
I had never seen a time jump like this explain away the future details of its protagonists’ lives. A few years later, JK Rowling would attempt to do something similar in the epilogue of “The Deathly Hallows”, and although I doubt she had Six Feet Under in mind, I can’t help but catalogue the similarities. I read the finale of HP while on a water taxi heading into Venice during a college backpacking trip with my sister. I was older than Harry at that point, even though we’d been the same age when I’d started reading the novels, and I felt like I’d outgrown him. I was bored, and by the time I finished, even moreso.
This isn’t the case for every long-term fan, I’d imagine, and I agree that some things definitely get better with age (Castle, for one. Law & Order. Most procedurals find their footing in the second or third seasons and only improve from there, I’ve found), but I’ve noticed that the longer breaks there are between creative bursts, the less I seem to care.
Watching the clip from the Six Feet finale again, I was moved, because I’d loved those characters. Keith’s death still hits me the hardest, and my heart stutters every time when Ruth sees Nate as she lays dying. It doesn’t hold the same power it did once, though, and that was startling for me to realize as I was drying my tears and trying not to let my office-mates hear me snuffling. It makes me wonder about media, and power, and what it is about humans that makes them care less as life goes on.
I’m not sure. I just know that I’ve been watching It’s A Wonderful Life with my family on Christmas Eve every year since I before I can remember, and that makes me sob like an idiot every time. I wonder if it’s just habit at this point or if there’s anything to be done about it, except for maybe to stop watching that movie.
What do you cry over? What don’t you cry over? Are there things that moved you in the past that no longer carry the same emotional trigger? Come talk to me about feelings! Or, at least feelings scripted and acted by other people.