I enjoy television dramas. I really do. But I have a very active imagination. I also passively project my “fantasy world” into television dramas so much so that I tend to lust about certain characters.
It is deeply embarrassing for me to admit that I feel this attraction to an illusion in the make-believe world of Hollywood.
But I find myself often drawn to depressed women in these media. I am depressed myself and fantasize that I can help these damsels in distress when I am drawn into the intimacy of their private life which is publicly dramatized or revealed.
I used to think that I was smart enough to protect my soul from such worldly constructs as the sexualized or violent character-portrayals in television. This was a result of my pride.
I was not able to manage my desire to live a virtuous life when I let myself be immersed in such blatant content on television or in movies.
I began to experience significant frustration and guilt the longer I put off doing something about this evil. I was easily drawn into a web of sin the longer I put off controlling my lustful imagination.
At first, I decided that I could watch such portrayals until they became explicit, and then I would look away from the television screen. I found I could anticipate the development of sexual or violent depictions and then stop watching well before I found it moving toward the explicitly sexual or excessively violent. On certain occasions, I would even leave the room where the television was.
That did not solve my propensity for entering into the fantasy of a relationship with the characters involved in the medium.
I had to stop watching certain dramatic series altogether, not just those with a sexual content. I had to stop watching those shows with a violent bent, like The Sopranos and Dexter.
The show that caused me the most recent consternation, though, was The Good Wife. The show ran from 2009 to 2016. My wife and I binge-watched roughly half of the episodes in the last several months. The other half are still available through the “streaming” service available on our cable network.
The show was based on the wife of a very-visible politician who was accused of political corruption. He had also been caught in sexual misdeeds with a call-girl. The “good wife” stood by her husband while he was imprisoned, and for a few years afterwards. But their intimacies were few. It appeared to me that she was traumatized, wounded and depressed. Then she herself entered into a short-lived affair which she broke off when it turned “complicated”.
Besides the very sympathetic and sensitive portrayal of her complex emotions and character that led her to transgress (perhaps seeking revenge on her husband), she did not view the affair as wrong or sinful. In fact, she claimed no regret and that she was an atheist when she was questioned about her faith as her husband later resurrected his career.
I found myself enchanted by this “good” wife. I was moved by her rejection of her own affair. She renewed intimacy with her husband, albeit on a limited basis, and on her own terms. I admired this. I thought about her frequently.
Then it hit me. I had been thinking of her too much. I decided that I needed to stop “seeing” her. I was dangerously close to what Jesus had warned:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5: 27-28
My wife and I are looking for a new show to watch. We tried The Good Doctor about an autistic surgeon with savant syndrome. It was heartwarming but there were a number of scenes of pre-marital sex.
My wife is not affected in the same way that I am by these shows.
Any suggestions for a good series?
Until then, one of the things I am giving up for Lent is television dramas.