It’s time for Friday Fancies and I’ve been thinking about excitement vs. believability. Every work of fiction demands at least some degree of willing suspension of disbelief. The more fantastical the story, the more suspension required. There is a line, however, and if the creator of the plot crosses it, he or she could shatter that bubble the audience has been happily maintaining.
Where is that line? I’m sure it varies depending on the genre and story, and of course everyone has their own personal preferences. The example I’m going to use is from the series premiere of Terra Nova, a television show about humans traveling from a dying future earth to prehistoric times in order to start over. There are quite a few things the audience is going to have to take the story creators’ word on. Hey, these people are living with dinosaurs; how awesome is that?
Warning, I’m going to talk in detail about one of the last scenes in the episode, though I won’t be giving any plot arcs away.
In this episode, one of the things that happens is a group of teenagers sneak outside the perimeter to have some fun. They get stranded and attacked by slashers–mean dinosaurs with tails that could slice you in half. They manage to take cover in a rover, but the power cell is dead and they still can’t escape. One of the girls has a panic attack and decides to make a run for it, despite her friends trying to hold her back. And she runs right into a couple slashers. *Cue commercial*
Think the girl dies? Commercial ends and the rescue convoy finds her staggering through the jungle bleeding to death. That’s where they lose me. Sure, a girl getting ripped up by dinosaurs is exciting. It gets the heart pumping, the pulse racing. You’re wondering whether she’s going to make it or not. Here’s the thing–she shouldn’t have. No predator is ever going to let their wounded prey simply limp away into the night. In Jurassic Park, the characters were often saved by a bigger and badder predator coming in and eating the attacking dinosaur, but that’s not what happened here.
I’m not saying I wanted the girl to die. I probably wouldn’t want to watch the show if that were the case. But having her run off into the night to get slashed up a bit for excitement’s sake and then easily escape death by digestion feels like it crosses that line of believability. At least for me.
So I pose the question to you guys: Where do you draw the line? What kinds of things pull you out of the story? What kinds of things are you willing to forgive? If you watched the episode, did this bother you, or did you gloss over it, engrossed in the excitement? I love hearing from you!
I’ve also got a mash-up of some very thoughtful posts for you.
“Have I mentioned I can be a total douchebag?” by Natalie Hartford–Natalie talks about how competitive attitudes can ruin good ole fun.
“Please Don’t Close Your Eyes, Because I Can’t See Your Soul” by Diana Murdock–The eyes are the window to the soul that cannot lie, so what does that mean for interaction on social media?
“Why Busy People Need Poetry” by Alina Sayre–Btw, Alina’s one of my besties and she’s new to the blogosphere, so hop on over and wish her a warm welcome. :-)
“Are You Hungry Enough?” by Marcia Richards–Marcia talks about what happens to dreams put on the shelf.
“Wander Off Trail” by Kate MacNicol–You never know what you might find. Kate found alien babies in the woods.
“Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Studying the Behaviors of the Criminally Inclined” by Tiffany A. White–Tiffany reviews one of my favorite TV shows: Criminal Minds. If you don’t already watch it, she’ll tell you all the reasons why you should.