Strikers outside Paramount
Picket signs. Giant cups of coffee. Sore feet. Emotionally charged people who are willing to put everyone on the line for what they believe in. Those are the makings of any good strike. Unfortunately, the current strike of the Writer’s Guild has one other ingredient that most strikes don’t have…heartbroken fans. It might not be considered normal to be psychically and emotionally affected by the writer’s strike, but I can attest to the fact that it is possible. Since learning of what the strike means for my favorite television shows, I have been conflicted with emotions of pride, grief, and anger. Pride, because I understand what it feels like to know you deserve something and be charged up enough to be willing to do anything to get it. Grief, because my life revolves around television, as sad as that may be, and the idea that no new episodes will be made hurts me to the core of my being. Anger, because without fans like you and me, the writers and actors would have no jobs or salaries to argue over. It actually feels like a betrayal of my trust, and I don’t know how to reconcile that. Part of me wants to support the writers and the other part wants to scream at them to get back to work.
Of course, we mustn’t forget the part the studio heads are playing in this. I won’t pretend to understand the semantics of what is involved in giving a raise to thousands of people, but I’m sure that part of the reason the strike came about was because the studios were too bull-headed to show weakness and agree to the writers’ demands. And, there is the anger in me, boiling up, causing me to want to hit all the studio executives over the heads with mallets, like a game of Whack-A-Mole. Whack-A-CEO.
Due to the stubbornness of both sides, we can’t deny that this strike has the potential to last for months and devastate the television industry like never before. New shows, struggling to survive, may slowly disappear as fickle fans move on to something else. Widely popular shows may lose a chunk of their fan-base as disgusted viewers look elsewhere for their entertainment. My favorite show, The Office, which has shut down production, will no longer be showing new episodes after November 15th. As someone who feels devotion to the characters on that show, it feels like they have all run off to some remote tropical island and they don’t care enough to tell me when they’ll be back, if ever. It hurts more than I can explain, and makes me angry and bitter all at the same time. Television is a large part of my life; not only am I a devoted viewer, but I work in television as well. I believe its one of the most powerful mediums in the world and I can't imagine what this strike could mean for the future.
It hurts too much to spend anymore time dwelling on this painful subject. My only course of action is to hope that this strike ends soon. In the meantime, maybe I’ll read some books or watch some movies I’ve been meaning to see but never had the time. Maybe I’ll even develop a new hobby. I’ve always wanted to knit. And I’ve been working on this screenplay for a while, that could use some proofreading. And...there comes the overwhelming sadness, as I realize I’ve just mentioned hobbies that Phyllis and Michael have.
Interestingly enough, just by writing this article, I have gone against everything those people in the picket lines are standing for. The irony is not lost on me.
Strikers outside Paramount