Is nothing sacred anymore? This week, I read a report about that legendary sitcom, F.R.I.E.N.D.S, being immortalised as what to some is the highest form of artistic expression: the porn movie. It will soon join the porn hall of fame along with other wicked parodies.
What is it about a popular show that holds us in thrall, making us reluctant to let go, even welcoming it back in a new avatar? Why did sitcom-addicted women of the world go wild over Sex and the City on celluloid; and why are the guys eagerly awaiting the forthcoming Star Trek movie?
I would like to link this to something I call ‘penultimate paranoia’ (P2). This is actually the fear that you feel when you are watching the tail-end of your favourite TV series. It’s the fear of the unknown, of not knowing what would eventually fill that particular weekly spot once the show actually ends. It’s the fear of never finding one as good enough to replace it.
Being penultimate in nature, this particular fear hits you just an episode or two before the curtains come down. In extreme cases, it coincides with season finales as well, and might manifest itself, unnaturally, while watching rented re-runs. What’s worse, it’s not confined to the telly alone. Ask any Pottermaniac. As someone who has not read a single Harry Potter (Yes, I’m a shameless philistine), but who waits anxiously for the movies, I'm already entering the paranoid zone. A couple more and the supply will end. Yet, I guess it’s best to say goodbye than say hello to it in an adult video store!
P2 is what I felt when that amnesiac agent, Jason Bourne, swam away in the very last scene of the very last movie (or so they say) of the Bourne trilogy. Well, I can’t help but feel that James Bond diehards have an unfair advantage here, for he continues to be re-incarnated in different shapes and sizes of sex appeal, while retaining the oh-so-groovy Brit accent.
In fact, P2 seems to be spreading, for it’s also the strangely psychotic expression worn by would-be quitters while puffing on what they swear (yet again) is their last cigarette. So, why fear the swine flu, when the ashtray next to the TV couch awaits with yet another season finale? Soon it will be time to break another Bond.