A few weeks ago, a filmmaker friend, E, called with an idea for a TV show. She wondered if I was interested in the concept, and maybe partnering to develop it further.
The idea revolves around a protagonist who works in a medical profession so we figured the show would be a medical drama. Neither of us is very well versed in medical dramas, so we made a list of ones we’d heard of to watch and analyze. I told E I probably wouldn’t have a lot of time before current job ended, but I’d try to squeeze in an episode here or there.
I really like the job I’m working at right now, but it’s my first foray back into production after a long time. The long days of trying to quickly assimilate lots of information, remember a lot of new people, and high social interaction is demanding. I’ve essentially given up on the idea of trying to get into the headspace to write. The hours when I’m normally half-unconsciously noodling and problem-solving a story in my head are filled with noodling and problem solving for the job.
When I am writing, I think about what I’m writing when I’m driving. If I wake up in the night, I think about how a character’s childhood impact her desire to open a dance studio before I go back to sleep.
When I wake in the night during production, I think of rehearsal plans, unsent emails, or a video I need to request.
A couple weeks ago, I came home on a Friday, not unhappy, but a brain-drained. There was no chance I was going to write, clean or socialize. I sat on the couch and thought, I guess I can make it through one episode of a medical drama.
A few years back I’d seen a scene from a show that looked interesting, called The Good Doctor. I found it on Hulu and watched the pilot.
And then I watched another episode.
Maybe I watched a third.
Paul came home from his game night amazed I was still awake.
How is it? He asked.
I said it probably wasn’t a structural model for the show my friend E and I were thinking about. In fact, our show might not even be a medical drama. But I’ll probably keep watching it, I said.
And I did.
I’ve started to think about The Good Doctor on my commute home from work, and when I wake up in the night. When I’m asleep, I have dreams that take place in hospitals, involving disturbing health conditions. Throughout the day, I’m already thinking about watching an episode of THE GOOD DOCTOR that night. When I finish too late, and it’s time to go to bed, I think, just one, it was a long day, this will be a palate cleanser. When I have an early call time, I think just one episode will take my mind off things and make me less anxious. I can’t help but notice my self-talk is the same as a friend of mine describes how she ends up having of wine in the evening that turns into more glasses wine.
In my case, the one episode turns into multiple episodes.
I’m sacrificing sleep and waking up groggy. I don’t think it’s hurting my on-the-job-performance, but I can’t say that it’s just my job that is interfering with writing and seeing friends.
At first I figured things would come to a natural end when the show ended. But it turns out there are six seasons — network seasons, not streaming. About twenty episodes each. When my production job ends next week, I’ll have about a month to do a LOT of writing, and see friends. Seventy more episodes is not going to be conducive to accomplishing these goals. But beyond these things, I can feel that my mind “hooked” like this isn’t healthy. I don’t think it’s healthy that right now, as I’m writing this post, I’m thinking about how once it’s finished, I’m going to let myself watch The Good Doctor.
So I’m plotting how I can quit The Good Doctor.
I’ve looked up the episode guide on Wikipedia and read the episode summaries for the episodes I haven’t watched yet. In the past, when I’ve seen so many the plots lined up next to each other, the obviousness of how mechanical a show is, how the storytellers keep bringing new, elements into the narrative — relatives, amnesiac ex-lovers, explosions and disasters and murders has helped me let go. Downton Abby and Grand Hotel are examples of shows I’ve given up after doing this.
But with The Good Doctor, reading ahead made me want to keep going. Which is great for a show, but not great for me. However, I have seen what I think could be an exit ramp. At the end of Season 3, a main character is going to get killed off and that a couple we’ve been waiting to get together will finally get together. It looks like a good place take a lengthy hiatus.
Wish me luck and strength.
And please pardon my typos, I’ve no doubt done a worse editing job than usual — because I’m impatient to watch the next episode of The Good Doctor🙄.