Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Annie, Auggie, and Little Nell

 In 1841, new yorkers stormed the wharfs of the city, desperate for information.  and the cry was heard 'round the world:  'Is Little Nell Alive?'  

Little Nell, for you of the 21st century who may not know, was the child heroine of charles  dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop, and the sailors who were carrying the newspaper with the last installment from london to new york called back that  nell had succumbed to whatever ailment she had, leaving brits and americans alike in tears [and providing material for the magnificently cynical oscar wilde].

i think of this now because a week from today, a year after the show's season premier last summer, thousands of us will crowd the metaphorical wharfs of tv land, crying with equal passion, 'Are Annie and Auggie still  together?' Annie and Auggie are the hero and second tier star of USA TV's Covert Affairs,' the summer spy show full of gorgeous people who work for the virtuous CIA [you think the CIA isnt virtuous? you think they hire homely spies?].  We, like little nell's adorers way back when, are probably doomed to disappointment.  but that doesn't stop us.  I know because i'm on a fan page for the show.  the nonexistence of auggie and annie, like that of little nell, is irrelevant.  they must be together, or something vital will go out of our lives.

this didn't happen in the early days of western literature.  everyone went to the plays knowing the end: no one cried in desperation, "did they get that damned horse in there?'  but somewhere along the lines of fiction's history, someone came up with the idea of telling stories whose endings no one knew, and anindustry flourished.  the glamour of fictional characters was interwoven with the uncertainty of real life, however artistic or banal the tale might be.   i have no doubt that tonight, thousands of people will move reluctantly from their computers to their tv's to find out if Doc Hank has found love or peace in the past year, of if his charming and manipulative brother has saved his marriage.  and will their beautiful associate find love with the homely, personality challenged doc who took in her and  her unborn child?  I'm fascinated by the ways we all identify with nonexistent people while a planet full of real people remain to us boring and abstract.

i had a lot to say about this, and i'm sure it's profound.  or maybe it isn't. maybe i just wanted to compare my passion for annie and auggie with that of dido for aeneus or hamlet for himself.  in any case, i don't have enough time, because it's almost 9 o'clock, and while they're not annie and auggie, i still want to know what's gone on with doc hank and the crowd while they've been gone all year....and after that comes the season start of the woes of the psychotic psychologist in "Perception." i have always enjoyed his chats with joan of arc....

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