Not Knowing What You Do Not Know

My daughter JJ has severe problems with the unknown. Like how she can survive if we send her to bed with 7 minutes left of an episode of whatever random show she is watching.

Being nine years old, she has no concept of sitcoms. She does not know that the zany antics of her favorite characters never change. That is the ‘situation part of a situation comedy.

The characters never actually learn and rarely grow as people. Apart from an occasional ‘very special episode to mark that the show is aware of the world outside the studio setting and wants to address a pressing matter in a way that works for them, their shows are cookie-cutter creation of similar shtick each week.

The exceptions where real change come from actually change they are forced to address in characters. It is usually due to aging (sometimes purposely) of younger characters out of childhood, advanced aging and real deaths of older characters, and the character recast or write-offs (even if these are often downplayed, without the characters played by the legacy actor, the scenes and reactions change for all left behind).

What she really does not know is that she will survive the night if forced to watch the remaining 7 minutes the next day. Because she is 9, and stick thinks if she covers her eyes and does not see anyone, she is invisible.

This may be harder to teach than the basic setup of a standard 22-minute situation comedy for television.

Have any tips? Email jclevelandpayne@gmail.com and let me know.

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