Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lies TV Told Me: The Montage

Music swells. The world spins. Suddenly everything makes sense and seems choreographed. Yeah, we just walked into a montage. This is a common device on television, especially well used starting in the mid-2000's. Indeed, it was the decade of the montage when popular music and television met each other and brought a new level of emotion to televised proceedings.

As someone who's television tastes were formed and developed in the mid-2000's, I know the montage well. Some of my favorite TV moments have occurred as music blared over them. Who can forget the original episode of Scrubs when music expressed the huge wealth of emotion J.D. was feeling as he began his internship (Link to the song, not the montage). What about the amazing The OC moment when Seth Cohen ran through the airport to say goodbye to Anna while Nada Surf's cover of "If You Leave" perfectly set the mood ("Confidence Cohen")?

TV has conditioned me to believe major moments in my own life should have a crescendo of perfectly and conveniently edited music to accompany them. Perhaps the first time I told my wife I loved her should have been accompanied by The Magic Numbers' cover of Beyoncé and Jay Z's "Crazy In Love." I truly wish The Head and The Heart's "Lost in my Mind" would play during my most introspective moments (accompanied with shots of me looking emotional).

So much of this feeling goes back to before Scrubs and The OC. It all comes back to professional wrestling (like most things in my life). Before a major pay-per-view or a major match, there is always a video package with major moments and quotes from a feud set to music. Before I saw one montage on a standard TV show, I was already mentally collecting moments of my life into musical montages set to (likely horrible) metal music.

One of the most disappointing features of real life is the lack of musical underscoring. I tend to be pretty satisfied with life in general, but some moments would be vastly improved by music. Why did television, in using music as a device to manipulate emotions convince me that music would always be there for me? Why am I forced to imagine moments from my own life while listening to music instead of having the music in the moment?

Most of these questions can be answered simply by remembering that life is not fair and life is not television. I refuse to accept these answers. I have been lied to and it is an injustice. To illustrate this injustice, I'll get angry and listen to The Decemberists play "The Rake's Song" for inspiration. After all, music is essential to life, just like montages should be.

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