Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of The Simpsons. I know that alot of adult find them to be a bad influence of children, but let’s face it: just because it’s a cartoon does not mean that it’s a show for children. In fact, the only reason that it’s a cartoon is that it allows the writers to mock the absurdities of real life without playing by its rules (well, that, and voice actors can be paid far less than regular actors, and most animation is outsourced overseas). Why do I like it so much? Because I’m a fan of pop culture. I just love the absurdity of it all, and I like trivia. Nothing makes me feel prouder than knowing who wrote that 80’s song that girl I like really loves (usually John Mellencamp’s Jack and Diane). Now it doesn’t impress her, but it’s still a nice feeling. Now why does this matter? Because the Simpsons writers also love pop culture, television in particular, and love it so much that they feel obligated to needle it, as one an old friend.
One of the conventions they’ve mocked in the past is the cliffhanger. A little background is due here. The cliffhanger is generally a two-part episode, with the first episode creating an extreme sense of tension by ending with an unresolved but highly dramatic storyline. Perhaps the greatest example of this is “Who Shot JR?” from Dallas. The show was nearly dead before that storyline, but with that one phrase become a national phenomenom and stayed on the air for 11 more years. Countless shows count on, usually rolling out two parters during May sweeps, a period when advertising rates are set. Therefore, networks roll out big events in order to inflate their ratings and thus set higher ad rates. As writing has evolved, cliffhangers have become a relatively normal occurance. In fact, one could argue that every episode of 24 ends with a cliffhanger; essentially, that’s the point of the series. Also, as the concept of a series “mythology” has evolved and continuity has become more important to writers, more series have embraced the cliffhanger, if only in a more mild form. Examples include Lost, The West Wing (now cancelled), and The X-Files. Even Seinfeld, a sitcom, had a relatively healthy number of cliffhanger episodes, and callbacks to previous events and characters were pretty common. In fact, one season had one storyline of Jerry’s series being picked-up.
Now what is the point of this, either than giving me the self-satisfaction of giving an impromptu lecture on a topic I love but could never possibly make a living pursuing and taking up space? Well you see, there’s a little bit of poetic justice here. And as I told you all last time, today was intended to be my last chemo treatment. Everything seemed to be going quite well. Dennis was called into to get my IV in, and he go it on the first go, blood return and all. They did the saline flush with no problem, and my dexamethasone went in with no problems. However, when they started administring the adriamycin, they got to about the 1/3rd point when suddenly the injection spot started burning. Bad. REALLY BAD. They nearly yanked the IV out, because the fact of the matter is that adrimycin can cause serious tissue damage. So they switched to the other arm , but the first stick produced no return. So they finally got a gone one, but when they got to the saline….OUCH! So they went for a consult, and my LNP decided that they couldn’t treat me.
That’s right. Ladies and gentlemen, I a massive television buff, have my very own cliffhanger. The LNP told me that we’re looking at two options: 1) We may go in for a sooner scan, and I may not have to the last treatment, due to my remission rate or 2) we may have to put in a port for two more rounds. Two very different choices. You can guess what I’m counting on.
So stay tuned for our thrilling conclusion. This is one for the record books.