Something of a Television Show Review this week because I have nothing else to talk about and the season premiere of The Flash did something they do more else less everything and it really bugged me this time (they did two things, but one involves the main story plot so I’m not going to address it)
The B plot of the premier revolves around Alegra (I may get he the name wrong) being promoted to the position of head editor for the bigger and better Citizen media, who, in the last six months went from a 3 people online blog to a company employing reporters used to interviewing politicians. As can be imagined, they aren’t taking her seriously and she goes back to her boss to say that, as she’s told her initially, she wasn’t the right person for the job. She gets a pep talk in return about how she’s of the people, and is the voice the paper needs. So she goes back to her job, give a speech about how the company is supposed to be about the citizens and they have to write their pieces with that in mind. The writers grumble, walk away and the show goes on to the A plot and at the end, we come back to Alegra to find out her speech got every writer in the company to go along with her vision.
This is what I call the ‘perfect resolution’. The underdog wins because they are the underdog and for no other reason.
There is absolutely no way Alegra should have gotten all the writers to go along with her. They are seasoned writers, have worked for big papers (which raises the question of what they're doing at the citizen, a media company that had 3 employees six months ago.) and she’s a nobody, best friend of the boss, writer. The fact she was promoted is favoritism. The fact not one writer quit of over it is plot convenience, and that they all write exactly the kind of piece she demanded of them in the end, unrealistic. It’s implied in their attitude and dialogue that they could go work for any paper, so why are they taking this kind of denigrating treatment? Oh, they are still grumbling about what Alegra did, but that is just “the price of being management”.
All I ask of a story is that it be plausible. I’m already accepting that the Flash can move someone around at super-speed and not ripe their head off in the process, or that they lose all momentum he imparted them in the process the instant he let’s go of them. That’s fine, it’s superpower stuff.
Alegra’s plotline is real-life stuff, and that also has to be plausible. Higher than thou successful people don’t buckle under the ‘inspiring’ speech of a rookie nobody. At least not all of them. If we’d found out one of them had quit, and that, you know what, the company didn’t need that kind of person anyway. I would have been more than satisfied that plausibility had been met. Maybe it could have been made clear that those writers, as much as they think of themselves, didn’t really have anywhere else to go, so they could do what Alegra told them or leave to whatever else they could find out there. That too would have met the requirement of plausibility.
When you write a story, keep in mind how far you can stretch plausibility. Superhero logic gives you a lot of leeways, but the closer you are to the real world, the less and less you get, so you need to give more explanation if you want to nudge it beyond what a reader might consider plausible. It doesn’t usually take a lot to make something plausible, I gave two ways the writers of The Flash could have resolved it, neither of which change the show at all. But it has to be done.
the closer to "real life" you get, the less plausible perfect endings become. Asking the reader to just “trust you” that it happened is poor writing.
And I firmly believe we can all do better. The writers of The Flash certainly should have been able to.
As usual, if you have questions, please, ask them, they give me something to talk about. If you don’t feel comfortable asking them here, you can email them to me at: S.Stpierre@thetigerwrites.com