Back in the 1960s, Jean Shepherd’s humor was often about real life taking on the attributes of showbiz, that is, the substitution and acceptance of appearance for substance. This has become so common that now showbiz is also confused with real life. Either way, the distinction has blurred. There is even a psychological disorder called the “Truman Complex” where people think their entire life is being secretly broadcast and everyone else is a paid actor. (“Truman” refers to the Jim Carrey movie.)
A recent article in the Entertainment Section of our newspaper said that the creator of the “Sopranos” still has not divulged what happened at the end, despite pleading by his fans.
Do people actually think Tony is real? Nothing happened to him. No facts are being withheld. Believe whatever you want. Tony was shot, Tony joined the FBI, Tony became a priest, Tony faded away when he realized he never existed. It is fiction.
Many years ago, I would often go home for lunch (I lived only a mile from work.) and watch The Young and the Restless while I ate. The women clerks in our office also somehow watched it and were avid fans. One day, we were discussing the latest activities of the evil husband-stealer, Lori, who was after poor old Mrs. Chandler’s spouse. One said, “Boy, if I saw that Lori on the street, I’d . . . I’d . . . I’d punch her!”
“Wait, wait,” I replied. “She’s only an actress playing a part. She’s not really evil.”
“Sure she is,” said the fan. “Nobody could act that good.”
I guess it was a complement.