Welcome back! Like any good television fan, I watched premiere week. I like to call premiere week the preseason. It is my version of testing new players on the scene and whether I’m going to keep their shows on the team.
After watching all the new shows, I noticed a trend. Most of the shows relied on a twist either at the end or in the beginning. Some worked for me (FOX’s Pitch), and some made me want to change the channel (NBC’s This is Us). Regardless, I couldn’t help but wonder, why was the ‘twist’ used so much this year?
When I think of twists in television, I think of Dallas and their infamous shower scene, How I Met Your Mother and the bastardization of the last five seasons, and St. Elsewhere and the snow globe (Look it up kids. It is very polarizing ending). For a while, the twist ending seemed to fall to the waist side. Now, the twist seems to be back.
I feel like twists only work if they are earned. Let me explain.
SPOILERS START HERE
On the show, Pitch, we have the first women pitcher in the MLB. It all started when her father noticed she had a talent and always pushed her to be better. They kept building up the pressure of this type of relationship until at the end when you found out the father had died getting her to that next level. She blamed herself. That guilt led to an escalation of the relationship pressure that affected her pitching game and her sanity. That twist was emotional without being manipulative.
I say manipulative because the This is Us twist was manipulative. It follows a couple about to have three babies, one woman who is trying to lose weight, one man who is sick of playing the pretty boy on television and one man who found his biological father. They all converge at the end, and we see that the woman and the two men are the kids of the couple having the babies. Get it. The couple is set in the 70’s, and the grown kid’s events are set during 2016. I felt that twist was manipulative and doesn’t add much to the narrative. What? Are we jumping between decades every episode? How far can the show take this? Will the twist make the writing weaker in the end? Apparently, I hated that twist, and I won’t be watching that show. It didn’t feel earned.
I think twists were so prevalent in television this season because as an audience we have seen it all. We are much more savvy about narrative tropes. Writers and networks need to surprise us. Hence, the twists. Sometimes that can work out and sometimes it can feel fake and ruin a show.
What do you think? Are you hear for the twist ending or do you find them a cheap narrative ploy? Comment down below with your opinion on the subject!
Changing gears, tomorrow, I will be talking about the Hallmark show, Chesapeake Shores. Until then, enjoy your randomly organized pop culture day.