Killing Your Characters Is Not Good Drama But A Lazy Cop-Out
Latest case in point: Allison Argent. But let’s not kid ourselves: every fan has a list longer than they wished they had, of characters they loved and lost.
But, but, Crystal wanted out! It wasn’t Jeff’s idea, he had to wrote her off the show.
Wrote her off, yes. Kill her off, no. It would just need a little more thought, idek, maybe gathering your team of writers and telling them, “give me ten ways we can send Allison off in a way she deserves”. Sure, it would be more difficult. Sure, you’d have to come up with a plausible reason, because as much as we joke about travelling through South America, it’s not a plausible reason for Allison Argent to leave Beacon Hills. You’d have to find a quest for her, the reason for abandoning her friends and loved ones, reason the viewers could believe in. You’d have to think. You’d have to consider the fallout, the reactions, the consequences. You’d have to decide if Allison leaving would have to mean Chris leaving.
You would have to make room for loss not connected to death, for anger of being left behind, for sadness of being forced to leave your home. You would have to sacrifice the precious air time for her goodbyes. The goodbyes she deserved to have.
(It is possible to do, Teen Wolf creators, writing a character off without killing them. You might have heard of a little show called NCIS, eleven seasons and counting, where the writers did just that a few months ago.)
But, but, the death of significant character is GOOD DRAMA!
You might have made some people cry, that’s true. That doesn’t make what happened good drama, or good storytelling (I’m not even touching the fact that you were fucking “teasing” about major character dying for months now). It’s a shock and awe move – and both those factors were seriously lacking, let me tell you. When do you, and other tv show creators, realize that it’s not countless deaths that viewers want. That some of us are tired of the easy cop-out, another death of a character we care about. If you need to add pain to other characters’ lives, get creative. Or, shocking idea, let them deal with the shit you’ve already put them through. Stocking pain on pain, on another pain, is not good drama. It’s making your characters into a broken people you won’t know how to handle.
I don’t want another dead body. I want a survivor. I want a person who deals with the shit the life has given them and survives. Sure, it’s not always easy and sometimes life sucks, but they go on and sometimes they’re even happy. Sometimes they even believe they will be happy one day. They do some right things and fuck up a few others. They care for their friends and their loved ones. They start new relationships. They took on too much responsibility, they carry too much guilt, they have problems getting out of bed in the morning some days. They live.
And if you weren’t lazy, Allison Argent would live, too.