Complicate the Narrative
Hell is Kind
What We Owe to Each Other
Parks and Recreation is one of my favorite TV shows of all time. Parks and Recreation takes some of our country's least considered people--small-town parks and recreation department employees--and gives us reasons to care about them. Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec is a lot like William Thatcher from A Knight's Tale--she has dreams much bigger than she "should", and she would never reach them on her own, but the people around her choose to care about her, and some pretty amazing things happen for her as a result. And she, in turn, cares about each of them, and returns the favors often.
The Good Place did the absolutely impossible and turned discussion of ethics into four of the greatest seasons of television ever produced. One common theme of the show is the question, "What do we owe to each other?" It's a question that reflects this broader idea of ethics about how morality can be based on the simple fact that we are all equally human, and as such, we probably owe each other some basic decencies. The whole show is an examination of what it means to be a "good person," and it's full of specific examples of individuals making the choice to care about each other even when they don't have to or it would be easier not to.
Call it cheesy, call it simple, call it what you will, but these are the pieces of media that have brought the most joy to my life. My own moments of giving and receiving kindness in vulnerable moments are some of the most precious memories I have. And now, thanks to years of meticulous, dedicated, beautiful work by the wonderful humans that make up Supergiant Games, I add Hades to this personal, precious list. This is the art that inspires me to be the kind of person I want to be. Because of that, I will always be grateful for these works.
I sincerely hope that another game comes along soon that I enjoy and appreciate as much as Hades, but I'm not counting on it. Hades is my game of the year for 2020, but it'll be more than that for years and years to come.