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Profit: Final Post

Profit left me feeling the way I did in my last post.  It is a fantastic piece of television that was ahead of its time, so goes the saying.  However, these were my thoughts before I read online about the hypothetical second season.  I avoided the bottom of the Wikipedia page to successfully avoid spoilers.  I had never considered that this show had unresolved plot.  This changes a lot.  So, in this universe where a second season exists, Joanne dies, as Profit sets up, by being blown up in the phone booth.  The real Jim Profit is shown, and Jim Stakowski eventually murders him.  Nora and Pete divorce.  There is a storyline involving getting a senator in a drunk driving accident.  What do I say now?

The quality of enjoyment of this show doesn’t go down.  I still love the acting, the meaning, the plot writing, the character development, and the production (blurring and zooming especially in the later episodes).  But rather, I see things differently.  Things didn’t end up fine and dandy (except for the strawberry sicko) after all.  But I ask: do proposed plots mean anything “canon?”  I want to say know, but Joanne breaks this argument.  Joanne is either in a phone booth that it about to explode, or just plain in a phone booth.  It’s like her character is trapped in a moment just before death.  This challenges my typical perception of fiction.

There are shows where reality breaks down, or it was all a dream, but what about when cancellation cancels a piece of story that can’t actually be ignored?  Yet this is the way Profit would have been: challenging the viewer about who to root for, and throwing us off balance with twists that make a lot of sense.  I wouldn’t have ended season one of Profit any other way: with its (apparently) minor cliffhangers, and its optimistic ending.  Maybe the show can be read both ways.  Either way, it is a lot of fun, and I don’t regret finding out what would have happened.  I felt silly not figuring out that the creators thought there could be a second season.  Since the show was cancelled very fast, I assumed they devised no second season.  I guess David Greenwalt and John McNamara liked the universe they made too much to not come up with more stories.

But returning to this episode, Forgiveness; it is a great final episode.  Its title is great.  People are forgiven, not forgiven, and partly forgiven.  When is it right to forgive, and what is forgiving? is one many moral questions the show asks.  Other questions are, of course, can advice be good if it is meant to manuplate?  Are grudges worth keeping?  Does saving oneself call for any brutal action?  Where do selfishness end and loyalty begin?  Can troubled relationships be saved?  If so, is there any real guideline?  What is the best lifestyle?  How should we treat another people?  Does technology help or hurt us?  Can one be contradictory yet still attain happiness and even virtue?  What does it mean to contradict oneself?  When should one rest from one’s goals?  Are our moral codes or our instincts superior?  How should we feel about pleasure and suffering by ourselves and other?  Profit makes you think deeply without hurting your head, and that is one reason why it is a great show.  The pilot is the exception.  I think the pilot was a mess because the people involved hadn’t refined their work inside this Profit universe, and used their abilities comfortably as in the other seven episodes.

If you’ve avoided my spoilers, or if you’ve not, I will give final reasons to watch Profit. It is an interesting peek at mid-1990s technology- how computers could be used and misused in controversial ways.  The fascination and the anticipation of computer advancements makes me a little nostalgic, but also interested in the past I have lived in.  I wonder- how would Profit manipulate people with instant messaging, blogs, viral videos, or the fact that so many more people have mobile devices?

The show, though filmed in Canada, takes place in an unnamed city.  Most of the scenes take place outside of the way of bustling streets.  The show is about a corporation, but economic theory is not involved.  Anyone in advanced society can relate to this show.  Or perhaps anyone who has to argue with their peers can.   I think its issues are timeless.  If you have enough intelligence to get what’s going on, and you’ve ever seriously been befuddled by morality, you may want to watch Profit, if not listen to the man himself.

There are no important characters that one cannot relate to.  The only one-dimensional characters are the ones that hardly talk.  Whether It’s Gail Koner’s amazement at the powers of her colleagues, Sykes’s justice, Bobbi’s playing roles of people she is not, Pete’s will to clean up his act, Charles’s need for strict but sane authority, Profit’s insight into humanity, Joanne’s pursuit of truth, or Nora’s discontent with loved ones, you can’t fully dislike any of the main characters.  Many one-or-two-episode characters are charming as well, no matter how lawless or flawed.  They seem like stars in a 47-minute movie.  You don’t need to see Batewell or Carol again; they got their own fine episodes.

Although the pilot is wonky, and the second episode is awkward, by episode three I knew I liked the show.  By four, I loved the show.  The show reaches a point where it can’t get too much better, so the style changes in subtle ways.  Apparently this is because there were actually four different writers for separate episodes.  I can’t make any generalizations, but some episodes have advantages in terms of suspense, dialogue, character development, humor, and intelligence.  Perhaps this was another reason I didn’t suspect a second season.  They had presented a whole lot of themes.  In spite of the sometimes uncomfortable pace, the show’s density and speed are some things to revere.  Don’t take my word for any of this; because nobody quite enjoys the same thing the same way.  Also, I’m no TV connoisseur.  Don’t try to live up to my lecturing.  Your average Brooklyn College professor is far better at being smart and educated about real-life matters and creative works.

I have enjoyed blogging immensely.  I like adding pictures, typing a lot of commentary, and having freedom to alter my style as I feel I want to.  I recommend doing something like this to anyone who likes TV.  Whether it’s your personality, a part of your personality, or just mental ability, you can make it evident and exercise it by blogging.  Even if no future students read this, and I don’t get around to fixing what sloppy writing is left on this page, I am proud of myself.  When you’ve accomplished something with real brain work, you can enjoy so-called leisure more as well.  One of the best ways is to take something you find fun and write or talk about it.  I have spent years typing on message boards.  This is like that, but more ennobling.  I think I will advance whatever my jobs are in media thanks to this blog.  Though there are some more posts about other things to come, as this assignment calls for.  Thanks for reading this quickly done last post about my television program!

Taking it easy or analyzing humanity? For this, I admire Jim Profit most.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. lukeccc
    April 8, 2010 at 8:09 PM

    Hey Matthew, as usual great job and great roundup on how you felt about the show!! awesome! 🙂

  2. Professor Dunphy
    May 15, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    I agree with Luke. This is an awesome final post!

    Throughout the blog — you were consistent… interesting… and thought-provoking.

    Good job so far!

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