I’m over origin stories. Specifically, I’m over the use of origin stories as a way to create television and movie content. I say this because “Perry Mason,” one of my most beloved TV shows, was just given an origin story series on HBO.
After watching the first episode I was bewildered because the origin story that was concocted bares zero resemblance to the 86 Erle Stanley Gardner books or the television series. The HBO Perry Mason, a mammoth sad sack, isn’t even an attorney and his wardrobe consists primarily of the same filthy undershirt.
I get it. It’s artsy and very film noir but it’s also irritating. I mean why even call it Perry Mason? It feels like an audience bait and switch. I’m pondering that maybe the powers to be at HBO thought that no one who watched the original series that debuted back in 1957 would care. But they were wrong. Perry Mason groupies are still going strong.
I started watching the legal drama when it was in syndication back in the 80s. In college I even took Perry Mason study breaks. #SuperFan.
This is why I was thrilled when my husband told me that HBO was doing a Perry Mason series. That feeling lasted all of five minutes when I began watching the show and saw my beloved Perry in a gross undershirt (Yes, I know I seem to have an obsession with this rag of an undershirt as a costume choice but it was just so wrong, so not Perry Mason, Esquire.)
As we watched it my husband kept on reminding me it was an origin story so perhaps I need to calm down a little bit. But, I couldn’t. When does doing an origin story mean disrespecting a book series and a TV show?
It also led to me thinking about origin stories in general. It seems like most superheroes all have them to explain their powers. But what if we, mere mortals, could concoct our own origin stories. Especially, since after doing some research on origin stories I discovered that they don’t have to make a lick of sense (thus explaining the HBO Perry Mason).
I, for one, would love it because my real-life origin story is pretty pedestrian. Suburban girl grows up to be a suburban woman. Thrilling, right? But if I could take creative liberties my origin story would factor in at least one superpower and a couple of mysterious adventures.
Just riffing here but I’m thinking about portraying my childhood as very Nancy Drew-esque. I’m imagining a young me as a serious mystery solver, with the gift of invisibility that disappeared on my 15th birthday (which can be an enigma I’m still trying to decipher).
Wow, I just thought up all of this and I already like myself better. Who knew that having a stimulating origin story would be quite the self-esteem boost? Hmm, could I even be looking thinner?
Maybe this origin story thing is the way to go. Just imagine how much more fascinating life would be if we all could create epic backstories. Yes, I know they would be falsehoods, but just think about what these stories would quickly reveal about a person. It would be like an immediate Rorschach test.
From my simple disclosure that I would give myself the gift of invisibility one could surmise that I like to keenly observe people. So much information in so little time. It’s like speed dating someone’s psyche.
I just hope the origin story you make up is a lot better than Perry Mason’s and includes a clean undershirt.