Scott's previous post about expectations in Television and the subverting of same came just before I read an interview with the recently deceased Gilbert Sorrentino (let me heartily say "READ HIS BOOKS!") by Andrew Palmer:
Sorrentino (replying to a question about reviews/reviewers): As far as I’m concerned, reviewers’ propensities are almost always “warped.” This is because of the fact that the vast bulk of them come to the books under review knowing just what a novel or poem or play or essay should be! If the work under review does not fit this model, good night, nurse! Of course, they also willfully misread books, which may be what you’re getting at. Reviewers adore books in which somebody or everybody or the flawed hero or the whore with the heart, etc., is redeemed! And redemption comes in many forms, even patented UN-happy endings (the hero is rueful, the hero sees his best friend get eaten by a crocodile but saves his helpless baby from Satan, etc.). This is Hollywoodland transcribed as literature (that is, “literature”). For a perfect example of how it works, watch the Swedish Insomnia, then watch the one with Al Pacino. The former is bleak and unforgiving and honest; the latter is mush—Al dies, but what a death! What a guy! Why, the world is O.K. after all, serial killers be damned.
Television similarly does not go the way one might expect a novel to, and there is no redemption in the end.