Do You Love “Schmuck Bait?”

CastleCastby Jenny Hansen

Today I’m sharing the spotlight with my pal Geralyn, aka G.V.R. Corcillo. Below, she talks about entertainment, a wicked cool Castle episode, and the power of a great story.

As Ger says, “I Love Me Some Schmuck Bait!”

That’swhat TV writers call that technically impossible hook that will get everyone watching a certain episode.

Back in those Happy Days, it was: Oh, my God! Is Fonzie gonna die?Of course Fonzie isn’t going to die! There would be NO MORE SHOW if that happened. But everyone watches anyway. You see? Schmuck bait.

Gotta admit it – I love schmuck bait. I lap the stuff up just as voraciously as I dig into corned beef from a can with a key or into bologna and mayo sandwiches. I should know better than to eat such heinous stuff, but on certain days when I’m in the right mood, it’s just so good! Seriously, there have been times when that key broke and I went after the can with a carving knife.

I’m the same way with impossibly dramatic complications on television shows I love. I gotta have ’em!

I cried when Olivia Walton took her first steps after being told she would never walk again.

I get teary every time the Brady Bunch realizes Jan is allergic to flea powder, and they won’t have to give away their beloved dog.

And yes, I was ridiculously relieved when Steven Keaton chose not to cheat on Elyse with Judith Light and destroy every family tie in sight.

I saw all those shows when I was growing up, but schmuck bait isn’t just for kids.

Just a few weeks ago, I saw what I think is the best Castle episode yet: “Under Fire.”

Ryan and Esposito are trapped in the secret basement of a building consumed by a deadly inferno just as Ryan’s wife Jenny is on the verge of having their baby. Pure schmuck bait. Ryan and Esposito are NOT going off the show – Castle is not about ax the two tight ends of its supporting cast.

But you know what? It didn’t matter that I knew they would be fine.

The tension in that episode is strung more tightly than Scarlett’s corset as the NYFD realizes that the guys are in there but there is no way to get them out. Then Jenny goes into labor….

Ryan manages to rig up a phone in the fiery basement and call Beckett, who tells the guys they are stuck there and they are going to die. Then Ryan gets on the phone with Jenny.

I get shivers just thinking about it!

You see, if schmuck bait is done right, it can be friggin’ beautiful. After all, Castle makes effective use of schmuck bait all the time. Beckett is not going to die from the gunshot wound to her chest. The kidnappers are not going to kill Alexis. Castle does not actually commit a murder. Nor are he and Martha going to blow up in the bank.

But you know what? Those of us who love Castle aren’t schmucks at all – we just like to tap into all the fear, love, and desperation while getting cozy in a warm, safe environment. It’s an addiction and it’s visceral.

It’s why we read the same dog-eared book over and over or watch the same movie again and again. It’s why romance is so successful as a genre, even though we know how almost every story is going to end.

We want to take the ride that gets us there.

Here’s your chance to discuss your favorite shows, movies, and books to your heart’s content. Continue the discussion at the #SocialIn hashtag on Twitter or SocialInDC on Facebook!

~ Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 18 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm.

© 2014 Jenny Hansen. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

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Need more Geralyn in your life [of course you do!]

Her fantastic book, She Likes It Rough, was voted a ‘Best Indie Book of 2013!’ It was also the winner of the Rebecca’s Reads Choice Awards for Best Indie Book of 2013 and Best Humor Book of 2013.

About GVR Corcillo:

GVR Corcillo“With my Ivy League education, white-trash sensibilities, and pop culture savvy, I write humorous women’s fiction about characters who try not to trip as they valiantly march to their own bongo beat.”

Geralyn resides in North Hollywood with her television comedy writing husband, Ron, and several cute cats. She’s done everything from co-hosting a radio show, to starring in an award-winning short film, to teaching high school in Watts and South Central Los Angeles.

Her first short story, “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants,” in the Marlo Thomas anthology The Right Words at the Right Time: Volume 2 hit the New York Times Best Sellers List. She Likes It Rough is her debut novel. You can find her at her website or on Facebook and Twitter.

Castle photo credit: starbright31 via photopin cc

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