Psychgeographical Exile TV Without Trees by Rida Akhtar Ghumman

With the end of the bittersweet 2020, exploring the idea of growth, evolution, moving on, from an environmental and ecological perspective in TV and the lives it shows, can bring forward a diverse connotation. Have we renounced trees? Greenery? Flowers? Has concrete taken over our psychogeography and thus forsooth exists an existential burden of walls, dead wood and steel? How far is the myth of corporations, modernity and skyscrapers taking us from our endemic roots? Just like Miller’s Willy Loman missing the sun, are we all moving forward to a directionless world where trees and spiritual-environmental relationships will become a wait for a Godot?

HBO’s Emmy nominee and winner for many categories, Succession, portrays an agglomerated circus of family drama, dark humor and life for media conglomerates. Life for the Roy family is a hodgepodge of concrete, glass and inevitable oblivion. However, the show is classified as Dark Humor. There are no trees in Succession. Just like there are almost no trees in the recently ended famed law conglomerate drama: Suits. Depiction of greenery in TV is usually an idea of growth or humbleness, but depiction of the corporate sector on TV is almost always a drama of gibberish jargon, desks and names of walls and no trees. This article is not, in any way detesting corporate TV in fact, Suits and Succession both are remarkable works of intricate plotting, dynamic characters and interesting drapery.

With COVID-19 resulting into a global pandemic, isolation and quarantine brought to TV a large number of viewers. However, in a post- COVID world, having undergone a psychogeographical exile in concrete buildings with limited greens around, the global populace will perhaps prefer knowing a greener, humbler world. The pandemic has connected us all with various psychogeographical pursuits, limited gardening, home cooking, baking etc. these minimal ideas of micro growth and a connection with this kind of growth denotes a spectrum where people deserve to avail themselves of portals that give way to spiritual evolution. The juxtaposition of spirituality and psychology in any geography denotes a harmony, a harmony that TV should also depict especially for entertainment. But do corporations inherently evolve on ideas of harmony or spirituality at all?

Where many office units moved to virtual spaces, the logic of cabins in offices became unsafe. Can we just move back to those plastic boxes post pandemic? Harvey in Suits keeps up a struggle to have the biggest office to watch over the New York spectacle. Kendal Roy tries almost the same in Succession. However, these bosses get larger screen time as protagonists and larger office spaces too, but there are no plants, no trees, no bonsai as aesthetics viewable in these rich pavilions where protagonists make billions yearly and talk only about names, money, and civilization. Can civilization as a cultural question exist without trees? Trees are inherent metaphors of growth, bloom and death; life as such can be denoted through trees as concrete or abstract nouns. Giving trees screen time is not a question of identity but of modernity and evolution. Greenery denotes a connection that people deserve, whatsoever, with their Indigenous roots – being grounded and rooted in oneself, the core idea of connecting, sharing and living together – to keep budding in societies. However, with the idea of the corporation lies oblivion, imaginative figures and a lot of heat striking glass walls but so far, no trees.

Rida Akhtar Ghumman is a post-grad student of English Literature based in Pakistan. Typically interested in pop culture reviews, books of all kinds and literary revolutions. She can be reached on Twitter and Instagram at @RidaAkhtar_

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