Today is Frivolous Friday, so brace yourselves. This isn’t going anywhere important. Today, we’re going to take a little excursion into a land I call Projection TV, where the Good Guys meet the Bad Guys on terms so blatant they could only come from the collective unconscious. Yes, it is time for Spy Therapy, courtesy of Matt Nix and all the artists who created “Burn Notice.”
It may not have occurred to you that a spy show where nothing real ever happens could be a window to the psyche, but when you can’t afford a Jungian therapist, you make-do with what you have. Excuse hours of fluffy distraction as an investment in personal growth? Tell me more, you say…
On the sunny beaches of Life (aka Miami), the character Michael Westen plays out the prodigal story. Searching for a way back to the identity he built as a spy, his Path is beset by dark, internal conflicts between the good he means to do, and the means he must employ to get there. A flawed, irrational Dream Team (pun intended) reflects choices both good and bad he has made in the past. The Casanova Father figure (Sam Axe), the uncompromising and deliberately self-deluding Mother figure (Madeline), plus an Anima (Fiona) who is both nakedly aggressive and easily wounded, comprise an inner circle as flawed and self-centered as Mount Olympus. No wonder Michael feels like family.
“Burn Notice” appeared in my life at a time when I had to find my way through the minefield of becoming a family again with my Mother. Michael’s frustration with his Mom’s revisionist history, handled with touching humor by Matt Nix’s eye for both sides of the coin, echoed my own coping skills. The first time he rolled his eye at her transparent manipulation, we became brothers in arms. My spy therapy started there.
When Dad died last fall, music was the only refuge that filled the lonesomeness. All other media distractions fell silently away, except “Burn Notice.” Here, I found, I had as good a mirror as any to read the projected conflicts and aspirations that loss had unburied. What began as a summer fling, a temporary landing spot in hard times, has become a rewarding dialogue with figures who have, apparently, been in my unconscious all along.
Woops…as usual, I seem to have wandered into the deep end. It’s Friday, friend, there’s no sharks at this beach! You can learn as much about yourself by having fun as by catching bad guys in archetypal gene pool, right? Why don’t you order yourself a Minty Mojito, on Sam Axe’s tab? Relax, unwind, and let the first lesson of spy therapy sink in: There Is No Way to Hide a Gun in a Bathing Suit.