The season finale of the A&E series Longmire aired this week. cable/satellite seasons are so short and it’s such a long time between seasons. Maybe half a dozen episodes, ending with a spectacular cliff-hanger and then you have to wait ten months to find out what happens, by which time you likely won’t even care anymore. I don’t know about you but by the time the show returns I will have forgotten the Big Cliffhanger, just like I have no idea what happened on the last episode of Haven, a soon to return series on SyFy.
But anyway, I do like Longmire. It has the overall feel of being something different even though it has all the familiar old clichés. In particular, the portrayal of modern day Native Americans is straight out of a 60′s western. But there’s one that I didn’t even notice until the last two episodes: Longmire’s friend and adviser, Native American bartender Henry (Lou Diamond Phillips) does not use contractions. Of course everyone knows that if you’re a TV or movie writer and you want to make sure viewers understand that a character is wise, especially if that character is native, foreign, alien or an android, you write his/her dialog without contractions.
I have to admit that, though I know it’s silly and unrealistic, I do like listening to the no contractions style of speaking. It sounds elegant, and yes, wise. Perhaps I should start speaking without using contractions. That and start using the world “perhaps” a lot. Perhaps then people would realize that I am wise. Or perhaps they would just think I am eccentric or silly. Which would be okay too.
UPDATE: It occurs to me that the most plausible explanation of why Star Trek‘s Lt. Cmdr. Data cannot use contractions is that Dr. Soong made him that way on purpose so he would seem both wise and naive. It would be just like Soong to do something like that and not tell anyone.