When it comes to t.v. shows, I am not typically a casual viewer. Sure, while I sometimes like to mindlessly watch “bad” tv shows if I need to just veg, I love to get into a series and seriously connect with the characters. That’s what I love about t.v. compared to movies–you have seasons to get to know the characters, what makes them tick, and their flaws. Unless you are a movie trilogy like the “Before Sunrise” movies, you simply cannot get as attached to the characters on film. They are fleeting presences in your life, compared to a great tv show, which I feel makes a big impact on my life. For example, I remembered starting “Friday Night Lights” my freshman year of college. During a huge snowstorm, I marathoned the first season and cheered for the team’s successes more than I ever did for my own high school football team. When I finished up the series my last year in college, I felt like the show had grown up with me in those pivotal years and had ended right as I was about to start my own unsure adventure. I started crying during the opening scenes in the finale and Kevin had to literally pause it and irritatingly ask me, “can you do this??” Haha clearly he doesn’t get quite as attached to shows as I do.
“Cheers” was another show that I associate with a special time in my life. My family had just moved to Omaha the summer before I started middle school and I knew no one but my own siblings in town. Late at night, I would sit up and watch tv. One night, on Nick at Night, I discovered the world of “Cheers.” Even with the loneliness that came from moving to a new place at such an angsty age, I felt a connection to those people and that place. The characters were so much older than me and had none of the glamour that other teen tv shows had, but it didn’t matter. I identified with the intelligent, stubborn Diane Chambers and, while my classmates had crushes on early 2000s heartthrobs, I was enamored with Sam Malone.
I’m not so much of a t.v. snob that I can’t fall in love with a show that isn’t deemed “Emmy-worthy.” “Supernatural,” now in its 9th season, is another show that I cannot imagine my life without. Kevin and I started watching it together when we first started dating. 4 years, an engagement, 9 seasons and many moves together, “Supernatural” is still with us. Normally, I’m not a big fan of spooky stuff. Yet “Supernatural” has these flawed brothers and anti-heroes at its core, keeping the stories tied to this human element. The mythology is sprawling and shows complexity of good and evil in such an interesting way. Every time you think things have run their course, they change up the overarching stories, bringing you back in. The angels and demons storyline sent against the stereotypical storytelling that you would imagine, adding layers and interest to something that seems so cut and dry.
And today….well, I’m one episode away from finishing “The Wire.” I know I’m going to cry. It’s such an incredible show, a sprawling, ambitious epic tale about the experience of Baltimore people whose lives are rarely shown on tv. As a teacher, I fell in love with the fourth season in particular, where schools were at the forefront and a handful of students showed that inner city students are NOT just bad kids who are thugs who will not amount into anything. No, they have so many talents and many are just looking for a mentor or positive adult figure in their lives. They are angry at times, yes, but rightfully so. These stories told on “The Wire” move me in a way that many popular shows today simply cannot. They are real, they show complexities of government, school systems, and politics. Nothing is black and white in their worlds.
When some people proudly declare they “don’t own a tv,” I don’t see how they can be so close-minded. T.V. itself is not junk; it is what you watch. Sometimes, I need a mindless show that I can just throw on. But other times, I need a “Cheers,” a “the Wire,” a “Supernatural,” a “Friday Night Lights.” And it’s nothing to be ashamed about.