I know it seems silly, but I get really jealous when I read people’s posts and tweets about their excitement for a television show. Even in real life, day after day, I hear the enthusiasm in people’s voices as they talk about the latest episode of “Lost” or “American Idol.” I don’t have that. I want it, but I don’t know if I’m capable of having that sort of relationship with a television show anymore.
I used to be the kind of girl that watched all sorts of shows. In high school, I had a daily line up of TV that I would “just die” if I missed. Daily, I would leave giant notes on the kitchen table, reminding my father to push record on the VCR at precisely 7:00pm so that I would get to watch “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Party of 5,” (I would have done ANYTHING to be a Salinger) “Friends,” or “Felicity.” I would rush home from dance class to catch up on “Dawson’s Creek” and “Louis and Clark Superman.” Every Tuesday night I was glued to the TV to catch the latest episode of “Buffy.” I even managed to schedule my classes so that I could be home to watch the daily disaster of a soap that was “Passions.”
It was only recently that I realized that most of my friends still have their TV rituals… and I do not. Oh there are a few shows that I still watch and enjoy when I manage to catch them (usually on TIVO,) but there aren’t any that I would change my schedule around to watch.
Yesterday as I was eating dinner, I sat down to watch the second episode of “Parenthood.” I had managed to catch the first episode (on TIVO) and had really enjoyed it. About five minutes or so into the episode I got up to check my email, and never came back. I thought about it a few times, but finally decided that I would rather watch “Star Trek” for the 14th time than get involved in a TV show. Even as I was clear in my decision, it bugged me. Why wouldn’t I give this perfectly adequate show a chance?
And then it dawned on me. I have developed a relationship pattern with television that is nearly identical to the relationship pattern that I have with men.
When I was young and care free, I fell in love easily. I would watch any old show that came along, and I would watch it with passion. The shows that I watched didn’t have much depth, but that didn’t matter. All that mattered was that they entertained me. Most of the shows that I watched in high school, ironically ended about the same time that I graduated. Either that, or I lost interest when I moved away and didn’t have cable. It was the first time I realized that shows ended. That made sad. I grew up with those programs. I learned from them, both literally and figuratively. Then they were just gone, some without warning, leaving a big empty gap in my life.
Some of the shows that I watched in high school ended up in syndication, which kept my interest for a while until they became redundant. Eventually I quit watching them all together as my taste in television began to change.
I had to try out a few different genres before I really figured out what interested me. There was a time when I was all about the drama. I liked the shows that would leave me with a cliff-hanger, having to wait a full week to see what would happen next. There was a very short amount of time when I really liked the trashy shallowness that reality shows had to offer. For a while, I was even really taken with educational programming, and stayed glued to TLC and The Animal Planet, for no other reason but because sometimes it feels good to spend time with someone who watching a show that can teach you a little something. Eventually they all bored me.
Then I found myself in a long pattern of falling for the more “quirky” types of shows like “Mr Show” and “Greg the Bunny.” I became obsessed with “Arrested Development,” and “Freaks and Geeks.” They were the unconventional types of shows that didn’t interest everyone, but I saw that they had something from the beginning. It took me a while, (probably right around the time that Pushing Daisies got canceled) before I realized the fundamental problem with these types of shows. For whatever reason, lack of self-promotion or maybe self confidence -these shows never last. They almost always leave me are canceled within 2 or 3 seasons, leaving me without any sort of closure.
I have finally gotten to the point where I am afraid of falling for a show and investing my time in it. I’m scared that as soon as I do, it will go off the air, leaving me wandering what would have happened next. Even the shows that that I love that I have been more been more faithful to like “Scrubs” eventually become finicky. I hear one week that they have been canceled, only to be renewed at the last minute, and eventually they will completely jump the shark. (God Bless you “Scrubs.”)
I think I finally know what I’m looking for. I want the whole package… something that is, for the most part- thought-provoking, funny, and with just enough drama to keep me interested. The problem is that you actually have to invest a little time into something to know for sure if that’s what you have, and that is down right frightening to me. I know that I will never find a show that I love if I never turn on the TV. I also know that no show is perfect, but there is bound to be a television show out there that would appeal to me long term.
Maybe it’s time that I end this ridiculously long metaphorical post and go watch that second episode of “Parenthood.” Although please believe me when I tell you that you should read no further into the title of that show. I was talking about boys here, not babies.
I’m not a fan of ending a post with a question, but have you ever felt this way? and how do you people get over this (for lack of better word) jaded-ness?