Commercial break: TV and relationships. What’s the Diff?


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.PartyOfFive_S3_early

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.

Arrested Development (TV series)
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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?

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  • http://www.kidtogrownup.com/ BobbiJanay

    Hmm that is a good question? I have no idea because I love me some tv and movies.

  • ScoMan

    Oh good, the comment section is back.

    I think that the relationship between relationships and television viewing should be inverse, and not following each other like this.

    If you're single, your TV viewing habits increase, if you're in a relationship they decrease.. until you get comfortable in the relationship and then they increase again.

    All I know is I still love Dexter, Scrubs, 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory, 24, Lost, Criminal Minds, Spicks and Specks, The IT Crowd, Castle, V, True Blood, Sons of Anarchy.. and so on.

  • lifeonahanger

    reason #97498567498567 we are soultwins. I only watch TV shows on my netflix, meaning I watch them when I want, and how ever often I want, I don't have time to watch them in real life!! As for the way I am with men…well you know this…EXCEPT i have some MAYJAH updates for you…as in I'm just getting home right now (1:49 am) and have news. but it's not that big…but kinda…but not. blech. XOXOXOXOXXOOXOXXOXOXO

  • edadams

    Too bad John Cusack thinks he's too good for TV, huh?

  • ambermurphy

    I used to be a commitment phobe, too. (You know, tv wise.) For awhile there, I just liked (tee hee, and watched) SO MANY SHOWS.

    I mean, it was fun to discover how DIFFERENT they all were. It didn't really ever get boring, but maybe a little pathetic.

    So, that's my television metaphor for the morning.

  • http://www.nikkidz.blogspot.com/ Nikki

    *sigh* Dawson's Creek. I miss that ritual. I get it, why invest the time? I hate when a show gets cancelled and I never know who's kid it actually was, etc.

    I like having something to veg out in front of after a long work day. And I like the speed of tv shows. Nothing in life ever progresses as quickly.

  • http://matthewjenks.blogspot.com/ Matt_J

    I think when Angel was canceled and Buffy jumped the shark, that was when I lost interest in being a religious television watcher. Plus, my wife always wants to watch some shitty show I have no interest in, so I turn to the computer to dull my senses toward whatever inane piece of drivel is on the television behind me.

  • http://watchoutworldimatwentysomething.blogspot.com/ JustMe

    That was actually a great metaphoric post.

    I'm VERY PICKY about what television shows I watch, and usually can only concentrate on one show at a time (I am also doing the men/tv metaphor). Right now, I'm only interested in one show: 30 Rock.

    It makes me laugh out loud every time.

  • CarissaJaded

    haha fair enough. I love me some movies too.. But they are more like a dependable one hook up partner… that only last one night but that you can keep going back to. Who doesn't love that!?

  • http://www.ishineoutloud.com/shine shine

    I know you're going to be shocked that I have an opinion about this, but…I do.

    I didn't have cable for a long time, so I got out of the TV habit. I still won't rearrange my schedule to watch a TV show, but that's why we all have DVRs. Now I don't HAVE to do that.

    Personally, I find myself gravitating toward shows that already have a finite number of seasons (LOST) or shows that have already gone off air (West Wing).

    When I do manage to get attached to a show that's currently on television and has no end in sight, I usually just get bored (How I Met Your Mother) or annoyed with the characters (How I Met Your Mother).

    All of this is to say, I watch television in pretty much the same way I deal with relationships, too.

  • CarissaJaded

    The comment section was gone!? I have been wanting to check out Castle…. I do love scrubs, but not so much since ZB left. It still makes me sad!

  • CarissaJaded

    I can't wait to hear your updates!!! If I'm not on gchat text me!!

  • CarissaJaded

    I'm pretty sure that if he's making movies like 2012, he'll end up on the small screen in no time. ( No offense my boyfriend!!!)

  • CarissaJaded

    hahaha I used to be a little whorish myself.. ahem I mean with television shows… now theres just not enough of me to go around.

  • hiphophippie

    We love all the same shows!! Do you like “Kids In The Hall” ?? It's one of my favorites! I saw them live last year and cried I was so happy! And that's how geeky I am.

  • CarissaJaded

    OH MY GOSH YOU SAW KIDS IN THE HALL!??? They are my absolute absolute absolute favorite in the whole wide world!! Seriously, I grew up obsessed. They are the reason I started to do comedy. Bruce Mcculloch was my first love. sighhhhhhhhh

  • hiphophippie

    OMG we're twinsies!!! And I met Bruce!!! At the gym! I totally went up to him and gushed! He's uuuuuhhhhhmazing!!!

  • http://batcrapcrazy.blogspot.com/ daffy

    TV? Hmmmm….what is this TV of which you speak? I think once upon a time…many moons ago…I had a flickering box (ha…that made me giggle and now I've totally lost where I was going with this…….damnit)

  • CarissaJaded

    YOU MET HIM!!!!!! OHHH EMMMMMGEEEEEEE. I heart you AND HIM!!!!

  • Pollypoptart

    Hehe, I had a similar realisation a while back – I don't want to commit to a show when it either goes bad, moves to a different channel or just ends. I prefer finding something I like, buying it on dvd and watching it all the way through and that's it, just like a little fling!

  • thebacksofmyeyelids

    Carissa, I wrote a great comment and then erased it because I think it should be a blog post. 😉

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  • graygrrrl

    I think it's time to just grab the bull by the horns so to speak and watch a show from start to finish. Maybe not a new show like “Parenthood”- who knows how long that will last! No, I suggest dipping your toe into the pool that is long running dramas- Law and Order. It's the perfect way to get back into the game. It's been on since the dawn of time, is on TNT/the Law & Order channel, and you don't have to have seen it before to follow what's going on. Maybe you'll like it and find yourself wondering when Beson and Stabler are going to finally make out (sorry, that's Law & Order: SVU). Maybe you just want to see if Jack McCoy ever wins a case with good lawyering and not by chance/luck. Maybe you just like to solve mysteries. Whatever the case, the Law & Order franchise is the perfect stepping stone back in to modern TV culture.

  • http://littleinsomniaclolita.blogspot.com Andhari

    “I’m scared that as soon as I do, it will go off the air, leaving me wandering what would have happened next.”

    Feel ya on this, sister. And I'm so sad about Scrubs, why should they force it for so long? It becomes dull , or finicky as you said. Notice the same pattern happened to That 70's Show? Man it was so good in the first few seasons.

  • http://www.blogsareforlosers.com Sherri

    While I totally understand this post and I feel like I've “been there” all I really want to ask is if you've ever seen Undeclared? It was a short-lived sitcom by Judd Apatow – so if you dug Freaks & Geeks, you'd enjoy it. I'm currently re-watching it via Netflix. I'm sorry for bypassing what you've TRULY written about here but I do believe it's something we all go through. [and I mean how our TV watching pattern mirrors other patterns in our lives. It's just too much for me to think about right now because Saved By The Bell is on.]

  • http://vegetableassassin.blogspot.com/ Vegetable Assassin

    I don't know a single person who saw “Freaks & Geeks” who didn't love it. I remember at the time though that NBC (I think it was them) screwed that show because it never consistently aired it at a set time or day so you could never find it, then they cited bad ratings and cancelled. Idiots. That show was an obvious hit and they killed it by treating it badly. If that had aired every say…Monday at 8, it would have been huge.

  • http://vegetableassassin.blogspot.com/ Vegetable Assassin

    I don't know a single person who saw “Freaks & Geeks” who didn't love it. I remember at the time though that NBC (I think it was them) screwed that show because it never consistently aired it at a set time or day so you could never find it, then they cited bad ratings and cancelled. Idiots. That show was an obvious hit and they killed it by treating it badly. If that had aired every say…Monday at 8, it would have been huge.

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