I think I’ve mentioned before that over the last two years, my entertainment and escapist world of choice has been TV shows. I don’t sit in front of the television, ironically. Instead I indulge with Netflix and DVDs on my laptop.
This development has come about for a number of reasons. First, I’m tired. And I’m busy. I love my job, but it’s demanding. At the end of the day, I’m exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally. I wrote a paragraph that scratches the surface of what I do in a day, but that just got exhausting so I stopped writing and decided I’d elaborate on that another day. Just picture a lot of preschoolers, co-workers, volunteers, cleaning, and running around like a crazy person. That’s my life. And I love it. But when I come home I don’t want to read. My brain is sleepy and I want to do something that demands less from me. Reading requires a lot of my brain and my emotions. Shows pull on my emotions, but in a different and less demanding way than reading. So, TV it is.
Second, I enjoy TV shows more than movies. Movies are an hour and a half or two, and then they’re over. Unless it’s Firefly (tears), TV shows have multiple seasons with many episodes. More stories? More character development? More of my favorite actors? Yes please. I enjoy being able to immerse myself in a show’s universe, story arcs, and characters over a longer period of time than movies allow. Escapism!
Third, Netflix has better TV shows than movies.
Fourth, when I do read, I’ve become interested in mostly memoirs and non-fiction. Fiction, except for young adult literature, doesn’t really strike a chord with me anymore. I loved The Help, but I read that last Spring Break and I haven’t read any good fiction since then. I know it’s out there, I just can’t/won’t make the investment. I mostly read Christian fiction in high school, and I don’t like that anymore either. My most recent reading binge of 20 books on my trip to Mexico only included three works of fiction, all Christian. And I hated two of of them, because they were so insipid and useless. But I like to finish things, so there you go. Despite these disappointments, I still love stories of things not real. And since written fiction has been letting me down, TV comes to save the day. Oh, the stories I have found and loved in television over the last two years! Like books always have, the stories in shows are making a mark in my life.
Fifth, I love the ridiculous. Time traveling alien? Yes. A forensic anthropologist and her crack science and FBI team? Check. A political drama set in space? Awesome. A sci-fi western? No doubt. A cute nerd and some spies? Definitely. I don’t watch shows to experience real life. Reality need not invade on my entertainment. I want to see what’s possible on the edge of imagination. I want a window on what life is like without some of the limits put on mine. I want to dream about adventures that are impossible. I love seeing how a super-spy mission, a trip to an imaginary planet or a battle against a terrifying foe can give insight into my own life. Because it does. I will elaborate on that another day, though.
Sixth, I like the funny. My job is ridiculous and hilarious most days. But some days it’s soul-wearying. I dwell in reality, where life is hard for my students and their families. Again, a story for another day. But while dwelling in reality is the only place I want to be, it can be draining. And sometimes I just want to laugh. A crazy paper company staff? Of course. A dysfunctional family who is perpetually ridiculous? Hilarious. Crazy friends living the New York life trying to find love and happiness? Absolutely. The cast of a made-up comedy show constantly becoming involved in shenanigans? Always. I don’t care if people aren’t that funny in real life. That’s why I’m watching: to appreciate humor in a world that needs some.
Seventh, I just like TV shows.
Now that I’ve analyzed my current obsession to some detail, it’s time to play Guess Those Shows (a distant cousin of my family game of Guess Who’s Dead). I’m not especially clever with my descriptions nor do I watch obscure TV shows, but I’m curious if my scant readership knows which shows I described. So, Guess Those Shows?