It happens to all of us. You meet a seemingly awesome person who turns out to harbor a friendship-ruining flaw. Maybe they hold socio-political ideas that are scarily similar to the ones embraced by your friendly neighborhood Unabomber. Maybe they're venturing out of their mother's basement for the first time since poor Monica Lewinsky and her penchant for 'cigars' was still considered timely and witty fodder for talk show hosts everywhere . Maybe they're one of those people still doing keg stands at their old fraternity house despite being on the wrong side of 25. Or maybe, just maybe, you've had the misfortune to cross paths with (*shudder*) an anti-television crusader.
I'm not referring to people who simply choose not to spend their time in front of the affectionately dubbed 'idiot box.' I'm talking about those who proudly and loudly declare their disdain of the medium as if it were indicative of intellectual and moral superiority.
"I have better things to do with my time," sniffed one self-proclaimed Anti-Television Activist.
Oh. Well, I'm happy for you and all, but-
"And so, may I add, should YOU. It kills off brain cells, you know." She punctuated this warning with a swig of her fourth martini (extra dry, natch) which, if my admittedly limited knowledge of biology is correct, is not exactly known to replenish the brain cells about which she'd just expressed such grave concern.
To be fair (which we all know takes a concerted effort on my part!), this particular booze hound did have a point. Certainly, the airwaves are clogged with programming that's neither educational nor entertaining, and when subjected to shows like "Who Wants to Marry a Drug-Addicted, Philandering Hobo", it's hard to deny that we could all spend our time on more worthwhile and enriching pursuits.
But there's just one small obstacle preventing me from turning off my 'boob tube' and prancing off to cure cancer or single-handedly eradicate global warning...I truly, madly, deeply (did I just bring back memories of that ghastly song?!) love television.
It's an unfairly derided, surprisingly rich medium that allows us to explore characterizations, storylines and themes to an extent that neither film nor even literature allows. TV grants us the luxury of getting to know a group of compelling people across time and watching them confront a wide variety of situations; some of which we can identify with and relate to all too well, and others which are comfortably far-fetched enough to provide a welcome diversion from our own bland reality. We spend time with our favorite TV people on a weekly (or, if you rewatch with the embarrassing frequency that I do, DAILY) basis. If you have as, um, 'tame' a social life as I do, you just may end up spending more time visiting with some of these TV characters than you do with your real life friends, most of whom are too busy with their own lives and perhaps nurturing their own secret TV addictions to get together with such comforting regularity.
Contrary to what the militant anti-TV crusaders might warn you, TV doesn't have to be an isolating, anti-social activity. In fact, TV has helped me bond with co-workers and acquaintances with whom I have precious little else in common. Nothing breaks the proverbial ice quite like bonding over how fed up we are with the perma-smirking, smarmy 'McDreamy' and how few of America's Next Top Model contestants are actually, like, remotely attractive. The Internet has also helpfully enabled and deepened my addiction, connecting me with surprisingly fascinating people all over the world who enjoy analyzing, gushing over, criticizing and just plain geeking out about our common shows. In other words, TV has actually enhanced my social life rather than dampening it.
Okay, now brace yourselves for my most profound analysis to date: TV viewing is just plain fun. (*If only I could hear those gasps of awe as you all marvel at my unique insight*). Whether or not you're content with the current state of your life, there's no denying that most have us have days that can only be described as dull, dreary, depressing and probably a myriad of other less-than-idyllic adjectives beginning with 'd'. TV provides a reliably effective diversion, however fleeting. It allows us to laugh over Dwight Schrute's amusing instability rather than dwelling on our own irritating and all too real co-workers. It provides us with a small but much-needed ego boost as we smugly observe that at least our own romantic relationships are healthier than the one between...well, between any characters on any show ever to air on HBO ;)
I've spent a lot of my waking hours watching and subsequently dissecting TV shows. The anti-TV activists would use me as a poster child for how to most tragically waste one's time and potential, but I prefer to feel grateful that I've found a form of entertainment that provides such a reliable diversion and mood-boost. Some TV even ranks among the most thought-provoking, cerebral art---yes, ART, that's not a typo!---to which I've ever been exposed.
This is an awfully long-winded way of preparing you guys for the fact that a heavy percentage of my blog entries are likely to revolve around TV. (Hmmmm, how come my follower count just decreased so dramatically?!)
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some more brain cells to mercilessly assassinate!