I get it. I really do. You hear people claim there’s “nothing good on”, people claiming that television is the lowest form of acting, people telling you that your TV is a Sin Box.
… Okay, maybe that last one was just me. But regardless of what you may hear, you can’t help but get this feeling way down in the pit of your stomach. Something whispering into your ear, telling you they’re wrong. Sure, you’ve seen The Cleveland Show more times than you care to admit, and yeah, you might’ve caught a few episodes of “Joey”. Heck, you may have even pulled an all-nighter to watch the crappy second and third seasons of Heroes even though Chelsea *told* you they were awful but you just *had* to know the ending (and be totally jaded about it for the rest of your life) — but I’ll keep that between you and me.
We both know that bad TV is out there. In fact, it’s been out there outweighing the good TV for far too long … so long, in fact, that it’s got a pretty tarnished name.
But you. You know better. You’ve seen the light. You bit the apple. You are drinking the Kool-Aid my friend, and that is a-okay. Know why? Because if this were Star Wars, we’d be in the Rebel Alliance. We’re part of the good guys (sidenote: this is definitely a fond reference to the 2010 tv show “The Good Guys” – one of those unlucky series that died before it’s time. A moment of silence for Colin Hanks B-list career and Bradley Whitford’s receding hairline, please).
So, we both know that TV can be totally tubular, and it’s really about time to just face the music and admit it.
Close your eyes. Wait, don’t close them yet until you finish reading this sentence: try to think of your favorite TV show. Hard to pick one? Think of a top three. Top five. Top ten. I have a top twenty, personally. Be you a die hard, one-show-until-I-die loyalist or a television coneissieur (neither Siri nor I know how to spell that one, sorry) — you may experience a few symptoms. I could get McSteamy or George Clooney (shout out to the 90’s! Yo, smell ya later!) to diagnose you if you like OR I could just save you the hassle of wracking through your attic to find those VHS tapes you recorded ER on and tell you myself: TV love comes with a price.
Please notify your nearest cable service provider if you are experiencing one or more of the following problems:
1. Whenever you hear your show’s theme song or the first few notes of your show’s theme song or the subway car makes this really bizarre screeching noise that totally reminds you of your show’s theme song, you burst into a ballad-rock-opera-version-with-probable-unheard-harmonies-that-you-have-composed-on-your-own, regardless of who is around. Yes, even if it is an instrumental track. Especially if it is an instrumental track.
2. Your phone and tablet and laptop and desktop and wallpaper will forever feature your favorite character’s faces, the show’s logo, or general memorabilia from select favorite episodes. This includes but is not limited to autographs, photographs, signed scripts, ironic tee shirts with a character’s catchphrase, to-scale cardboard cut outs of characters, back set photos you secretly shot while on a studio tour, and a bobby pin you found on the floor right next to where Debra Messing was entering on the “Will & Grace” set and you just thought hey nobody’s gonna miss this in that head of crazy red hair anyway and quietly just put it in your pocket.
3. You have a countdown(s) that you obsess over until the next season. You find various support groups/online fan clubs for the aforementioned obsession with the countdown(s). You have countdowns for the various support groups/online fan clubs to begin at varying times of the television’s yearly cycle(s).
4. You try and watch the actors in other shows or movies. You realize it’s no use as they are often completely different characters. You feel betrayed, as in, “How DARE Allison Brie be in Mad Men when she’s already Annie in Community? Annie wouldn’t live in the sixties married to a pathetic weasel of a man!”. You forget that it’s no use. The cycle starts over.
5. Your room does not need cleaning, your homework can wait, and the dog can walk himself for an hour while you watch the season premiere of Mad Men for the sixth time, positive that you can analyze more hidden meanings and allusions between it and Dante’s Inferno and ten million other intelligent mind-blowing things. Is that your phone ringing? Who calls anyone these days? Don’t even bother. This is Don Draper we’re talking about here.
6. During season finales, you may stock up on tissues and just tell your next door neighbors to ignore the weird sobbing/shouting sounds coming from your room in the next hour. You ignore their looks of concern; they couldn’t understand the powerful depth of range in The Wire anyway. You’re not even sure you can.
7. You make endless references to the show that your friends and family do not understand or find funny. You have said things like “MARRY ME!” or “DANNNGER ZONNNNNE!” and people just looked at you oddly and asked if you’re okay. You probably just put your hand up, said “That’s so Raven”, and walked away thinking about your favorite episode of The Cosby Show. And where did your ironic Bill Cosby sweater go, anyway?
8. Your Hulu and Netflix queues are never empty. You don’t even want to know how I feel when they occasionally *gasp* are.
9. After you have discovered a gem of a show, you can never see the actors the same. If they die in the series, you go through the stages of grief and the natural mourning process, rejecting the actor as a real character in any other series. J.R is dead. Somebody shot him, remember? Buster Bluth’s hand was eaten by a loose seal with a taste for mammal blood. Don’t give me this two-handed goverment assistant nonsense on Veep (… Okay I may take that last one back – Veep is too good of a show to blast it like that).
10. You started dressing like your favorite character without even realizing it. [SEE: ironic Bill Cosby sweater].
11. You may or may not have had dreams where you were part of an episode. Last week, I had a dream once that I was part of the Stargate mission group with Niles Crane from Frasier and June Cleaver from Leave it to Beaver as my best friends. It was awesome.
Beware, innocent ones yet to latch on to great television (google what Kevin Spacey said about the future of TV. AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON HOUSE OF CARDS) — it will happen to you. Personally, I think streaming/Netflix/Hulu is the future. And I’m okay with that. I love that TV is getting the great writers and directors and minds again. This is happening, whether you choose to believe it’s only a “Everybody Lives Raymond” and “Family Guy” world out there or not.
And to all you die-hard fans out there: Let’s go ahead and press the ‘resume’ button on our DVD for the series exclusive box set we had playing in the background before reading this article.