I have become addicted to television. Over the Christmas break, when I wasn’t focused squarely— well, more parallelogram-ly— on paper writing, I wanted some thoughtless entertainment, things where thinking is optional, probably beneficial but nevertheless not a necessity. I was raised on game shows, the classics, and mysteries, by my mother, who could tell you the plot of any single episode of the Andy Griffith Show within two lines of dialogue and was almost as quick with I Love Lucy. With her, I would watch two episodes each of the Golden Girls and Designing Women while I did homework after school, Matlock and Murder, She Wrote on sick days, the Gameshow Network when those weren’t on, and whatever was the most recent popular murder mystery during its weekly slot. CSI was the most prevalent before her death, having just begun its several spinoffs and thus having a healthy syndicated backlog to dominate those timeslots not taken up by new episodes.
During college, I never had a TV. There was an excessive fee to have it in the dorms, and I simply never felt like paying for it after having not had it for that year, and the internet has more than enough mind-numbing entertainment for all mediums. Once DVDs became prevalent, I would, via Netflix or friends, occasionally go on series binges. The era of Arrested Development was a golden age amongst my friends, each disc on endless repeat (both by choice and because the cheap DVD player’s remote was lost, so we had no option but to choose “Play All”). My roommates and I had an implicit pact, as so many roommates are now familiar with, to watch the entirety of Six Feet Under, start to finish, together. It took us about a year and a half. After sixty five hours, plus countless bottles of wine and smoke breaks that lasted anywhere from four minutes to time-to-pass-out, you realize that it is, actually, quite an accomplishment to have seen the whole show together, having been able to put squabbles and homework aside so we could collectively get to know these fictional characters.
But this, this is not communal. Read the rest of this entry »