Yes. Old news for a lot of people, but not so for me. See, I have been following TV series titles through osmosis. I hear names like The Walking Dead or Grey’s Anatomy or Orange is the New Black or Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad or something else. The funny thing is this. The names are different but the reaction they invoke are the same. The viewers are all obsessed. From an outsider point of view, I would say, it’s a drug. I feel it changes people and how they behave with themselves and with you. I have been an outsider in most cases because I haven’t been a TV type of person. I’m getting there but we’ll get to that.
I’m used to try to understand the fuss. When someone asked about a show, I would respond with, “Oh, I haven’t seen that one,” and their response would almost always be, “Oh, it’s soooo good. You should watch it. It’s amazing!” Yes, the word “so” is extended for a good 2 and a half seconds. I know when it came to Breaking Bad my brother even offered to buy me Netflix so I could watch it. I remember thinking, what was going on? Why are people going crazy? Is this some disease that infests the mind?
I didn’t used to watch TV. The last time I was vested in a show was in the late 1990s. My shows: Lois and Clark, the New Adventures of Superman and Caroline in the City. My luck: 4 seasons and 2 seasons respectively and then the show was done. Also, my life was very different then. I was married to someone who didn’t watch the usual series and for some reason I never did either. I don’t know if it was the marriage or me, but irrespective, after my divorce, I was left at home with a TV that I did not turn on and soon forgot how to operate.
I remember the evening I invited family to my home and I was the host, so obviously, busy making sure the food was ready and all that jazz. Well, in between running around and figuring out what pot was on the stove and what was in the oven, I get called by my family. They wanted to watch some tennis match. I gave them a blank stare. They explained to me that they wanted to watch ESPN. Someone asked what channel ESPN was on and someone was asking how to get cable and I think someone asked me which remote was which. I looked at the 3 remote controls resting on the coffee table and handed all the remotes over to one of my family members. I said, “Here you go. I have no idea which remote is which. I think one is for TV and one for cable. I think that red button turns on the TV. I don’t know much else.” I remember one of my cousins looking at me like he didn’t understand the joke. “But how do we get to ESPN?” I felt my mind would explode. How do I explain to them that I was busy cooking and that I did not have any idea. “I do not know. The last time I turned on the TV was several months ago and I was watching a DVD. I do not watch TV at all.” The next question was “What do you mean, at all?” I shook my head and said almost annoyed and abruptly, “I mean, I do not watch TV. I have not watched TV for a few years. I only watch DVDs and control what I watch on my time and my terms. I know I have cable not satellite. I don’t know why I have it, but I do. That’s all I know. You’ll have to figure it all out between the remotes!” With that, I left back to the kitchen. Why was it so incredulous that someone doesn’t watch television?
I think I have grown a bit since then. I have learned to accept that everyone has their own thrills and obsessions. Watching tennis might not have been mine at that time. It might or might not have been a good idea. That’s irrespective. I think we all have our hot buttons of items we love and make us whole whether it’s a sport or a TV show or a celebrity or a hobby. To each their own.
It took a few years after that for me to change and understand people’s obsession; TV shows especially. I remember my cousins were trying to get me hooked onto something but one of the shows I tried to watch with them was far too superficial for me. The next show Parenthood was actual quite good. I wanted to watch it from the beginning but that was around the time I met Brad, the man who would be my husband.
Right from the beginning, the one thing about our relationship that was so different from any other relationship I had been in or wanted to be in was the TV. Big Bang Theory was the first show he introduced me to. I loved it. I was surprised. When I told him that I had tried other shows but couldn’t really get into them, he told me that I just hadn’t been introduced to the right shows. Perhaps! I soon caught up with all the episodes and I’m current with that show. I would have never in a million years have guessed that the person current on a show would be myself.
Over time, a few years, it’s become a habit. We watch one or a few episodes (depending on time) before bed. It’s our ritual now. I told Brad that I wanted to catch up on the old but famous shows, if that’s even possible. Through the past few years, we have finished Eureka, and watched most episodes of Sherlock Holmes (The Jeremy Brett version), and Cheers. Without Netflix (I haven’t jumped on that band wagon yet) we are currently restricted to Amazon Prime but there’s quite a few that I want to watch on Prime before I embark onto Netflix. After Cheers (despite not watching season 10 and 11 due to not having it on Prime) we moved on to and finished Sex and the City.
Over Thanksgiving break we had the task of picking our new Amazon Prime show. I told my husband that I would like to try Downton Abbey. I said that I had vaguely remembered friends on FB talking about it or looking forward to it or that people were obsessed with it. Prime had the show so we started Thanksgiving weekend.
A couple of days ago, we watched the last episode of Season Two. My heart just went crashing a million times and over. I did not think I would make it. The next morning was an early day at work but I couldn’t get sleep after watching that last episode. I felt like I could never be myself again and then it hit me. All the times that people told me about a show and how I would watch them lose themselves. Why did they prefer conversation with an acquaintance about a show instead of me? Why was not understanding this show putting a wedge in our friendship? Answer: The show was their life. It’s a gene that splices into their DNA and they will never be the same again. Downton Abbey has done that to me and now I finally comprehend.
I’m on Season 3, episode 2 and the issues that will plague this season are well set up. I’m glad I’m doing this. Really glad.
Don’t want to prolong this post, but thank you for reading. I sincerely apologize for all the times I rolled my eyes at you over a TV show. Ha ha. I get it now. Better late than never, right?
Best to you all.