tv

"All the ways TV is always there for me."

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The other day I woke up with a terrible flu-like thing that basically rendered me unable to get out of bed. It really sucked. But, after I had begged off work for the day and dragged myself downstairs for a cup of tea, I curled back up in bed with my laptop and began streaming some Girls, where no matter how terrible or how out-of-control I feel, it’s never worse than what’s happening with Hannah and co.

I think Girls is one of my favourite sick day binge shows. Everyone is flawed and terrible and they don’t look super-polished, which is nice when you’re a walking zombie.

I was very quickly distracted by the angst-ridden growing pains on display and started to feel a little less sorry for myself. I felt my mood lift as I watched other people adulting terribly, and I even managed to laugh a little. As I ploughed through the fourth episode in a row, it occurred to me that I am maybe just a little dependent on TV, almost like it is a person in my life.

"No matter how terrible I feel...it’s never worse than what’s happening with Hannah and co." Image: HBO.

When I’m sick I lean on it for comfort, familiarity and to make me feel better, just like I might a partner or a friend. Which led to think about all the other ways I’ve subtly begun to substitute my favourite characters for real human beings.

Sometimes, after work when I’ve had a long or stressful day, I like to come home, pour a glass of red wine and watch The Good Wife, where Alicia will keep me company while I nurse my drink, and where all my problems will pale into insignificance when I remember she’s the estranged wife of a corrupt governor who works at the world’s most take-over obsessed law firm.

If I need to really relax, and not have think about anything (and really, sometimes that is the best way to spend an evening) I turn to Nashville and its glorious soapy intrigue. Also Connie Britton’s hair is amazing.

Who would think that a bunch of country music stars could make for a relatable cast of characters? But Juliette Barnes, Rayna James and Deacon Claybourne actually manage it. I am pretty sure Connie Britton and her fabulous hair can do no wrong, and she is just so full of reassuring parenting advice that it makes the distance between my family in Brisbane and my home in Sydney seem significantly less. (My Mum has pretty great hair too, come to think of it.)

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"If I need to really relax I turn to Nashville and it’s glorious soapy intrigue." Image: ABC

When I feel like no one understands me, I delve right into a new series of The Americans, and my own identity crises pale in comparison to Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings and their lives as Russian spies in cold war America.  (Also I am so jealous of their amazing wig collection.) There is nothing that makes your problems go away faster than realising (Spoiler alert!!) your oldest friends (and the only people that really knew you are dead), and their own son killed them. Brutal, but thanks Phillip and Elizabeth, you’re a constant perspective-inducing duo.

And, if I ever feel a bit lonely and sorry for myself I can cheer myself up with Inside Amy Schumer or Say Yes to the Dress – two shows that make me happy, oh so very happy, to be an independent single lady in control of my life, and my viewing habits.

Not only does my best friend television keep me company and give me some great perspective on my life, but it also cheers me up and makes me laugh so hard my stomach hurts. I’m specifically thinking of you, golden-era-late-90s-episodes-of-The-Simpsons.

“Homer, I’m going to get something for dinner.”“Steak?”
“Money’s too tight for steak.”
“Steak?”
“Sure… Steak.”

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"Simpsons is guaranteed to make my day better". Image via Google Images.

That is the beginning of an epic Simpson’s episode that never fails to make me giddily happy.  And even if I couldn’t just tee that episode up whenever I wanted, I know that tuning into The Simpsons is guaranteed to make my day better, and keep me company when I need it.

I don’t want to get all heavy, but TV has always been there for me, *wipes away tear* and with the rise of on demand, that statement has never been truer than it is today.  The “golden age of television” has been much hyped. But it’s really here, and it coincides with the golden age of being a viewer.

No locked-in schedules, no tyranny of the remote control (how many share house arguments no longer happen because people don’t have to compromise on their viewing schedule?).

Given all of this, it is no surprise really that iconic shows and characters have the capacity to connect so fully and engrain themselves in your life (don’t pretend, I know you secretly agree and can’t wait to get home and check in with all your TV buddies). So while I may have fully recovered from last week’s illness, I can’t wait to check back in with the women of Girls, just because it’s like catching up with some old friends every time I do.

What do you love most about television?

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