Send help. A TV show has eaten my life.

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There’s a man I can’t stop thinking about.

He is not my husband. He is not the father of my two children. He is not a family member or a friend.

I really don’t think he’s very good for me. He is a middle-aged alcoholic who can’t hold down a relationship or a job. He wears flannel shirts and bad jeans and cowboy boots. He is not even really that good-looking.

But I spent all weekend with him, and I’m gone.

Here he is:

charles-esten_deacon-nashville-jpg
Deacon Claybourne, as played by Charles Esten. Troubled troubadour, current TV obsession.

It’s not even just him. It’s his ex-girlfriend too. She’s a formidable woman in her early 40s, with an incredible career and the world’s most glorious hair. She is talented, decent, and strong, a wonderful mother. I want to be her friend. Hell, I just want to BE her.

No, I am not a teenager with a celebrity crush. I am a grown woman firmly in the throes of a binge-purge TV obsession. I have been watching Nashville.

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You know the signs. You’ve heard good things, you think you’ll check out the pilot on that rare Friday night you’re home alone.

Before you know it, you are promising yourself JUST ONE MORE as you fight sleep on the lounge, contemplating NoDoze.

Before you know it, you are hiding in the kitchen, Googling the actors on your phone while your children scream for your attention.

Before you know it, you are seeking out other addicts with whom to trade spoilers and theories and trivia.

Before you know it, you are considering JOINING AN ONLINE FORUM.

Watch the trailer for Nashville here. Post continues below.

Video via ABC

Nashville is a US drama about country music stars, with songs.

And if that sounds like your worst nightmare, let me tell you: you have NO idea.

What it is really is a superior soap opera, a series that ticks all the boxes — perpetual sexual tension, drugs, divas, betrayal, family skeletons in every corner — and like all great soap operas, it touches all demographics. There are hot young things with complicated love lives who sing like dreams — including the outrageously good-looking and talented Australian actress Clare Bowen.

There’s also a social media savvy bad-girl Taylor Swift type, a crazy bunny-boiling mistress, and then there are the two who have my heart: Deacon and Rayna, a couple of almost-middle aged musos with serious history played to perfection by Charles Eston and Connie Britton (also known to binge-watchers the world over as Tammy Taylor, Friday Night Lights‘ Mrs Coach, but more of that later).

Here they are, singing a sad love song while looking longingly at each other. Which is pretty much what they do best:

Video via ABC

In the last few days, I have thought about their relationship more often than I have considered my own. I have wondered what it will take for them to Just Get It Together. How much water under the bridge is too much? Can you ever really bury the feelings you have for the love of your life, even if that person is an addicted train-wreck? And so on.

See, I have gone too deep.

But this is how we watch TV now. Boots-in, all or nothing, in long, passionate jags.

rayna and deacon
Come on, crazy kids, just get it together. For me.

Thanks to Netflix, Stan, iTunes and (whisper it) illegal downloads, we now experience our TV flings in a state of full immersion, and then release.

Last month, I became fixated with the life choices of a certain 18-year-old American football player. Please, don’t give up on your dreams Matt Saracen, it’s not your fault that life weighs so heavily on your young shoulders; you’ve been dealt a tough hand.

Yep, Friday Night Lights:

Before that, I couldn’t sleep at night because this disturbingly good-looking Northern Irish serial killer was on the loose, pursued by a fierce feminist detective with a swoon-worthy line in silk shirts.

That would be The Fall. Here:

And then, of course there have been phases when my dreams were full of sexy, tattooed lesbians in a women’s prison. There was that time when I was pretty certain I could cook up a batch of meth in a campervan if I had to, and, of course, there’s that whole recurring Westeros problem.

We have always loved our TV shows hard, but now, because we are cramming them with no brake and no cool-off period, they bleed from the screens into our lives, our moods, our wardrobes, our vocabulary, if only for the limited period of our co-dependent affair.

I can’t tell you the Thing that happened with Deacon and Rayna that ruined my Saturday, because these modern obsessions come with water-cooler problems. None of us is ever on the same page anymore.

Nashville is not new. The season I have just devoured — the first — was made in 2012. The fourth one is about to air. Finding people who share your passion but are stuck in the same moment is a rare, rare treat. Generally, you can trust no-one. The Internet is no longer a safe place, your obsessive Googling becomes a round of Russian roulette as you dodge spoilers. You can never unsee the words you glance in the search results. PATRICK IS DEAD, people.

So please, if you’re out there, and you’re on Nashville, Season 2, around-abouts Episode 3, can we be friends? Just for a little while?

I really need someone to talk to.

You can follow Holly on Facebook, and help her through this difficult time, here

What are you binge watching at the moment? 

One more, super-sweet Nashville moment. Bear with me:

Video via ABC

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