My number is 23. No, it’s not the number of sexual partners that I’ve had,; that number is a couple less. (I’m just kidding— it’s way more.) This number refers to the amount of television shows that I “like” on Facebook (and when things are on Facebook, they’re official). What’s odd is not the fact that I like 23 television shows but that I am completely invested in each and every one that I’ve listed.
Seriously, look me up on Facebook and see the variety there for yourself. I am into shows that range from “30 Rock” and “Modern Family” to “Six Feet Under” and “The Wire.” One would think that as a serious television buff, I would have to be concentrated on one specific genre, but fortunately, I found a loophole: You can know almost everything about two dozen shows if you don’t have a fully functioning social life. I broke the system!
Hold the applause and let me explain a little more. I have friends — I promise — but I’ve never been known as the guy who regularly goes out to social outings on the weekends, unless they’re a special occasions(birthdays, certain newspaper festivities, etc.). On the contrary, I tend to spend my weekends focused on schoolwork, using television and Yates as means to take a break from work without having that classic “Catholic guilt” attack my brain.
My point to all of this is that by using television as a means to decompress, I’ve become emotionally attached to a multitude of programs. This emotional attachment also explains why I am slightly obsessed with such a range of genres, since humans tend to experience an array of different emotional states. I tend to gravitate toward comedy, but I do love me a fair number of dark shows like “Six Feet Under,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “Dexter.” It’s almost as though I live vicariously through Jack Bauer (“24”) when I’m feeling a bit patriotic and manly, Liz Lemon (“30 Rock”) when I’m feeling dysfunctional or Jimmy McNulty (“The Wire”) when I’m especially pessimistic or cynical.
Since television shows are intrinsically contrived and structured, it’s comforting to escape into a television series whose world has continuity and order. All events happen for a reason and everything is meant to be. To quote Abed Nadir from NBC’s “Community,” “I can tell life from TV, Jeff. TV makes sense: it has structure, logic, rules and likable leading men. In life we have this. … We have you.” In an odd way, a quality television series is a harmonious, almost romanticized, version of real life no matter what happens.
In good television, characters always maintain their specific sets of traits, because they are written into the show for the purpose of serving specific roles. If you want to see what bad television is, it’s “Glee.” I’d never witnessed such a violation of character continuity before I watched the first season and a half of this “show.” Utter trash.
These characters that people, including myself, connect with become constants in our ever-changing lives. Whenever you tune into your favorite show, you know that it will take place in exactly the same world that existed in the previous episode, regardless of “character development.” There is just something about a solid, well-written television show that whisks you away to a world where you can escape whatever negative things may pop up in your life. Watching television, like reading a book (Harry Potter, anyone?), can give you a sense of reassurance and completion. While watching one’s world seems to lose most fear and anxieties.
Steven Piccione is a junior in the College. He can be reached at [email protected]. HULU SAXAappears every other Friday in the guide.