Making the world a better place, one show at a time.

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Washington, DC, United States
I guess you would like to know a little bit about the person making all these proclamations upon good taste and horrid characters. I'm Andrea and when I was 15 I fell in love. An hour after meeting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I was forever altered in the way only love can, and I never questioned for one minute afterwards that television offered me an amazing chance to experience lives and moments that I could never imagine. So now, when I'm not getting distracted by my real life, I write about TV. I also read, am finishing a Master's degree in English Literature, travel, am attempting to learn vegan cooking, am the 5th of 6 children, and drive my roommate nuts by constantly cleaning our already clean apartment. Now that we're old friends, time for you to take my opinions as the be all and end all.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Top 10: Shows That Could Be Used For Therapy

KP and I were texting yesterday.  At the end of the exchange she informed me that since she was having kind of a rough day she was going to watch some Friday Night Lights for therapy.  I heartily encouraged her in her plan, and it got me thinking.  There's art therapy, music therapy, but could there be TV therapy? So here is my suggestion of what to watch if you are experiencing some of the common difficulties that drive people to the couch.

If You're Grieving Watch: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Sounds counter intuitive, but if you've lost someone the little show about the girl who saved the world over and over is exactly what you need.  At it's core, Buffy is a show about how we live day to day with the inevitability of death, and slowly but surely this show will reveal to you that there is no easy answer to that conundrum of humanity, but rather an ever shifting balance of love, humor, sacrifice, bravery, and purpose that must always be reevaluated with each new experience.

If You're Heartbroken Watch: How I Met Your Mother
What better way to come to terms with you romantic disappointment then to watch how it is possible to re-frame your own failures, humiliations, and triumphs in love as pieces of the whole person you have to become in order to find a fulfilling relationship?  It's simple everything-happens-for-a-reason, but post break-up who can remember that?  Let Ted, Marshall, Lily, Barney and Robin remind you.

If You're Having an Identity Crisis Watch: The Big Bang Theory
The geek-gods of TBBT are absolutely and completely themselves.  Even Leonard, uncomfortable with being dismissed by women and the social stigmas associated with being a nerd, ultimately lives his life as the person he is.  You might not want to emulate their taste in movies or hobbies, but we should all want to be that determined to love what we love, to be the fullest version of ourselves, no matter what anyone says.

If You're Having a Career Crisis Watch: Spaced
Spaced is my go-to safety blanket show: I curl it around me to protect and comfort me in almost any mood I might be in.  But, if you happen to be in the midst of a professional meltdown this is what you want.  Tim, Daisy, Brian, Mike and Twist bounce constantly between knowing what they want to do with their lives and the external/internal obstacles hindering their achievement of those goals.  Sometimes it's the circumstances (lousy job market) and sometimes it's us (laziness), but there will be a time in life when you're not the shiny star of your field.  But if you can have as much fun despite that as these North Londoners do, you're doing just fine.

If You're Having (Temporary) Insomnia Watch: Castle
A prolonged sleep problem (which sucks more than you can imagine if you don't have one) requires much different coping mechanisms, but if you're experiencing a short bout of disruption to your normal sleep pattern, Castle is excellent company for the wee hours.  As a show that really has something for everyone it's pretty much the O Negative of TV: charming cast, fun mysteries, exciting chases, tender family moments, requited-but-not love, wit galore. If you are to be denied the sweet restoration of a good night's sleep this perfect balance of highs and lows, joys and sorrows will help those hours pass blissfully.

If You're Having Anxiety Watch: Sons of Anarchy
Again, counter intuitive.  Seems like the last thing that would help anxiety would be a show about a gun-running biker gang that is relentlessly violent and soul-scorchingly tragic. Never ever underestimate the power of catharsis.  A single episode of SoA will stretch your nerves past the point you would think possible and then shatter them like glass, leaving you completely wrung out but immensely more relaxed that you were before.

If You're Overwhelmed Watch: Friday Night Lights
We all make mistakes.  We all do things for which we think can never be forgiven.  We all face challenges we think we can never overcome.  We all confront the defeat inherit in our human limitation.   Inertia is a common response, but often that is the route to despair.  Or, there is the FNL route.  FNL offers an example of the unwavering belief that a life lived with dignity and humility is essentially beautiful and valuable; that the only true failure is to turn adversity into bitterness.  We won't always win the big game, but that doesn't mean we lost, as long as we persevere.

If You're Having Family Conflict Watch: The Riches
Imagine if all your ordinary family problems were compounded by living under a revolving door of assumed identities and sustaining your lifestyle by a series of ruses and rooks.  I promise, the Malloys will make you think your family is functional and normal, in an at-least-I'm-better-off-than-that type way.  Most families get the chance to deal with their problems but if you are preoccupied by what your name is this week and which string of your web of lies that you need to pull, it's more than likely that more typical family conflicts will not receive the attention necessary for resolution.  So at least that's not your family, right?

If You're Contemplating the Ultimate Meaning of the Universe Watch: Lost
Because any philosophy/belief system/principles/life path that you can come up with on your own is better than this gibberish.

If You're Rendered Incapable by Fear Watch: Pushing Daisies
Fear is totally natural, it's part of our instinct for self-preservation.  But allowed to run wild fear can swallow our life.  Every character on Pushing Daisies was afraid of something, and more often than not that fear led them to keep secrets that eventually hurt someone they loved.  Even so, the Pie Maker and his cohorts all faced the choice between fear and the bright magical colorful world and (eventually) none of them picked fear.  This show threw the world into relief: everything was just a bit exaggerated because (every so often) that is how we have to see the world in order to remember that it really is a miraculous gift to us and our fear will never be worth loosing that.

The TV Girl

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