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.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Top 5: Shows I Enjoy Watching Collectively

I've been having a really rough week.  The kind where you want to cry all the time and you don't know why.  Everything that everyone says makes you hurt but not because they're mean or rude, just because, well, because.  In that frame of mind I feel this ridiculous need to justify myself, to explain not only why I am NOT ashamed of the amount of TV I watch, but also why I love to write about it.

TV can connect you to other people.  It's more than if you have show in common you have an easy conversation topic with another person (You watch Fringe? I watch Fringe! So that thing with Peter, what's that all about?), even though that is amazing for socially awkward people like me, and I have friends with whom I can have lengthy conversations entirely about TV.  (Every time KP and I hang out in a group our friend roll their eyes when we start talking TV, knowing if they don't intervene we won't stop.)  It's more than that.  Recommending a show to a friend lets them get to know you better; you trust them a bit more by granting them access to your opinions and thoughts, when you agree it becomes a bond, when you disagree it become fodder for debate and seeing things in a new light.  When you watch a show with someone you create the memory of that act, and when you watch that show later it makes you think of that person.  I adore the texts I get from friends that say "I was watching such-and-such today and it made me think of you."

So in the spirit of TV as act of community, these are shows that I prefer to watch with other people.  I will watch these shows by myself, but if I have the chance to share them with someone else I will, because it makes already enjoyable shows so much more enjoyable.

Burn Notice
For Sis and LilBro this is like OUR show.  I'm not sure how, I'm not sure why, but somehow it became our go-to show to watch when we're all in the same place, usually only a few days at Christmas now that we're all adults and such.  And without them I just don't enjoy the show as much.  I still like it, just not as much.  Sam seems funnier when my brother is there to laugh with me.  Michael's schemes seem more outlandish and fun with my sister cheering along too.  At this point it almost feels like a betrayal to watch Burn Notice on my own, like I'm cheating myself and my siblings out of the lazy hours, bottles of wine, and random bullshitting conversations entailed in watching.

Battlestar Galactica
I will watch this show anytime, anywhere, with anyone or with no one.  While I do not love it any less when flying solo, watching BSG with other people is one of the supreme joys in my life.  I can tell when, where, and with whom I watched every episode of this show, and all of that information informs my relationship with Battlestar Galactica.  The mini-series was an adventure in Christopher and Calah's apartment, our second semester of grad school,  their infant daughter alternatively laughing hysterically or crying depending on how much attention we were paying to the show.  The first time I saw "Unfinished Business" I only caught half the dialogue because Jennie, Jason and I were occupying a table at the Knight's of Columbus in Dallas where Tom was tending bar and it was a raucous night.  (Of course, the immensity of that episode wasn't lost on us, we understood even without the sound.)  The revelation of the final five Cylons has less impact on me than I think it should have because I was watching by myself on Mal in the middle of the night, in my room in the apartment shared with the roommate who frightened me.  The finale was extra sad because it was the end of "BSG Viewing Party at the Russells'."  Watching BSG together made a little fleet out of me and my loved ones, no matter how far flung we get.

The Office
Awkward humor is so hard for me to take, even though I love many shows that revolve around awkward people doing awkward things that make me feel awkward.  Therefore, I'm more likely to turn off an awkward-humor show if I watch by myself.  (At least the first time I see an episode.  Re-watch isn't as bad, but that necessitates getting through it the first time.)  The Office is the best example of that personal phenomenon.  If it's just me I get about 2 minutes in and bury my head in my arms and then can't watch anymore.  If I'm watching with a group I bury my head in my arms, but the solidarity with others keeps me going, and I'm better off for it.   This is a show where without other people it wouldn't have happened and I'd hate if I'd have missed the many wonderful seasons (and don't forget that this show was really wonderful for a long time) of the Dunder-Mifflin bunch because I get going when the going gets uncomfortable.

Doctor Who
A major theme in Doctor Who is the fundamental need for communion.  The Doctor always has a companion, things go to complete fuckery when he doesn't.  So it makes sense to me that traveling with the Time Lord is just more fun when my blue box (aka my blue couch) is occupied by more than me.  Especially since I spend so much time while watching Doctor Who going "wait, what the bleepedy-bleep just happened?!?"  It makes me feel less like a crazy person when there is someone to hear those exclamations.
Also, Doctor Who has the tendency to float you along on jaunty adventures and quippy dialogue only to sucker punch you with devastation and tragedy (Davies, I still don't forgive you for Donna); the comfort of a watching companion or two gentles the experience because there is a hand to grab when something exciting is happening but also someone to pass the box of tissues when your heart (inevitably) breaks.  Plus, accent decoding is much easier with multiple ears.

The O.C.
This show is so ridiculous and awesome and awesomely ridiculous that it demands to be watched with others.  The Cohen-Atwood-Cooper-Roberts blended family is always a joy to watch, but it gets so much better with a friend to simultaneously roll their eyes at Marissa's dumb-ass-ery or get a little equally verklempt at those perfect Ryan and Seth moments.  I have happily spent many an afternoon cleaning and organizing to the background of soapy sunshine and emo antics, but the full glory of The O.C. (the touching family moments, the funny declarations of love, the sad sad car accidents) really comes into being when observed in conjunction with good friends.  And by good friends I mean people who have an equal lack of shame and love of upper-middle-class drama.  Or just people who drink as much as you do.

The TV Girl

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