Growing up, my brother and I were a little different from our companions. Yes, we were really scrawny, and yes, we took radishes in our lunches, and yes, I almost exclusively wore stirrup pants from Lands End, but there was something else about us that made our friends gasp. We. Didn’t. Have. Cable. Our parents remain unnaturally proud of this. They imagine that they saved our lives by robbing us of cable. Or that they enriched the world. Or something. When they tell someone this (full of pride. Like bursting at the seams with pride.), the response is always “Oh! Your children must be so creative! They must be so different!” This is so fucking laughable to me. I have the creativity of a corpse, and my brother’s idea of creativity is flirting on the internet.
Our lack of creativity is probably derived from one very important source: we are obsessed with television shows (also my brother is writing his dissertation, which I imagine robs him of a lot of free time in which he could be, say, screenprinting flyers or, like, knitting little cozies for his ipod). We never had the opportunities our peers had to hang out with Kelly and Zack and Slater. I never got to grow up with Michelle and Stephanie and their dad with the unfortunate hair and their annoying neighbor. I couldn’t tell you what the Wonder Years involved, and I thought Blossom was about some girl with a green thumb until college. That means that we don’t know what you’re talking about when you talk about television. Because we are two individuals who secretly want to fit in, we are trying our hardest to catch up with you. In the break room at work, I want to talk about the Office, goddamnit. I want to know about ER! I want to know about Heroes and Lost and all those other shows about which I know next to nothing.
This is why I have a very enthusiastic appreciation for television shows. It might be unhealthy. It probably is. I have next to no standards regarding television, as I have no, say, childhood gauge for television. If it is trashy, and even remotely interesting, I will probably be obsessed with it. I will watch re-runs of the stupidest things with the greatest interest. I’m talking Designing Women here. And Newhart. And Salute Your Shorts. Pete & Pete. Goddamn Seventh Heaven. These things are so foreign to me that they’re incredible. In a heroic attempt to save my brother and I from rotting brains and a “ruined” childhood, my parents inadvertently set us up for adulthoods of deep, sincere television loves.
I didn’t by any means have an oppressed youth (that title was merely a hook). I had a nice, quiet childhood full of impending anxieties about my future. My friends growing up were Felicity Merriman, Playmobil and Breyer horses. It was fun. But now I am ready for television, and having new friends in the Buffster, Heidi Klum, and all of the fun people I have yet to meet on the mean streets of Baltimore.