The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Television Collision: TV Is My (Surrogate) Friend

Written by: Phoebe Raven, CC2K Staff Writer

ImageBy now it should be firmly established that I am a TV enthusiast, partisan, nut, addict, -holic. Therefore it should come as no surprise that I consume copious amounts of my drug of choice. In fact, there is seldom a minute my TV isn’t flickering, delivering stories and comfort to my home.
Most of the time I actually watch shows on DVD if I have the choice, because then I don’t have to deal with commercials or with the delay between episodes. Also, there is the advantage of being able to fast forward or pause.

Now, here’s the creepy part (and I am not free of shame admitting this): I actually can’t go to sleep anymore when my apartment is quiet. I always have some TV show running on low volume in the background, even if I know I am way too tired to actually pay attention or if I have seen the episodes a hundred times. I have a strong preference towards the shows lighter in tone. Straight dramas don’t work well as white noise.

House was on heavy rotation for a good long while, but only the first three seasons. I also went with the Simpsons once upon a time, but they tend to be too high-pitched and screechy at times. Friends works pretty well too, and lately I have rediscovered Scrubs as an excellent light-weight narcotic.

ImageSee, as kids we have our favorite teddy bear or stuffed animal of some sort, maybe even a safety blanket. Then as adults we are told we aren’t supposed to have these things anymore or at least have to stop believing in their magical powers. So where are we supposed to turn for comfort? To the people we know, of course. Our friends and family. But they aren’t always around when we need to be comforted now, are they? Or even worse: what if you are actually single and don’t even have someone to cuddle up to?

Characters on TV shows are a little bit like surrogate friends. They will do until you can call your real friends again in the morning. If you watch a TV show long enough, either because it has been running for so long or because you have re-watched your DVDs over and over, you get to know the characters pretty well. At least if the writing is any damn good. And once you know them, deeper levels of their personalities open up to you. Suddenly you see why a certain thing one character says makes total sense, given where they come from. Or it just cracks you up, depending on what you watch.

ImageThe best I can do to make you understand is to conjure up this scenario from all our pasts: remember when you went to that party in your friend’s basement even though you had that big thing going on the next day you were totally stressing out about and then you had too much beer and there might have been some weird smell in the air from some special plant being burnt and you just fell asleep on the lumpy brown couch while your friends babbled nonsense in the background you knew you didn’t need to remember the next day?

Falling asleep to the TV is something akin to this situation. It doesn’t always lead to the deepest sleep and at some point you might have to rummage for the remote to shut up the bickering of Turk and Carla, but in the meantime you will never run out of fun and random quotes to throw into a conversation and earn strange looks from people not as addicted to TV as you. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Yeah, I really need my shows to come back from winter break so I can stop making these embarrassing confessions…





Recommended Collisions with your Television

(combine at will, all times EST, only new programming listed)


Tuesday, January 5th
 8 p.m.  Scrubs (ABC)
 8:30 p.m.  Better Off Ted (ABC)
 9 p.m.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS)
   Scrubs (ABC)
 9:30 p.m.  Better Off Ted (ABC)
 10 p.m.
 The Good Wife (CBS)
   The Forgotten (ABC)
Wednesday, January 6th
 8 p.m.  I Get That a Lot (CBS)
   The Middle (ABC)
   Mercy (NBC)
 9 p.m.
 Modern Family (ABC)
   Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
 9:30 p.m.  Cougar Town (ABC)
 10 p.m.
 Ugly Betty (ABC)
   Nip:Tuck (FX)
Thursday, January 7th  
Friday, January 8th
 8 p.m.  Ghost Whisperer (CBS)
 9 p.m.
 Medium (CBS)
   Dollhouse (Fox)
 10 p.m.
   Sanctuary (SyFy)
Saturday, January 9th
Sunday, January 10th
 8 p.m.  The Simpsons (Fox)
   NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS)
 9 p.m.
 Chuck (NBC)
   Cold Case (CBS)
   Desperate Housewives (ABC)
 10 p.m.
 Chuck (NBC)
   Brothers & Sisters (ABC)
Monday, January 11th
 8 p.m.
 How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
   House (Fox)
   Chuck (NBC)
 8:30 p.m.  Accidentally on Purpose (CBS)
 9 p.m.
 Two and a Half Men (CBS)
   Heroes (NBC)
   Fringe (Fox)
 9:30 p.m.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
 10 p.m.  Castle (ABC)
   CSI:Miami (CBS)