Every day, there’s usually one or a few things that remind me of some very important life lesson I’ve learned through TV shows and have been reinforced through very defining circumstances in my life. I want to credit TV shows. It seems they are so quickly and easily dismissed. You watch them and think the world of them, but as soon as you reference them, it suddenly becomes this marker that highlights you a very odd color.
So with respect for all the work that goes into writing, directing, and acting out a truly great show, shout out to: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Boy Meets World, Scrubs, How I Met Your Mother, The Office, Community, and Dexter. I am positive that most shows have something, or many things, very valuable to share, but these shows have influenced me greatly. If I were to be truly blunt right now, these shows have had the same degree of influence on my character that my family and friends have.
I’m going to try to succinctly sum up the value of these shows in my life.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, (1990-1996): For all that this show was and is and will be (which is, easily, simply brilliance), I think it has shown me how to enjoy everything in life, to see the jokes and the ironies and the beauty even, and perhaps especially, when I’ve lost or am losing something or someone.
Boy Meets World, (1993-2000): This show so easily displayed the value of a group of friends who are decent people that it’s easy to miss it under something like the genius of Mr. Feeny. The show so believed in the power of connecting to someone with whom you resonate emotionally that it makes perfect sense to describe what Mr. Feeny was to the crew, above all else, in one word: friend.
Scrubs, (2001-2010): Somehow this comedy program seemed to be at its best when it was not funny but when it was dramatic and serious and brutally honest. I think, to be as concise as possible for such a great show, I’ve learned about the power and importance of inner thoughts, mental preparation, and honest-to-God reflection.
How I Met Your Mother, (2005-2014): In many ways, this show is very similar to Scrubs to me in that it was at its best when it wasn’t necessarily funny but when it was poignant and hopeful. It has shown me many ways we can have and experience love. More importantly, it has shown me, though naive as it may be, that patience isn’t always rewarded, but the reward can be pretty sublime. And that Puzzles is the perfect name for a bar.
The Office, (2005-2013): “There’s a lot beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point?” Life is what you make it. One of the shows I’ve re-watched the most.
Community, (2009-2015): This show was good for many reasons, but I think the strongest among them was that it never seemed afraid to do what it wanted. And through all the straying and experimenting, it was resilient; it always came back to be a little weird and mostly honest and maybe too obscure. I think Abed said it best: “When you really know who you are and what you like about yourself, changing for other people isn’t such a big deal.” I live by that.
Dexter, (2006-2013): Aside from all the cool kills and amazing timing moments, I think this show has a lot to offer. It reinforced in me the idea that, “Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” It helped me understand that I could, on some level, identify with a (fictional) serial killer. It helped me realize that sometimes all it takes to do good is to channel your bad appropriately. It showed me that smart and aware television characters exist. Other stuff, too. But I’m trying very hard not to just keep writing “cool kills, cool kills, cool kills” over and over.
Alright, I’ve finished. I don’t think this list is comprehensive. It consists of shows that have already concluded. If I need to add more shows, I’ll probably start a new list.
Thanks for reading!