05 February 2007

Fanatic.

Fandom. Fangirl. Both internet word creations, from 'fanatic', defined by the dictionary as "marked by excessive enthusiasm for and intense devotion to a cause or idea; 'rabid isolationist'." I never, in a million years, would have called myself a fanatic about much of anything, until recently. Fan? Yes. I'm a fan of women's rights. I'm a fan of a good curry. A fan of jazz, swing, the blues, even a few contemporary artists like Dave Matthews Band & Def Leppard, plus one or a thousand others. But fanatic? No. Not so much.

I've never understood the rabid craziness that develops over certain TV shows; to wit, Survivor, Fear Factor, American Idol....I'm often left wondering who the heck watches this stuff. And I shake my head in amazement that someone, lots of someones, actually, get paid to produce such dreck. I have always been proud of the fact that I've never obsessively followed any television show...most of the time, I'd rather read, knit, cook, whatever, than watch TV.

A large part of that is because of the way I was raised. I did NOT have a television in my bedroom growing up, in fact the very idea was pretty horrifying to my parents. (I wasn't allowed a phone in my room either. At the time, I thought I was such an underprivileged child. Now, I get it.) There was no television in the living room. If my sisters and I wanted to watch TV, it was in the basement rec room, at a very low volume, under pretty strict guidelines.

  1. All homework must be completed, in such a state that either parent could review it and see that it was done. Nothing half-assed. They never put it that way, of course, but they always asked to see it, and frequently sent us back to do it over, do it more neatly, do it right.
  2. Stations we were permitted to watch were limited. Not that the 'rents thought that MTV and VH1 were the devil incarnate, far from it, I did watch MTV, but we weren't allowed to watch things like Dynasty, Dallas, LA Law, thirtysomething, et cetera.
  3. We were allowed to watch Unsolved Mysteries with both parents, once a week. Thursdays, I think.
  4. On Fridays, when the parents had their weekly date night (and I must have been 12, 13, 14 by then) we were allowed to choose what we wanted to watch, as long as it was still appropriate for my baby sister, who at 9 years younger than me would have been 3 when I was 12. So we watched A LOT of PBS miniseries, like Anne of Green Gables, The Little Princess, and for a brief while, a show on network TV, Beauty and the Beast, which starred Linda Hamilton. (I admit to it only under duress. My excuse is that I was 13.)

So I never ever watched Alf, Cheers, or things like that during the late 80s, and by the time the 90s rolled around and things like Friends and Seinfeld were popular, I no longer cared. Comedies on TV have only every irritated me. I might be the only person in America that's never seen a whole episode of Friends or Seinfeld. Sitcoms especially, I think are awful. The format of 1/2 hour, with a live studio audience, laugh track....ugh. I'm smarter than that. I hate laugh tracks with a passion.

A funny aside, OT for a minute, when I lived in Sweden, I saw "Tool Time" (starring Tim Allen) for the very first time. The Swedes called the show "All Thumbs". Channel surfing one day at the host parent's house, I stumbled across it on a satellite station, and at first, honestly thought that this show was produced entirely in the same manner as Saturday night live skits. I truly believed that this show was just making fun of American TV, until I asked another ex-patriot, who informed me that "Tool Time" was in fact one of the most popular shows on American TV. Perhaps you knew it as "Home Improvement"? Yeah. I knew that.


I'm not completely out of the pop-culture loop, but if you want to beat me at useless trivia, start asking questions about sitcoms. I'll be lost.

So a few years ago when DH got into "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", I was endlessly entertained that he could honestly give a damn about what was happening on the show. Then, because he watched it, I started watching it. Good writing. I liked it. We ended up taping the last 3 seasons because it ran on a night when we had other obligations. I wasn't too worried if I missed an episode. I felt the same way about the Buffy spinoff, "Angel". Liked it, definitely liked looking at David Borneaz, but again, if I missed it, no big. After both of those shows went by the wayside, DH found other things to watch (including Firefly, Dark Angel, One Tree Hill, NCIS....I could go on. He's a much bigger TV addict than I'll ever be.), but I didn't. Until 2005's new crop of shows came out, and I noticed one called "Supernatural" in TV Guide, which I had purchased for DH, someone he likes was on the cover. Don't remember who. But I read the articles about the new programs, and thought, 'huh. I might want to watch that one. Looks interesting.'

I have a pretty short attention span and limited short term memory when it comes to what's on TV, so of course I missed the pilot, the second show, and finally caught an episode on the third try, one called "Dead in the Water", which aired in September of 2005. Scary, at turns funny, and the guest star had been a regular on Angel, so I watched and wow. Loved it. But life gets in the way of television viewing in my world, and I didn't see another episode until I asked for the whole season for Christmas in 2006. I'd seen the news that the CW picked it up for a second season and thought, good, maybe I'll have a chance to see it now.

Since I'm a pretty spoiled brat, and I get almost everything that I want, I got the first season of the show for Christmas as requested, and watched it over about 3 days. I was completely blown away. The production values...it looks more like a movie that a TV show. The writing....every episode has moments that make me laugh, startle me, sometimes terrify me, always make me think. The acting.....the two male leads have the characters nailed, besides the fact that they're two really good looking men. Really, really good looking men. I read an interview somewhere with the series creator, a fella named Erick Kripke, and the interviewer told him that fans would probably be happy to just watch Jensen Ackles (who plays Dean Winchester) and Jared Padalecki (who plays Sam Winchester) read the telephone book to one another for 40 minutes each week. True! I would. But they do so much more than that. The acting is fantastic.

Never in my life have I ever felt this way about a television show. Ever, ever, ever. I had a bumper sticker in college that said, "Kill your television" . In my mid 20s, I worked with a group of women in a small enclosed space (read that a vault. Yes, I worked in a vault. A cash vault, at the big ol' bank. Stories for another day.) and they watched "Everybody Loves Raymond", "The King of Queens" and something else that I thought was horrible just from listening to them talk about it, but can't remember what it was called. I was in my last year at Uni then, working full time and going to school 4 nights a week until nearly 10pm. They got offended when I told them that unless it was on A&E, Discovery, or TLC, chances were that 1. I wasn't watching it and 2. I never would. Plus I might have mentioned to them more than once that I think sitcoms are stupid and an extreme waste of time. I wasn't the most tactful woman back then. I have learned over the years to be lots less abrasive when talking with people about TV....now I just usually smile and say, "I watch a lot of movies, but not very much television, sorry."

I've never followed the antics of any TV characters. Celebrity gossip, yeah, I'm down with that. I read Hot Gossip on MSN, and can't let a day go by without my fix of the Go Fug Yourself girls. Antics of celebrities make my life seem so normal in comparison. But to know what Susie did on last week's episode of Comedy XYZ, no way. Dear God, never ever been one to watch the soap operas. Shoot me.

But not only am I interested to see how the story goes with this show, I'm also fascinated with Jensen Ackles. This is dumb. I'm a happily married woman who lives in the middle of the red states, fer gawd's sake, not the girl who had posters of Joe Elliott (Def Lep's lead singer, sigh.) or Chad Allen (who is out and proud these days) wallpapering her room that I used to be. I'm just a few years beyond that.

I'm an adult, with a stable job, a great house, a loving husband. I live in the real world, and I know that is it unlikely in the extreme that I'm ever going to meet this actor. I know better. I'm not a schoolgirl anymore. Even if I did by some strange chance meet him, WTF would I do then? Besides act like a moron. DH thinks it is funny, thank goodness. Wouldn't want a jealous husband added to the insanity that is my life. Plus now when DH teases me about how he has a girlfriend, (which he does to yank my chain) I can tease right back about my boyfriend in Vancouver.

Here's why I'm into it, though. My work? Sucks right now. I don't talk about my work on the interweb, so let's leave it at that. It sucks. The weather here in Oh-hi-ia? Sucks right now. Local schools have been closed since Thursday due to extreme cold. I like the cold, but this is a bit much. Wind chills today are in the -20 F range. I don't normally wear a coat, but today I have on long johns, lined wool trousers, a long sleeved knit shirt, and a (lined) jacket that matches the trousers, along with two pairs of socks. Plus I wore my heaviest winter coat, even have a scarf, gloves, and a hat. The weight loss program? Sucks right now. I'm down a reasonable amount, and the hot doctor I see convinced me that I just need to be patient, take some time, and be content that I am at least losing and not gaining. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I want to be done with the whole losing thing and on to maintaining my target weight and appreciating my gorgeous self. So that sucks. Anything I've picked up to read lately? Sucks. I read that novel by Christopher Paolini over the holidays and didn't like it much. Nothing I've picked up to read in Sci-Fi/Fantasy has been any good lately. My hair? Boring. My wardrobe? Uninspired. Not that my life is terrible, far from it. It is just...ordinary.

Supernatural? Doesn't suck. Not even a little. Rocks my world, frankly.

And if being obsessive over a television show is what it takes to get me through this winter, so be it. But Jensen? Honey? If I was single....

4 comments:

MotherMe said...

OMG I totally hate tv, too.

(Dibs on Sendhil Ramamurthy... Or Hugh Laurie, in a pinch!)

Lucy Arin said...

As long as I still get Jensen, it is all good.

Hugh Laurie is a really good actor. Going to have to Google Sendhil Ramamurthy....dunno who that is.

I've never been into TV, ever, and I'm wondering WTF is wrong with me? Winter blahs? Bored? Not enough to do? Right. As if.

~Lucy

MotherMe said...

For me, TV is a low-fat alternative to emotional eating. Unless, of course, you couple it with emotional eating. Then you're in trouble.

Lucy Arin said...

Can't eat anything when SN is on, might miss something. I spend the time that the show is on sitting on the edge of my seat, periodically shrieking, but most of the episode has me grinning like a loon as I watch the two boys.

Besides, due to the diet, there's nothing to snack on during TV watching at my house other than carrot sticks. No chips, no popcorn, no candy....except the eye candy.....
~LA