I think there’s something about certain TV show characters.
I’ve binged a lot of shows in my life -sitcoms, romcoms, dramas, everything. I’ve found myself getting lost in TV characters and their stories. There’s something about being invested in them that makes me hit that dreaded next episode button. Heck, I’ve even found myself watching fan edits and reading fan-fiction about some characters. When you become invested in their story, they can become a big part of your life.
The first show I watched properly and intensely was the Big Bang Theory. I haven’t shied away from criticising the show in my previous articles, but that doesn’t make it any less important. I started watching it with my dad in when it first aired in 2007, and even though I felt the show and its comedic elements went downhill, I still tuned in a few months ago for the series finale. It felt like part of my childhood was ending - the show had been in my life for eleven years.
Another show that really pulled at my heartstrings was How I Met Your Mother. The show captures the lives of five friends in the big city - which is the pretence for every sitcom ever - but somehow, each individual character makes you feel different things. It follows issues such as break-ups, cheating, losing people close to you, infertility and absent parents. I’ve dealt with some of those things in my own life and seeing it reflected on-screen did something to me.
The thing about TV characters is that they’re always there. They’re constant - things around you might change rapidly but your favourite show will always be there to watch when you need it. The sense of community that you get from a sitcom or the feeling of warmth from an amazing series finale can brighten your day.
I’ve found inspiration in them as well. When there’s an epic love story, it influences my own writing. When there’s heartbreak, I’ve translated the angst that worked in the show into my own work. There are real people behind the characters and words and feelings and that can easily hit home for you.
For example, I’ve been watching Jane the Virgin since it aired in 2014. I recently got around to watch the series finale and it made me cry - in fact, it wasn’t crying. It was ugly howling and blubbering and weeping. The show made me feel something. I felt like I was saying goodbye to an old friend. It’s so easy to get invested in them.
For me, I love the feeling of being involved. After watching ten seasons of Friends, I felt like I was a member of their group. After bingeing Orange Is the New Black, I felt passionate about seeing where the women in the show went. It’s okay to let yourself be uplifted by a TV show. Sometimes, it can be a distraction or even a coping mechanism to help you deal with things going on in your own life.
Never be embarrassed to embrace your love of TV shows and the characters within them. The people on screen can be our heroes - I’m not afraid to let myself be inspired by them.