I was raised by TV. Sort of. TV has really always functioned as a sort of third parent for me. It’s taught me so much. Like, when I meet one of Those People, a Mr and Mrs “Oh, we don’t even own a TV! hahahah!” I’m a little sickened. What do they point all of their furniture at? What do they do when they get home from work? How do they even function in normal, everyday society? Screw those people! TV for life!
One of the greatest things TV has ever done for me (and I’m ashamed I’ll never be able to give back to TV and make it feel as warm and fuzzy as it makes me feel) is teach me that there are people out there that are like me. If you’re a weird person, all you have to do is turn on the TV and meet some new friends. TV doesn’t judge you if your pants are getting a little tight around the waist, television isn’t going to ignore you because you showed up to the surprise birthday party and got so drunk that you vomited in the trash can and then made out with their spouse!
TV is your friend, and it’s got a ton of friends inside of it. All you have to do is turn it on, and meet people you like. I’ve been an avid TV-watched for decades now! And in that time I’ve met a lot of people I’ve liked and related to, and I’ve made up a list of just a few of them.
Lisa Simpson in The Simpsons:
Like a lot of children of the 90s, The Simpsons was my bread and butter. I wasn’t exactly allowed to watch it, but I swear I must have been watching 3 episodes a day at one point. And like many other weird and bookish little girls, I found solace in Lisa Simpson.
Lisa was just like me! She came from a loud family in which she didn’t exactly fit in. Her catchphrase was “I’ll be in my room.” She was different, and it was okay!
She’s perpetually an 8-year old but I think she’s wiser than I’ll ever be. Plus, she’s the reason I wore a hideously unattractive and unflattering tie-dye t-shirt for an entire summer when I was 11.
Seth Cohen of The O.C:
Like any high school misfit, I related to Seth Cohen. I liked geeky things, I listened to bands that my friends didn’t know, and I was deeply and incorrigibly sarcastic. Wait, why is that in past tense. I still am all of those things. And I’ll probably never change. It worked out for Seth. He got the popular girl! He married the popular girl!
Season one of The O.C premiered as I was entering high school, and the fourth aired as I was graduating so it’s like the TV gods appeared in my lap and said “Look, we’re showing you that it’s okay to be all of these things! Just let your freak flag fly and you’ll do fine! Plus, you’ll know about Death Cab for Cutie before everyone else!”
Rory Gilmore in Gilmore Girls:
I think any teenage girl with a mom has at one point or another wished they were the Gilmore Girls. Here’s a mother and daughter who endlessly quip about pop culture, eat the kind of foods that kids at fat camp dream about, and seem to function relatively well in the outside world.
I identify with Rory in that I, too, always have a book in my face (I hold my book so close to my face that people think I’m making out with it.) And okay, other than that, Rory and I don’t have a ton of similarities. Sure, we both have grandmothers with acid tongues, and we love hamburgers, and we ramble and cite endless inconsequential examples when we run out of things to say!
Team Rory and Jess, forever!
Liz Lemon from 30 Rock:
The first time I watched 30 Rock, it was like an epiphany. I had these strong feelings of like “Oh, so you mean I can admit that I’d rather stay in pajamas and watch Star Wars than get gussied up in my newest frocks and hit the town?” and “Oh, it’s okay to be a funny woman who unknowingly spends an inordinate amount of time with lettuce in my hair? Perfect!”
Liz Lemon gets me. She makes me feel less alone- like all great characters should.
Abed Nadir from Community:
I’m awkward. I’d rather spend my time thinking about characters in movies than trying to socialize or relate to real people. When someone is trying to tell me a story, my brain is running a thousand miles a minute trying to think of times a similar situation has happened in a TV show or movie or book, and then giving advice on what happened when the fictional character did it.
Is it weird that Abed and I share a wardrobe that features solely cardigans, pop culture t-shirts, and hoodies?
Hannah Horvath of Girls:
The way I relate to Hannah from HBO’s Girls can best be expressed by quotes from the show:
- “You are from New York, therefore you are just naturally interesting.”
- “Hey Marnie, if you had read the essay and it wasn’t about you, do you think you would’ve liked it?”
- “I think journal implies a 13 year old girl who rides horses, and is obsessed with her mom and it’s not what I’m doing.”
- “I just want someone who wants to hang out all the time, thinks I’m the best person in the world, and wants to have sex with only me.”
- “These aren’t crotchless panties. These are just underwear with holes in them.”