Some people don’t watch much TV, which is fine. If they are nice about it. But more than once, I’ve had to bite the hell out of my tongue when ‘Oh, I don’t watch television’ comes with a condescending little smile. Or even more shockingly, ‘I don’t own a television’. As Joey from Friends once put it perfectly (as he did so many things, sigh)... “You don’t own a television? What’s all your furniture pointed at?”.
But you know what, you smug-faced, self-impressed, patronising tool? I don’t mind that you think I’m an idiot for just comparing your legal case at work to one that was once on Boston Legal, because I’m going to come right out and say it. I didn’t say it to your face at the right moment, because I was busy obeying your belittling little smile and feeling exactly how you wanted me to feel - like a square-eyed, uneducated dickhead whose legal knowledge is limited to only that of Denny Cranes’ pearls of wisdom. But now is my chance to be out and proud, so here goes.
I fucking love television.
Television has been a wonderful parent to me. Unnecessary, indeed, as I have two wonderful parents already. But nonetheless, it has guided me, educated me, entertained me, embraced me and consoled me like a rectangular parental figure. From the small square grey box with the fishbowl screen we had when I was a kid watching Widget, to the heavy brown set with retro built-in legs and an inability to show the colour red (so the patients on Chicago Hope had a particularly awesome queasy green tinge), to our current fancy flat-screen with USB capabilities and a warm goodnight hug (just kidding. I don’t hug my television... ahem...). The television has always been the beloved fifth family member, growing and evolving with us and always demanding we spend quality time together.
Thanks to television, I am abundant in qualifications. It may not be on my résumé, but I am actually a highly qualified surgeon. I could do an emergency tracheotomy with my eyes shut, thanks to Grey’s Anatomy. Except of course, I call it a ‘trach’, because there is no time to be using the full term when you’re in the ER. Speaking of which, ER also contributed to my medical training. I know what a Hemopneumothorax is and how to fix it. You just stab a tube into the intercostal space and drain the pleural*. I didn’t even have to look that up – I KNOW IT WELL. And I also know that repeated myocolonic jerks can mean a blocked brain ventricle. Cheers, House. You may be a grumpy bugger, but you gave me a degree in Diagnostic Medicine. Dr ‘McDreamy’ Shepherd, hottest brain surgeon in Seattle, has the same fearless approach to surgery as I do – ‘inoperable’ is just a word. He and I can carve any damaged brain into a masterpiece.
Speaking of carving like a master, I am the best chef in town. Thanks to Masterchef, My Kitchen Rules, Ready Steady Cook, and a million other culinary classics that television has brought me. I know how to make a mulit-coloured Croquembouche, and cook dinner for sixty people in three hours using only the ingredients I could grab from an industrial fridge in thirty seconds. I’m sure it will come in handy, and why do I have such faith? Because television taught it to me.
My supreme experience in finding a new angle to advertise health-damaging products. Mad Men. My ability to summarise a legal argument into a ball-busting, uplifting closing statement. Boston Legal. My skill at extracting accidental confessions of defaming truth from secretly evil interviewee subjects. Newsroom. My recipe for cooking crystal meth**. Breaking Bad. I can blind-date, renovate, mediate, epilate, meditate, investigate, and lose weight. Television has taught me more valuable lessons than my entire teenagehood of private school education. Okay, that’s not strictly true – school taught me a lot. But if I took the same hours I spent staring into space during Yr 11 Chemistry lessons, and replaced them with episodes of The Big Bang Theory... I’d probably be a ground-breaking scientist by now.
My favourite, most life-affirming moment of television appreciation was last year on a Contiki tour. As our tour guide talked to us about the incredible history of Washington DC, we all interjected our impressive collective knowledge of the memorials, the Presidents, the Constitution, ‘Amendments To Be’... a solid and informed (and sometimes musical) history of America, garnered entirely from episodes of The Simpsons. And then when we got to the Lincoln memorial, and our tour guide pointed out the Gettysburg address, I realised that I could cite the first four lines from memory, thanks to Channel Nine and their regular showing of Kindergarten Cop. In fact, my knowledge of American History was right up there with that of the tour guides’. Thanks to The West Wing, The Simpsons, and a square-eyed childhood.
|The Simpsons - Educating children since 1989.|
So, douchebag who gives me a pitied smile for being able to quote every episode of Friends ever made (which means I will never have to Google triskaidekaphobia, the capital of Colombia, or the Mastodon from the Pliocene Epic) - just because I watch a lot of TV, it doesn't mean I don’t love reading, because I adore it. Just because I watch a lot of TV, it doesn't mean I’m a dim-witted dunce, because I’m not. I just fucking love television. TV has made me laugh with Ab Fab and Cheers, made me cry with Grey’s and Toddlers & Tiaras, taught me how to be smart, how to be sexy, how to be rich, how to...
I gotta go. The Block is on.
* Relax, my Med friends, I will not do this. Not without my Attendings’ supervision and permission from the Chief – I wouldn’t want to get in trouble.
** Relax, cops, I will also not do this. Not without Jesse Pinkman.
By Lucy Gransbury. Follow her on Twitter @LucyGransbury. Or follow her in real life. She's probably watching Scrubs.