When a conversation goes bleak what topic lifts it back up? TV shows! It is a far safer subject than the news (depressing), music (too winding), and sports (hit-or-miss). For the most part, everyone has a show or shows they can’t get enough of. Sharing one’s top programs and accepting recommendations in return create mutually beneficial exchanges by both parties.
I was never an avid TV watcher until I started dating my boyfriend. Although I had watched Weeds, That ‘70s Show, and Breaking Bad sporadically, I never was committed to finishing a series start to end. Harry would swiftly change this. I recall the first night we decided to watch Dexter. We had returned to my apartment from a whole day’s worth of football tailgating and we were deciding what to do. Slightly buzzed and thoroughly drained, we decided to start a new TV series. Memory leaves me who chose the show, but low and behold, the first episode of Dexter was watched, and a new era was born.
We think fondly of the nights spent lounging on the couch watching Dexter’s story unfold. Our relationship transformed over those eight seasons, but the one thing that stayed the same was our excitement for the routine-viewing. We spent our day-to-day apart but knew when night fell, our favorite serial killer would return.
After Dexter, we watched Sons of Anarchy—and we could not have imagined it would become our “holy grail” show. My boyfriend and I spent hours of time watching Jax discover his place in the club and learn who he could really trust and those he could not. Loyalty, betrayal, love, and heartbreak are accompanying themes to the drama. At this point, you must be thinking, “these two watch heavy shows so what does that say about them?” Rest assured, our affinity for killers and biker-violence was purely that of cinematic origin and not applicable elsewhere.
Watching these two shows, for their dark themes and disturbing twists, may seem quite advance for a new couple looking to keep the newfound relationship lighthearted. Contrary to what you may believe, our exposure to Dexter and Sons of Anarchy strengthened our relationship in many ways. The arising themes—no matter how taboo—made room for many constructive conversations. I learned more about my partner from his reflections of the subject matter and interpretation of the character development. Discussions, which at times included disagreement, made our communication open and honest. Every painful moment and teary ending was ours to privately share and cope with as a unit.
House of Cards followed in succession and it was not since our Dexter days we were confronted by a main character with such a shaky moral compass. The Blacklist began shortly thereafter. When we lived in Madrid for 6 months, we watched The Magicians, Suits, and Daredevil. Even though we were living in a foreign country with novel experiences around every corner, it was always refreshing to feel at home with our American TV programs. Proceeding shows would include Ray Donavan, Silicon Valley, Westworld, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and 13 Reasons Why. When we are looking for a guaranteed laugh during a TV “dry-spell”, Impractical Jokers is always there for us. Right now, our guilty pleasure is Vikings and we are proudly on the fourth season.
I never knew the sort of conversational power I would attain from the depth and breadth of programs I have seen over the years. I can meet a person far different from myself and perhaps have little in common with them. However, if they have seen the same show as me, it is fair to reason we were probably both on the same emotional rollercoaster at one time or another. That commonality is enough to spark a friendship or, at the very least, initiate a thoughtful dialogue. Shows let us escape to new worlds, confront different viewpoints, and question our own values and beliefs. Here is the best thing of all: your refined perspective remains long after you binge-watched a show to its very end.
The majority of shows mentioned were watched with my boyfriend, however, I can proudly say I have completed both Master of None and Girls on my own (both 10/10!). He, too, has watched a handful of shows solo. It is always nice to find your perfect TV companion but do not fear going at it alone!