Thursday night. Any Thursday night.
I'm sitting on my sofa, a big bowl of warm pop corn in my lap, and my Tivo's remote in one hand.
I excitedly click on the main button and go to the programs list to find the next episode of Gray's Anatomy.
While I watch the show, laugh at their jokes, and get teary eyed when so and so died/broke up/argued, etc. a thin line of insecurity enters my mind and immediately I think of how pathetic it is that I am wasting my Thursday night in watching this stupid American TV series that sometime in the first season had an interesting plot and has grown to be as predictable and commercial as any other show of its kind.
This thin line of insecurity soon becomes a thick mass of regret when I think about all the people who are actually doing something worth it - changing the world, moving up, growing beyond their human limitations – while I am sitting on my big fat ass watching a show that in no way is making me grow as a woman, a professional, a human being.
Ok. So that's the negative part of this essay, now let's go to the part when I show I am a groupie.
About 5 years ago, driving around with N on a Friday night and constantly switching radio stations, we were caught by this nasal, yet attractive, voice and a story plot that I no longer remember but must have been very interesting as it kept us for about an hour sitting in our car, unable to turn off the radio, because we needed –I mean NEEDED- to keep on listening until the end. This is the effect that most This American Life's stories have on us.
For those of you who don't know, This American Life is a show on NPR that runs every Friday night at 7 pm. The show is split in 3 or 4 acts, each one of them tells a different story about a specific topic for the week; for instance, "houses of ill repute" was a program where 3 people: a college drop out, a retired man in Brooklyn, and a journalist assigned to the White House, talked about the things their houses/apartment ones of "ill repute".
The show's host is this guy called Ira Glass. I have to admit that from the moment I first heard him, I've had a little crush for him. I had never seen his picture until he was promoting a series of talks about his show, so it wasn't that I was attracted to him physically (and actually, up to the night of his talk I believed he was gay), but my attraction to Ira Glass was more of an intellectual kind – his voice, his questions, the insight he gives us on every person's life through a short 10 minutes story is deeper than any message I've received through TV – ever.
As I always do when there's some person that I find extra fascinating, I created this Ira Glass persona for myself. I trendy guy, tall and skinny, wearing nice glasses, with a cigarette in one hand and a pencil in the other one, writing notes about the next show, and questions for his next interview, sitting in a minimalist office with a nice view of Chicago. This Ira Glass, MY Ira Glass, would watch the Discovery and the History channels, know all about the classics, listen jazz and indie rock, and spend his afternoons doing Yoga or meeting with friends of sushi.
Little did I know, and again, this is something I learned on the night of his show, that Ira Glass actually spend his weekday nights watching TV with his wife (yes, a WIFE – contrary to my illusions, he is not gay), and that's not all – actually, one of his favorite shows is, are you ready for this?, is The OC.
So, here's what I think about The OC: a bunch of over-privileged teenage brats, lost in a world of consumerism, empty lives, untrusting relationships, and idiotic parents, all living together in a nice little county with an spectacular view and nice weather every day of the year. The OC is to this era what
With this as a background you can imagine the shock, the disturbance, the commotion caused on my little world of "Ira and I" when my perfect image of Ira Glass was being shattered by the notes of a song about
Ok. I'm no stupid, so obviously I overcame this very easily and actually I've used it for my advantage. Here's how: If Ira Glass watches the OC, sings to its theme song, and is not ashamed of confessing that he even got a bit teary eyed when the OC ended, then probably watching vain Tv shows is not as bad as it seemed – after all, if he, my idol in radio programming, watches the OC, what is the problem is spending a nice, relaxed little night of the week watching Gray's Anatomy, or Battlestar Galactica, or Lost, or Heroes, or America's Next Top Model? I, like any other hard working human being deserve to allow my brain to rest and absorb all the nothingness of these TV shows. What would happen with me if all I read, see, listen to, is only culture, learning, philosophy, politics, and all that crap? I would probably be killing people up and down, and eventually would drown myself in some old lady's pool. But that is not the case, of course.
So thank you, Ira Glass, for admitting that you too watch worthless shows and waste your time like many of us do. I have learned to accept me and my TV habits so much better just because of your words.