Dear 90’s Television

9 Mar

Dear 90’s Television,

I just spent the weekend at a writing conference, and then spent the next four days in my apartment, sick as a dog (what does that even mean? Dogs are some of the healthiest people I know), and basically what I did during that time was watch two seasons of Wings.

Somehow I never watched this show growing up. And by “somehow” I mean that my sister and I were only allowed to watch TV on Sunday nights while we folded laundry. This means that we watched Frasier and Lois and Clark and I had crazy attachment to Teri Hatcher when Desperate Housewives came on the air, but couldn’t figure out why for two seasons. (I have an inability to recognize celebrities when they change costumes. It makes watching multiple tv shows with me a kick, I’m sure– “wait, that’s WHO? NO. NO IT ISN’T….oh. I guess it is. IMDB says so, but she’s blond, so that can’t be right.”)

It took my sister and I about four hours to fold two baskets of laundry. Our parents really should have worried about our fine motor skills.

When my mom went back to work when I was in middle school, I would sneak-watch Hey, Dude for the 10 minutes between when the bus dropped me off and she got home. I would listen so guiltily for her car you’d think I had pornography on.

I still don’t get references to Beverly Hills 90210 and Saved by the Bell, and I don’t really understand the fondness for Claire Danes.

So you’ll have to excuse my brain right now– I taught yesterday and accidentally said “witnesses” when I meant to say “weaknesses” and then said, “Of course, if there are witnesses in a poem, those are good to talk about too.” Then I giggled softly to myself for a few seconds while standing at the whiteboard holding the marker while my students contemplated whether they had a better chance of escaping out the door or the window.

I started watching Wings a few months ago, when a friend brought over Northern Exposure, which she had checked out of the library (Libraries! They have DVDs!). Have you heard of this show? Is it unacceptable for my generation that I haven’t? I don’t know. You tell me.

But I loved it. First of all, it’s about a Jewish doctor from New York who gets sent to Alaska, which is a WINNER of a premise. Also the female romantic lead is named Maggie, which is the best name in the world, and she’s a pilot and all-around can-do type of girl (Landlord! Plumber! Might shoot bears!). Which is who I am in my own head when not otherwise forced to confront reality regarding my extreme inability to use power tools.

I worked on a movie set for a summer and was banned from helping to build or take down sets, I stripped so many screws [insert joke here]. The diagnosis was that I wasn’t strong enough to apply proper pressure. To a handheld battery-operated drill. Also: incompetent.

This is a tough pill for a young feminist to swallow [insert joke here].

So Northern Exposure isn’t available on Netflix or hulu and unlike The Oatmeal, I’m also incompetent at using computers. (Wow– I really don’t know where I fit in this nerd-hipster world I operate in– I’m bad with power tools, computers, crafts, farming, I’m music illiterate….I’m even bad at drinking. Thanks, guys, now I’m having an identity crisis.)

The upshot being, I started on Wings instead of Northern Exposure because it’s available on Netflix instant. Do you know how many episodes there are of Wings? It’s one of those tv shows that has about 24 episodes a season and ran for eight years (172 episodes! shoot me now!). But one thing I am– I’m a finisher [insert joke here].

I will finish the hell out of this show, even if I hate it by the end. You can find me in my apartment, waiting for Crystal Bernard to cut her hair. I know she’s going to, because she looks radically different in the promo picture for the show than in any episode I’ve seen so far. I’m really on the edge of my seat. And by that I mean, I’m slouched down so far in my seat that I’m about to slide off onto the floor, my preferred position for watching tv when I’m sick.

Pray for me.


PS— Haha this long post has absolutely no coherent development or ending! No surprise that I thought this article was the funniest thing I read all week.


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