Lessons From the Boob Tube
Growing up, Snuffleupagus, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and The Count faithfully reinforced the phonetic pronunciation, colors, and number counting that my parents taught me early on. Despite the fact that Snuffleupagus is reminiscent of a junkie highly in need of a fix and The Count, cape and all, evokes images of a glorified pimp (thank you Dave Chappelle – note, do not watch near children!), Sesame Street was highly educational for me. As an adult, with the selection of TV shows I have to choose from, I’ve recently found myself questioning whether the ones I watch are educational. After consorting with friends who are avid fans of the same shows, we’ve produced a roundup of lessons learned from our favorite TV series. So, without further ado…
CSI – the original series featuring Grissom, now Langston, is a stark reminder of how inept our real life police detectives and investigators really are. Seriously, they should go to whatever school Willows, Stokes, and Sanders went to because every week, within 50 minutes, these guys are able to go to a crime scene, make blood appear as if by magic, uncover obscure traces of human DNA (usually under a cat’s claw or a turtle’s nail), and nab the criminal no matter how quirky the back story, all while sorting through their sordid personal love affairs and shadowy childhoods.
Law & Order SVU – Detectives Stabler and Benson have taught me more than they will ever know. Like how I should never get into my car if a sketchy van is parked next to the driver’s side door, or how, when walking home from the train station late at night, I should walk in the middle of the street as it’s the most well-lit area of the road, and how I should be wary of, not only sketchy guys who offer to buy me drinks, but shady bartenders who can be bought off to roofie my drinks from behind the bar. I also have learned how to prosecute the sh*t out of offenders and how to catch them lying on the stand, and that moral issues (like having your mentally challenged daughter’s sexual development stunted by removing her reproductive organs) is never as black and white as one would think. This show makes me feel powerful.
Big Love – aside from the realization of how freaking normal my life is, being that I am the only wife in my household, Big Love has taught me a slew about the economics of sex, the politics of religion, and the bizarre handshakes folks do behind curtains in the Mormon Temple (seriously watch Season 3’s Outer Darkness episode!). A jolting expose of how there’s great temptation to justify destructive and immoral behavior by attributing them to a Higher Being. And maybe a reinforcement of the idea that monogamy is counter-intuitive…but it’s a two-way street.
House – that I’m obviously seeing the wrong doctor if I ever have an ailment that they are want to remedy. Clearly, bedside manner is an elective and that a callous attitude and narcotics addiction are key to being able to solve obscure, or sometimes all-too-common, medical conditions.
Watching television these days is making me feel pretty, d*mn smart. I’m currently enjoying being psychologically evaluated by Gabriel Byrne in In Treatment and looking forward to the upcoming season of Mad Men. Stay tuned (no pun intended).
Posted by Elizabeth