Television Addiction: A Great Way to Make Friends – TBT

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Over the month-long semester break between Fall and Spring, I watched as my friends back home developed an all-consuming addiction that chewed up entire days and nights of their lives.

They discovered LOST, one of the greatest TV shows of all time ever.  At the time, ABC had every single episode on their website, where you could watch as many as you could stomach interrupted only momentarily by 15-30 second ads dispersed amongst each episode in about five places.

They lost themselves in it and they didn’t offer to take me along with them.  I would come over to a friend’s house, and there they were, huddled around a screen in a dark room, flailing violently in response to enigmatic plot twists as if they had completely lost control of their limbs.

The best plot twists have a devastating effect on the central nervous system.

Some nights I would pepper them with pesky questions about what was going on in the show.  “I thought their plane crashed on an island and they were castaways.  Why is there a cloud of smoke that is murdering people?”  “Why is he having sex with her?  I thought they were brother and sister.”  “You’ve already seen this.  What’s in the damn hatch?”

I tried so hard to stay away.  I told myself it would never be me, but then the teasers for Season 4 began airing.  The survivors were going to be rescued!

In January of 2008, I tried watching LOST for the first time.  I was immediately addicted.  Every spare minute of every day I spent in front of my computer.  I had to catch up before the next season began!

Homework fell by the wayside.  New Year’s Resolutions of getting out of my dorm room and making new friends were forgotten.  LOST had taken over my heart and soul.

Binge-watching will be the downfall of civilization.

I’m not proud to say that the addiction was cut off cold-turkey.  It wasn’t a decision of my own.  I just ran out of the stuff.  I had to wait until season 4 was aired, one episode per week.  Three seasons of 20+ episodes each and I had managed to chew through them in less than two weeks.

With my LOST addiction no longer occupying so much of my time, I actually did get around to that homework and friend-making.

LOST was moved to Thursday nights.  My Spring schedule gave me Fridays off from class.  I had a beer pong table, a fridge full of cheap beer, and an amazing TV show to celebrate my three-day weekends.  It was perfect.

It became a ritual for my new found friends, even ones who didn’t watch the show (they were put in the corner and shushed when they asked questions about what the hell was happening).  When those white letters popped onto the black background with a triumphant horn and percussion combination signaling the conclusion of that week’s episode, we would explode into speculation as we returned the couches to the common room and unfolded the ping pong table.

Arts and entertainment have tremendous power to bring people together.

Beyond just the incredible, intricate, philosophical journey that LOST took me on, it also served as an inauguration for weekends of binge drinking and getting out of my shell to make friends.  It wasn’t just a profound narrative experience, it was a big part of growing up for me.  For that reason, I will always hold the show dearly in my heart.

Do you have any TV shows or movies that you associate with important periods in your life?

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