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A love letter to television

May 16, 2012

In her autobiography, television journalist Barbara Walters says she initially decided to take a job in television because the medium was already having an extraordinary impact on the world. This was in the early 1960s.

Fifty years later, and I couldn’t agree more with Walters: television is exciting. As an aspiring journalist, I see all the possibilities television presents. It allows news programs to bring an event happening in one part of the world to an audience thousands of miles away. It enables an audience to see a presidential candidate squirm in a debate as he struggles his way through questions. It opens the door for body language and facial cues to be observed. Perhaps most importantly, it gives journalists the ability to report a story anytime, anywhere, thanks to 24-hour news networks.

That’s all great; I love it. But beyond that, I spend hours upon hours each week catching up on my favorite television shows (in fact, my other blog, fivecornerreview.wordpress.com, can attest to that). From soapy dramas that take me away from my realities to comedies that keep me smiling, I love television. So much. I’ve already posted a blog about the lessons I’ve learned from certain television shows. This one goes farther.

A lot of television shows make the airwaves every year. Several survive. Many do not. But every once in a while, a show comes along that may not necessarily change the face of television, but rather, allows me to understand the world a little bit better. “Boy Meets World” did it, for I know I had some Feeny-like teachers during my lifetime, but I also know I learned things from that show that stay with me. The power of friendship, education, and love are themes I try to evoke in my life. “Gilmore Girls” and “How I Met Your Mother” continue to comfort me as I watch my DVDs and see reruns (or, in the latter’s case, new episodes). They teach me about life in a less outright way, they provide an escape, and they put the world in perspective.

But most recently, “Grey’s Anatomy,” with every episode, teaches me about the world. It seems like every week, a moral is taught – but not just any moral: a moral I truly need to hear. When I was going through a crisis of change, the episode that week was about how much people don’t like to change but must. It was about letting go and moving on, two concepts with which I continue to struggle. When I needed to appreciate things more, the episode centered on an alternate reality. The friendship between Meredith and Cristina is one I adore. Their friendship – the way they count on each other; they fight, but they always find their way beyond the petty nonsense; most importantly, they care about each other above all else – is that of being each other’s “person” and knowing that no matter what is going on, they’ll be there in a heartbeat if needed. Being lucky enough to have that kind of friendship in my life is a gift for which I will always be grateful.

I guess the moral of this blog post would be to all those television show producers, writers, and creators out there: what you do matters. Your product, beyond the couples and storylines and fandom, matters to people out there trying to find their way. I’m a fan of your shows, but more than that, they’ve taught me about the world – fictional or non, intentional or not. So, thank you.

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From → Miscellaneous

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