I’ve not had a lot of spare time for entertainment and recovery in what turned out to be a very busy month. This left me in a small quandary as Alex and I finished both a comedy and a hour long drama right before all hell broke loose.
My husband and I tend to always have a short form sitcom and a longer prestige piece in rotation depending on how tired we are at the end of the day. We’d run through all the comfort shows and couldn’t fathom testing a new something more serious.
I’m not entirely sure how but we decided to pick up two classic 90s era shows. For our comedy we picked That 70s Show and for our drama we picked the procedural NYPD Blue. Our expectations were that these would be easy to watch simple shows without much depth. And boy were we wrong.
I don’t recall watching a ton of television when I was a kid and I doubt I would have been allowed to watch gritty cop dramas. But the way folks kvetch about how network television sucks I went in expecting middle brow fare. Millennials have had both streaming and cable for so long we’ve come to expect tv that caters to our preferences tend to look down on anything made for the masses.
As it turns out, having to appeal to broad swaths of people actually has some advantages. Both shows are steeped in deep emotions and relatability. The writing is snappy and straight forward. The characters are multifaceted even as they work through their personas.
The fact that I’m relating to the struggles of a shitty racist balding drunkard detective and a pack of Wisconsin teenagers is probably a positive thing. Shared humanity is getting lost in consumer preferences and social identities.
We think unless we see ourselves on the screen we couldn’t possibly relate. And I’ll say I’ve appreciated more representation in entertainment as I often feel hopelessly un-relatable. A
nd yet I’m enjoying relating to humans that never even existed as portrayed by professional liars. So maybe there is something in that. The human experience is the thing, not that the experience must demonstrate it’s connection to your life.