The road from “girl I just met” to “fiancee” is a rather long one. It’s taken me two and a half years to make the journey, and there have been many transformations along the way. You take on certain characteristics of the person you’re dating after that long of a time. For example, I now go to the gym and don’t eat macaroni and cheese every day. Her? She watches a lot more TV and plays a lot more video games.
But before you think I’m a bad influence, I’m proud of the way I’ve molded my girlfriend into someone who appreciates good pop culture, as it’s a rather integral part of my life and job. Before, her favorite shows were Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars. I mean, they still are, but at least I’ve gotten her to broaden her horizons.
This timeline shows the gradual process in which I tried to “nerdify” my girlfriend, where “nerd” is not an insult, but rather someone who has knowledge of and good taste in media. We’ve come a long way, and if I can do it, anyone can. You don’t need to have identical interests to someone you’re dating at the start, you can grow them over time. See how below:
May 2010 – True Blood
True Blood served as kind of a kicking off point for us. My girlfriend is indeed something of a Twilight fan, though thankfully not a crazy one. So another vampire series seemed logical, and it would help introduce her to the overly sexy and bloody HBO so that perhaps she might get into an actually good show someday like…Game of Thrones.
True Blood actually starts out pretty strong, but once they start introducing absolutely insane amounts of creatures from Werepanthers to Faeries, things kind of go off the deep end, and we fled the series before season five as it was just too wacky.
September 2010 – Arrested Development
I had to get this one in early, because if she didn’t like Arrested Development, this thing we had wasn’t going to last. I was worried it wasn’t going to be her type of humor based on her usual affinity for chick flicks, but I was wrong. She loved every episode, and passed the baseline test of media sanity.
It was kind of funny to see her go through the process that we all did when we first watched the show. “This was cancelled? W-why? It’s so good! How could anyone ever cancel it?” “And that’s why we never trust Fox sweetie.”
January 2011 – Dexter
I wasn’t sure if she’d get into Dexter, but it’s a very addicting show no matter what kinds of things you’re normally a fan of. You think you couldn’t relate to a serial killer, but you’re wrong, and he’s just a dynamic character all around and the show is addicting.
She watched every single season until she caught up to when it was actually airing each week. We’re both looking forward to when it comes back next fall, though Showtime might not exactly be in the budget by then.
June 2011 – Friday Night Lights
While I was unsure about many of these selections, I knew that without a doubt she would love Friday Night Lights. If you strap someone to a chair and make them watching three episodes of this show, they will like it, guaranteed. If not, they may be a sociopath.
Even watching through all five seasons a second time was fun for me, as I forgot just how damn GOOD this show is. She didn’t appreciate my love for Tim Riggins, and now she jokes that I have a man crush on Taylor Kitsch. Which is probably true.
August 2011 – Call of Duty/Portal
My girlfriend used to be an avid gamer back in the day, but her favorite titles are Sonic the Hedgehog and Crash Bandicoot, and she hasn’t played much since. She did like Doom however, and was curious to try the most popular FPS series around these days, Call of Duty.
I hooked her up with some Black Ops bots and soon she was blasting them away while laughing maniacally and cursing. It was a proud moment. I cautioned her against trying to play against real people online, and needless to say, going 2-16 every game as opposed to 20-1 against bots is far less fun.
She really did like Portal for a while as well, but I wasn’t able to get her all the way through to the end. I wasn’t exactly helping matters by squirming in my seat every time she couldn’t figure out how to solve a puzzle. It’s a really hard game to watch someone else play if you’ve already beaten it yourself. When I took the controller from her to get her past a level, I realized I made a huge mistake, and she didn’t really care to play much after that. But maybe someday we’ll return to it. Portal 2 co-op?
December 2011 – Firefly
This one was going to be a reach, as even as an admitted sci-fi fan it took me probably six episodes to really start to like the show. We spaced out an episode probably once every week, and slowly but surely she began to like it.
It’s a testament to the power of Whedon that even someone who couldn’t normally give two shits about sci-fi can make someone like such a show just through the power of the characters and storytelling. Strangely, she didn’t care much for Serenity, the movie. I suppose it was kind of a different tone, and she, like everyone, didn’t understand the need for Wash to die in such a cavalier way. Damn you Joss!
February 2012 – Heavy Rain
Now this is an interesting one. Soon after I got my PS3, I was blazing through all the different games I’d missed over the years. She didn’t even blink as I went through Uncharted, God of War and Infamous, but Heavy Rain? “That looks cool,” she said.
And it was. So much so that she started her own playthrough. It’s not so much a game as it is a 12 hour interactive cutscene, but she got so into it, she was even playing it without me around. Unfortunately, if you DO manage to mess up the quick time events during the important segments, you don’t lose, it just takes your story in very, very dark directions. She managed to kill all the main characters and let the killer go free, and reported back how much she hated the ending. I had to load up my game to show her the “good” ending, which made her feel a bit better about the way things turned out.
April 2012 – Game of Thrones
I did it. I told you, I’ve been planting the seeds. She’d seen the show before, and turned up her nose at the beheadings and whores fisting each other on camera, but once I forced her to sit down and watch it from the beginning, she couldn’t deny it was good.
She’s currently three episodes into season two, but has seen the last three or so with me when I watched them live. It’s tough for me to watch them again if I’ve just seen them a week or two ago, but I have to find a way to get her to fill in the blanks before I lose HBO. Which is quite soon.
June 2012 – Dollhouse
Now the conversion is complete. Without any provocation, while surfing through Netflix she found Dollhouse. It stars Eliza Dushku, who she likes, and she recognized Joss Whedon’s name from The Avengers and Firefly. She started watching it without even consulting me, and was raving about it after the first episode. It is a touch disconcerting she keeps saying she wants to be a doll though. “It would be so cool!”
She’s finished season one in three days, and I couldn’t be more proud. It’s cool if you’re dating a girl who likes all these things to begin with, and I’m sure you had plenty to talk about on your first few dates, but the accomplishment of getting a Pretty Little Liars/Gossip Girl/Twilight fan into Firefly, Game of Thrones and Dollhouse is something to relish.
What’s next for us? Well, I’m apparently going to start jogging, and she is going to watch Battlestar Galactica, she just doesn’t know it yet. I’m also taking recommendations if you have any.