By Jenni Wright
Some shows take you back. Sometimes they take you back to your grandparents basement, where you fiddled with 31 different remotes, trying to figure out how to turn down the sound while you watch Sex and the City. And sometimes they take you back to painful spaces, like when you were stuck in a Nor’easter in your 380 square foot apartment in Boston, where the water wasn’t working but Mad Men was available on On-Demand. When you watch them, they transport you to that time and place that you became obsessed with them. I bring you my favorite shows that remind me of the significant moments in my life.
Show: Real World
What was going on in my life: early teenage years, didn’t have a driver’s license yet, still had braces, very concerned about where my locker would be located in high school, spent a lot of free time at the Woodfield Mall, owned a Sony discman
What I was secretly fantasizing about at this time: escaping the Midwest, living in a loft apartment with a group of interesting people, having a boyfriend, taking public transportation to work, looking down at people who lived in the suburbs
Why I became obsessed with The Real World? Because I was 14 and wanted, desperately to be 30. And The Real World offered a view into what I pictured adulthood to be like – living in a mansion sized apartment in an expensive city, spending your time with beautiful people from all over the country and arguing about everything, all the time.
Show: The West Wing
What was going on in my life: my college boyfriend picked me up from the airport in Chicago the day I moved back from spending a summer in DC, he promptly dumped me
What I was secretly thinking about at this time: Getting back together with my boyfriend, being more successful than my boyfriend, boyfriend losing all friends and respect, finding better boyfriend
So why did I get obsessed with the West Wing? Living in DC was realizing my Real World dreams. I lived in a cool city, had interesting friends, had early twenties relationship problems and had a job that (sort of) helped the world. Then I moved back to Illinois to start graduate school and was swiftly dumped. That’s when the actual real world stepped in. I clung to reruns of The West Wing on Bravo like a much needed hit of oxygen. President Jed Bartlet was the all-encompassing father figure, religious leader, boss and teacher that I needed at that time. I would watch episodes in between classes and when I heard the opening note of the W.G. Snuffy Walden musical score playing as the American flag flickered in the background, it seemed like everything would turn out just fine.
Show: Game of Thrones
What was going on in my life: I was living in Los Angeles in my late 20’s, gainfully employed but hating my job, recently broke up with my boyfriend, attended a silent yoga retreat in attempt to figure my shit out
What I was secretly thinking about at this time: the meaning of life, where it all went wrong, all of the choices I’ve ever made
So why did I get obsessed with Game of Thrones? Primarily because I cannot handle even 3 days of a monastic lifestyle. After 72 hours of eating vegetarian food, chanting, doing yoga, not using electronics, not speaking and going to bed at 8pm, I snapped. I needed wine, I needed steak. I sought out a friend who would indulge my carnal side. And that’s when he introduced me to Game of Thrones. Beheadings. Breasts, everywhere. Incest. Eunuchs. A woman eating a horse heart. Yes, please. I wanted to devour all of it in one glorious, drunken night. Watching Game of Thrones exposed me to the simple truth that there’s a beast inside every man that stirs when you give her cable television.
Jenni Wright lives in Los Angeles and supports House Stark.