Escaping Reality (via Television)


Whenever I’m particularly lonely or depression is at it’s peak, I find myself becoming obsessive about some fantasy world.  I find some scifi/fantasy TV show and I completely immerse myself in it.  It’s never on purpose, and I feel myself disconnect even more from reality, but it gives me an escape from the world I can’t stand.  Once I get hook on a show (it usually takes about 6-8 episodes over a period of days/weeks), I not only start watching every episode, in order, but spend all my free time surfing the internet for more information.  It could be character back stories, other shows the actors are in, outtakes, or just general news about the show.  It’s gives me something to focus on besides my life.

Below are my past television obsessions,starting with the most recent, marked with years of peak obssesion.  I typically latch on to one show at a time.  Once it’s over, or I’ve exhausted myself (that can take years), I come back to real life for a while.  Once I’m sick of that, I find a new show to “watch”.

  • Doctor Who (current)
    My current obsession, and I don’t even like the show very much.  There’s too much time travel, not enough explanations of why things happen (give me some scifi rules to go on!) and it took me the whole first season to get hooked.  If I do look past the awful scifi and just accept it as fantasy, the show is a bit more entertaining than I think it’s going to be.  What really hooked me was the relationship between the Doctor and Rose.  At first a little weird, but once they started showing love toward each other, I couldn’t get enough of it.  I’m a sucker for a good love story.  i just finished season 2 and Rose is gone, so I’m not too excited about the remaining season.  i get attached to the characters and Doctor is known for it’s heavy actor rotation.  I just hope the episodes where Rose comes back are worth it.
  • Buffy/Angel (2006-2008)
    I got hooked on this pretty mush after the series ended.  Honestly, I couldn’t stand it when it was on. I can’t stand waiting week to week or month to month to continue the story.  It doesn’t give me that high I need from watching 6 episodes in a row (which I do more often than not).  Again, sucker for a good love story,  and what’s more epic than a vampire and a slayer? (for full disclosure, I’ve read all the twilight books and I am completely offended by Stephanie Meyer.  That woman should never be allowed near pen and paper again).
    I got lost in the whedonverse.  I followed news sites, watched random independent films staring tertiary actors, and found “dailies” showing unused footage.  This obsession actually started when I watched a countdown show of the most unexpected moments in television on a new year’s eve (seriously, how pathetic am I?).  They covered the musical episode, and from there I started watching, in order, starting at season 6.  That was a very dark and sexual season that got to me on multiple levels.  I found the outtakes from when Buffy and Spike had sex I would watch that over and over like fantasy porn.  I couldn’t get enough of Spike.  I’m still a James Marsters fan.
  • Charmed (2005-2006)
    Again, I didn’t start watching this show when it aired, but a few seasons behind.  I enjoy the idea of witchcraft and the empowering feeling I get when I practice.  I know this show is a hollywood bastardization of wicca, but I ignored what I had to.The Piper-Leo love story got to me, and also a bit of the Phoebe-Cole, good over evil thing.  Cole’s character/actor also got me trying to watch nip/tuck, but that pretty much ruined my fantasy of Cole.
  • Star Trek (the original series) (2004-2005)
    The first start trek I ever saw was Voyager, and I was content watching that on a weekly basis before bed.  It wasn’t until I was 18, and on spring break from college that I had the chance to watch the original series.  At first I thought, “Hey, and old 60s scifi show, this should be hilarious”.  It was incredibly campy, but after a few shows, I was hooked.  The stories were good, and I began to understand why Trekkies exist.  I used to qualify as one.  I could easily lose myself in the online fandom.  I tracked down as many star trek references as I could.  From Leonard Nimoy in futurama, to Kevin Pollack doing his william shatner impersonation.
  • ReBoot (1998-2000)
    This was my first ever obsession (TV or not).  this started when I was 10.  My parents were separated and I had mentally shut down from the rape.  I got lost in the computer world.  I was angry when I couldn’t watch the show.  I even made my mother change plans to go out so I could hit record on the VCR and not miss anything.  I trained my body to wake itself up at 1am to catch it when cartoon network changed the airtime.  This obsession is still with me, but in a controlled sense.  I just finished and AndrAIa cosplay outfit I hope to wear someday.

It’s not always about the plot thought.  Actually, it rarely is.  It’s always about the characters, and their relationships with one another.  When I’m lost in their world, I form attachments to them.  It allows me to feel something, safely, without judgment from the real world.  It’s sad, but losing myself in the fantasy is the only time I feel alive.

 

p.s. You’ll notice a gap between ReBoot and Charmed. This was when Harry Potter took over my life.  I don’t include it here since a) it’s not a TV show, and b) this didn’t withdraw me completely.  I made my best friend and bonded with her over HP.  I’m still a major HP fan and it’s universe is ingrained in my existence.  It’s part of who I am.

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4 responses to “Escaping Reality (via Television)

  1. Sentimental Asylum

    I can relate to so much of this post, especially, ‘I can’t stand waiting week to week or month to month to continue the story. It doesn’t give me that high I need from watching 6 episodes in a row (which I do more often than not).’ I have to be a huge fan of a show to commit to waiting a whole week for a new episode.
    Anyway, I guess it’s a common thing to get attached to fictional characters and live vicariously through them. It’s a wonderful escape, but it’s probably not the best coping mechanism.

    Just so you know, this post has convinced me to give Star Trek a shot.

    • I agree it may not be a great coping mechanism, but it gives something to look forward to. Sometimes that’s enough to get through the tough days.
      I’d be interested to know what you think about the Star Trek universe. Obviously, what I shared is my own opinion. If the 60s dialog get a little too much, The Next Generation and Voyager are pretty good and Voyager has a story arc that spans the entire season.

  2. Oh my god. I swear its like I wrote this. this is my life. Like 100%. Crazy. you said it perfectly. Its not the plot, its the characters and their relationships! You just immurse yourself in their lives and you feel like youre there experiencing it all with them and their lives become yours. When they go out on a date im nervous with them, when theyre in an action scene my heart pounds and im right there. I find out every detail about their lives and its just amazing. I try and explain this to people and they dont get it. my latest obsession is actually the nine lives of chloe king… Haha.. I know…

    • Yeah, I don’t know anyone who gets as obssesive as I do (or at least they don’t tell me!)
      I’ve actually never seen chloe king, but it looks interesting. I’ll have to check it out once I’m done doctor who.

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