Committing to follow a weekly television show is like taking an additional class. Whether it’s “The Voice,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Nashville” or “Gossip Girl” — yes, it really is the last season — if you decide you will devote yourself to following it religiously at school, you better prepare yourself for both the payoffs and the hardships.
Beyond the time commitment of watching the actual show itself, staking out your spot in the TV lounge — if you’re lucky enough to live in Butler, with its comfy chairs and working cable — and hiding the remote will take sufficient tactics and organization. It’s best to find a friend who also enjoys watching your program and divide and conquer — one person goes to the C-Store, WaWa or Studio 34 for snacks, and the other sits patiently in the lounge, giving anyone who attempts to change the channel a death stare.
I will never forget the time a friend told me that if I wanted to watch her show with her, which aired at 9 p.m. on Thursdays, she would be arriving at the lounge at 7 p.m. Yet this insane two-hour window seems to be necessary in the dog-eat-dog world of Princeton television watching.
Another time, I walked into a TV lounge to find three students in sleeping bags surrounded by calculus textbooks and organic chemistry modeling sets waiting to watch “Scandal.” Not only did I receive a look of pure hatred for barging in uninvited to their viewing party but also, as soon as I left, they sneakily positioned a chair so that it would block anyone else from entering the room.
I have many friends who give up in the face of the challenge and instead choose to watch “Modern Family” on ABC.com. Some of them are naive enough to believe Hulu is targeting commercials at them specifically, which would make for a better viewing experience; however, I can assure you I am not in the market for a smart car or switching from Google to Bing. Additionally, shows like “America’s Next Top Model” just lose something when shrunk down to iPad screen size.
For freshmen like myself, our last experience with television shows was either as second-semester seniors or this past summer while we “rested our brains.” It’s quite a shock to suddenly go from following any show on TV to making the difficult decision to slowly prune away the nonessential shows and decide which ones we need in our lives.
Insofar as my self-discovery in college is going, I know I need to be kept up to date with Blair and Serena’s antics. What can I say? It keeps me connected to my New York roots.
It’s time to accept that your strange television watching habits, like needing to have “Dancing With the Stars” on in the background while you do your Chinese worksheets or having a compulsion to online shop while watching “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” will soon be revealed to your roommate and friends. If you’re someone like me, who can only fully enjoy “Mad Men” while wearing footie pajamas, either man up or give up.
You can either face this new challenge head-on, deciding that you don’t mind being judged for watching “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” or deal with the potentially catastrophic consequences of not having your weekly fix.
To anyone successfully following two shows, I salute you. To anyone struggling to keep up with even one, I feel your pain. I have been having “New Girl” withdrawal since the beginning of the semester and may need to consult a professional about coping with these new stresses of college. Too bad that’ll be another television-less hour every week.