The first show I can clearly remember doing this with is Twin Peaks. On a road trip- in a camper, no less- I marathoned nearly the entire series at a downright breakneck pace. It was immediately after I had graduated from college, and saw nothing wrong with losing an entire weekend to a show that I knew would give me nightmares. I mean, any show watched that rapidly is bound to give you some crossed brainwaves here and there- but when its recurring characters include a psychotic furniture-crawler and a backwards-speaking dwarf in a dreamlike red room? Hold the hallucinogens, Hunter S, I'm seeing my own trails.
|This was my theatrical headshot circa 2002/2003. It has|
nothing to do with this blog post, but don't I kinda look
like a girl who has just seen entirely too much David Lynch?
The second show to get my undivided attention was The Office. Some of you can remember back when Nora was first born, and I got to experience that whole "babies make their own hours" thing. So she and I spent many a night pounding through the first handful of seasons of that fantastically whimsical comedy. We became a tad too invested in the unfolding love story between Jim and Pam, but that wasn't nearly as time-consuming as having to check under my bed for the Twin Peaks' Log Lady. I did worry that she'd get a Pavlovian response to dairy-based beverages whenever she heard the opening theme as an adult...but anything that kept me awake and nursing the correct part of my child at 3am was worth the risk. Besides, the only other negative to come out of that whole scenario was when I developed the unfortunate habit of berating P.J. a la Dwight Schrute.
And now, the magic of Netflix has suggested that I check out a Canadian series called Murdoch Mysteries. From my viewing habits of the BBC's Sherlock, CBS' Elementary, the old Poirot films, the televised Nero Wolfe, the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes oldies and repeated Nick and Nora viewings, it deduced that I enjoyed an occasional mystery. So I checked it out one evening as I folded laundry in between writing articles [I had been avoiding]. And I was hooked. A ridiculously attractive Victorian-era detective on the forefront of forensic criminology with forays into steampunk-esque inventions? Sooold. And I began watching them in earnest, pounding through the available three seasons at any given moment. Between blogs and reviews, I'd tell myself. I'll just have one on in the background while I fact-check this thing about...Oh my God, is this episode about time travel?! Soon I'd be watching them as "a reward." I earned this show. I'd give myself "a break" from my play's third re-write, telling anyone who'd listen [usually P.J.] that my brain was too tired to write comedy. P.J. went away for a weekend and I tucked myself into bed at 8pm each night with my laptop ready for hours of episodes-watchin'. (I missed him terribly, though. I did.) But eventually I had to admit to the fact that my increased TV viewing was directly correlated to the amount of writing work I had taken on [and was uber-lucky to have] but which was frightening my poor brain to death.
This realization came about when I found myself wishing I could trade places with a character on the show. Who was residing in a psych ward in the year 1900. Because at least she wasn't facing down a re-write of 16 scenes.
It was then that I stepped away. Started setting bedtimes for myself. Turned down writing gigs and ensured that the ones I took were finished in a timely manner and of a decent-ish quality. Because there's a time for escapism and a time for putting on your Big Girl Cap and doing your damn job.
Besides, I totally caught up on the series.