I’d like to say that I don’t watch much TV, but that would be very untrue. I didn’t used to watch much TV, but first I met my husband who is not happy unless he is watching many hours of sports every week, and then I became a parent, and let me tell you, TV is the greatest invention ever for parents. I would love to be that mom who would never DREAM of letting TV take the place of meaningful interactions with my kids, but let’s be serious. We do intensive parenting at my house, and by the end of the day, we ALL need a break. TV to the rescue!
That said, I don’t watch many shows on TV. It’s mostly sports at my house, which is fine by me. Where do you find greater stories than in sports?! I am not a team-focused sports fan: I am a story-focused sports fan. And if there are tears at the end–of joy or defeat–so much the better.
But when I’m not watching sports, you might find me watching one of these:
1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s not the best TV show ever made (that would be Firefly), but it’s my all-time favorite entertainment of any kind. Joss Whedon will always have a very special place in my heart as the matchmaker who brought me and my husband together (not that Joss Whedon knows of this important role he played in my life), but my husband and I bonded over our love of the Jossverse, especially Buffy and Firefly. I knew right away that any man who loved Buffy (and had four cats!) was the man for me. We pretty much always have a rewatch of Buffy, Firefly, or Angel going, and we have very nerdy conversations ranking our favorite Buffy episodes. (My #1: “Hush.”)
I even have a Buffy lunchbox! I use it at work to carry my pens and markers to class, and it always gets a few comments from my students (many of whom have NEVER WATCHED BUFFY. HORRORS!) And a special shout-out to my friend Elizabeth who first insisted that I get over my prejudice (high school cheerleader type fights vampires? LAME!) and watch this show. She was so, so right.
2. Firefly. Greatest TV show ever. Period. It’s not even close. Exquisite plotting, world-building, and dialogue.
3. Veronica Mars. There is so much that I love about this show, including Veronica’s adorable pit bull, Back-up.
4. Freaks and Geeks. Another crying shame of an early cancellation.
5. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Another show I resisted watching because I thought it sounded stupid (despite my fondness for the Terminator movies). This is a much better show than you might think, and the acting is really strong. Oh yeah, another stupid early cancellation.
6. Friday Night Lights. There are actually a lot of things that drive me crazy in a bad way about Friday Night Lights, but Coach Taylor and Tammy Taylor make every episode worth watching. Connie Britton, I have such a crush on you.
7. So You Think You Can Dance. My son and I are totally, totally obsessed with this show. We practically jump up and down on Wednesdays because it’s So You Think You Can Dance night.
8. Project Runway. We are also totally obsessed with Project Runway, and the new season starts July 24!!!! So excited. My son has A LOT of opinions about fashion–and also about people’s behavior. Because one of the less savory parts of this show is the human drama. (One reason I love So You Think You Can Dance is that it is ONLY about dance. No snark. No Mean Girls–or Mean Boys–drama.) I wish there was more sewing and less saying nasty things about other designers, but that’s a minor quibble.
9. Supernanny. I love watching Jo-Jo sweep in and fix people’s chaotic family lives. This is another show I love sharing with my son. He learns so much about family and relationship dynamics and about appropriate family behaviors for both children and parents. The very first time we watched it, my younger son said he wished Supernanny could come to our house. My older son snorted at him and said, “What are you talking about? Mom could practically BE Supernanny.” One of my favorite compliments ever. And just so you know: Jo-Jo’s stay in bed technique TOTALLY works! Took 51 times of putting my younger son back in bed one night, but we’ve never had a problem since. Follow through, parents, follow through!
10. The Dog Whisperer. I’m not sure what it says about me that my life gurus are Buffy, Tim Gunn, Supernanny, and Cesar Millan. I’m also not sure what it says about me that I’m constantly imploring my pre-service teachers to watch The Dog Whisperer. But I have learned so much about the intangible qualities of good teaching from Cesar. There are amazing lessons here about energy, body language, listening, leadership, presence. This is another terrific show to watch with my son–so many opportunities to learn about people and relationships. Also, cute pit bulls!