Some of my favorite memories of adolescence and early adulthood center around TV shows. Yep, it’s true. I fell in love with certain shows, and like any deep friendship or passionate relationship, they taught me invaluable lessons about myself, my world, and played a huge role in the development of my identity.
It all started with Agent Scully. I was 11, and that was (oh my god) twenty years ago! She was my hero, my role model, my crush, my god. I cried two weeks in a row when her character (abducted by aliens) wasn’t in the show. I longed for her and Mulder to admit their love. I learned about the deliciousness of unrequited passion, took into me the sweetness and thrill of the smallest subtext. I was an x-phile throughout middle and high school, and god help anyone who tried to come between me and that one hour time slot! (Remember those desperate and dark days before DVR and streaming?)
A few years later, I discovered Xena: Warrior Princess and I took it to a whole new level. It wasn’t one character I adored, it was the fact that ohmygod those two women are in love and it’s on TV! E ven in the relatively enlightened 90s, a lesbian relationship was not openly portrayed on the screen. They weren’t making out… But if you watched, it was obvious. I enthusiastically drank the koolaid and joined the Xena subtexter cult. By this time the internet was around, and I could use dial up aol online to access the primitive but oh so abundant world of fan sites, discussion boards, and fanfic. My baby dyke self had truly come into the world, riding a horse and waving a sword.
Although no TV show has since come quite as close to turning me into an obsessed cult member since X-Files and Xena, I have had a few that did provoke binge watching and discussion board surfing. I have to believe that the sweeping passions of the teenager years are numbered for a reason, and thank god, but here are some of the biggies from my twenties: Lost (because hello?? Lilly Evangeline, ohmygod, and Kate and Jack together, ohmygod), Game of Thrones (got me through my darkest babyloss days), and Orange Is the New Black (because Alex, duh).
I got so close to all of the shows above, that I think of them just like my favorite books: a part of my life and a part of who I am. I wonder which parts of pop culture will play that role in my daughter’s life someday?