Arts & Crafts Magazine

8 Things I Have Learnt from American TV

By Bertyc @bertyc
This is not a post about knitting, stitching or baking. Nope, not this time.  I am going off topic.  Change is good and all that.
This time the post is about television. More specifically, my love for American sitcoms, comedy-dramas, dramedies. I was a teenager when Dawson's Creek was on T4 each Sunday and I may have been known to record episodes of said 'drama' onto VHS. This was in order to rewind to the scenes that made me laugh the most or where my current TV idol/crush said something I thought was terribly clever.
You know the show, it was the teen drama that had overdosed on angst, with too-old actors playing too-young parts with too-clever lines that didn't reflect their screen age or even their real age.  I digress.  The point is, is that this is an example of how much I love US television series'. As a teen in the 90s, if you were in your bedroom listening to and obsessing over awful bands like NSync or the Spice Girls or even good bands like REM or the Chilli Peppers, well, I was in the front room hogging the TV and re-watching scenes from Dawson's Creek, Buffy and Angel for the 37th time. Because those characters, I thought, were saying clever things to each other.  Just as you thought Take That or REM were saying important things, so I thought Joey and Pacey were good role models. My obsession just required a dictionary to aid translation.
So recently, I have started watching Grey's Anatomy. Because I needed a new fix of clever, unbelievable yet simultaneously conventional story lines from Stateside with a bunch of unfeasibly attractive characters...and the angst. I am addicted to the one liners, the relationships, the 'medical' information, the angst and did I mention it can be really quite cheesy?  This is not a bad thing, people.  Lets never forget the television gold that was the scene in which Owen Hunt describes, completely seriously, the woman he falls in love with (Cristina Yang) as 'a fine single malt Scotch'. These moments are to be revered. Cheesiness is part of what I love about these programmes. And the angst, of course.
So you get the picture, I love American TV, I love Grey's Anatomy, I love Cristina Yang. And I love the angst. This is why: 
1. It is ok to be a badass.
    Cristina Yang doesn't care if other people should have a chance at things.  She is excellent, she is not afraid to show it and she puts herself first.  This means she gets where she wants to go.  A excellent surgeries, recognition, independence, a handsome husband with a sensitive side. Lose a few friends along the way? It doesn't matter, you got the solo surgery.  Ok, this is not a good rule to live by but a healthy dose of confidence can be good! Cristina is strong and confident and likes to speak her mind.  I'd like to be a bit more like that sometimes and I think other women should too. It also allows you to be rude, blunt and tactless.  Bonus if you, like me, enjoy being rude an inappropriate! And if you offend someone, say something clever and all will be magically forgotten!
    2. It is ok if you're not a girly girl. 
    This extends to hugging and emotional outbursts.  Embrace being dark and grumpy.  GA's Cristina and Meredith.  For the record I am quite a girly girl but sometimes I don't feel like being girl, or like hugging and emoting.
    3. Sometimes being a slightly oddball underdog is a good thing.
    Zoe from Nurse Jackie is a good example here. Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, too.  The lesson here is that you should embrace your inner weirdo.  Zoe is not afraid to have a party on Nurse's Day.  Sheldon is not afraid to create three person chess.  It's inevitably what people will love most about you.
    4. Angsty, unrequited love will mean you are a more likeable person.
    The Office's Pam and Jim, Big Bang Theory's Leonard and Penny (from here on in to be referred to as "Lenny"), The West Wing's Josh and Donna. All angsty. All fantastic. They were the cornerstone of their respective shows. The heart. Did I mention the angst?  Just don't actually stay in the relationship, then you become bored.  It's why I'm still interested in Lenny but why I'm a bit bored of Pam and Jim.
    5. Women can be multi dimensional, interesting, funny, clever and it is ok to see this on tv.
    Grey's Anatomy Meredith Grey, Nurse Jackie's Jackie, Modern Family's Claire Dunphy, Mad Men's Peggy Olson, should I go on?
    6. Men can sometimes be one dimensional annoying and it is ok to see this on tv.
    How I Met Your Mother's Barney Stinson, Modern Family's Phil Dunphy, the whole cast of Entourage, ok you get what I did there.
    7. You can use your position of power as leverage in your relationship.
    If you are a surgeon and you are annoyed with your boyfriend you can shout "GET OUT OF MY O.R." and that alone is worth all the years of training to get there.
    8. There is a lesson in every single work day that relates to the exact emotional problem you are having
    We return to Grey's Anatomy for this one.  King for the symbolic patient who always teaches their doctor a lesson about their own life.  They dedicated a whole episode to a heart in a box that advises them on their emotional lives.
    And that is what I have learnt from American television. And why I can't get enough.
    My friend, Dani, who blogs over at A Girl Bakes in Brooklyn, will be doing a guest blog (probably from Brooklyn) next week. She is the American Anglophile to my Anglo Americanophile and has a serious case of Brit TV love.

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