If you're like me, a student with no free time and a knack for finding ways to procrastinate anyway, you probably have a close relationship with your Netflix account. You've also probably developed emotional connections to television series and characters, and there's no way you're ending that anytime soon. As unproductive and time wasting as it may seem to those who don't live this magical lifestyle, it's actually quite rewarding. Rewarding in the sense that these shows and fictional characters that I've come to love and feel for, have taught me a lot of valuable lessons. Lessons that I wouldn't have expected to encounter but appreciate nonetheless. Here are just a few of the many:
Gilmore Girls: I started watching this show in middle school, around 2006, 2007. I fell in love with it immediately. The fast pace conversations, the quirky, close mother- daughter relationship, and the unusual, yet adorable small town setting with its cast of unwavering gossipy, loyal characters all reeled me into the Gilmore world. One of my favorite aspects of this show was definitely the realism portrayed through the situations the main characters found themselves in. It wasn't over-dramatic and the issues that arose weren't blown out of proportion. What the characters experienced felt very normal and natural to me. I believe this show truly captured the essence of what it's like for young people dealing with school, and the future. The family dynamic was challenged because it wasn't your typical situation. Rory was raised by her single mother and for the most part her mom was all she had. Her father was not completely out of the picture but the relationship was fuzzy. What I find interesting is the major contrast between Rory and Loreali's relationship and Loreali and her mother's relationship. The show put it out there that your mom will either be your very best friend or she won't be. It's not a negative portrayal, just a different perspective. It taught me that relationships can be tricky. It taught me that your family is the people you surround yourself with. It's not always necessarily your blood relatives. People come and go throughout our lives, but those who love you will always find a way to be there for you. You may fight and say things you don't mean but at the end of the day you realize that those you have an easier time being angry with are the ones you love the most. They're the ones you know no matter how intense the disagreement was you will always find a way to work things out.
One Tree Hill: On the other hand One Tree Hill was a roller coaster of dramatic scenarios. There was constantly something happening in these characters lives. From the very first episode to the series finale there were rare moments when the seas were calm and their lives weren't being turned upside down. When push came to shove, however, this cast taught me life will throw you curve balls. You'll be pushed down time and time again and it may seem that your life will consistently decline, but there's always hope. You will always have the people you love there to support you and bring you back to your feet. Things will go wrong, You may loose your way and end up bruising yourself to the point where you can't find the strength to keep moving forward. That moment. When you're about to give up. That's when you need to work harder. That's when you need to push yourself. That is when you see who truly deserves to be in your life, The people who care for you will show up. They will do everything they can to be there for you because they love you. The people who are there for in your happiest moments as well as your worst are the ones you need to cherish and hold on to as tightly as possible. Those people are hard to come by, but when you find them you'll wonder why you ever doubted that you would.
How I Met Your Mother: I had known about this show for years but never got the urge to watch it until I spoke to a friend who gushed about how much her and her boyfriend loved it. I figured "Why not?" Let me just say as soon as I started that first episode I was hooked. The humor was right up my ally, the desire to find true love and acquiring that said love melted my heart as well as the camaraderie displayed through the group of witty characters. I watched episode after episode, staying up late to keep up with the lives of Marshal, Lily, Robin, Barney and of course Ted. The end of every episode always left its audience with a lesson to learn from what went on within the lives of its characters. Although it consisted of mostly comical scenarios there were also moments where the audience learned the deeper issues these people were dealing with and confronting that was masked by their humor towards every situation. We watched the ups and downs of Marshal and Lily's relationship and how they learned to deal with marriage, we observed Ted go through multiple relationships believing that every girl he met was "the one", we rooted for Robin and a successful career and we were continually concerned with what trouble Barney was getting himself into. We learned that love is messy and doesn't always work out. We learned that there may be more than just one "the one." We learned that, although it may take time and a life changing event, people do and can change for the better. We learned that you don't necessarily need to be in a relationship to live a happy and successful life. We learned you have to fight for who or what you want. You have to learn to make sacrifices because that's what love and life are all about. Compromise. We were taught that it may take years to find that one person and it may be brief, but that doesn't mean it wasn't special. It doesn't mean you weren't meant for each other. Life happens and we have to learn to roll with the punches and that's what How I Met Your Mother was all about.
Glee: This show started when I was ending my sophomore year of high school. I had been in a glee club myself so when they announced the show, I was thrilled. I watched the pilot episode when it was premiered a year before the show aired and I fell in love immediately. Although my love for it has dwindled as the years have passed there's no doubt that this show has meant a lot to me. It has explored and glorified the outcasts, the "losers," and those who don't seem to fit the mold of society's standards and it's a show that was desperately needed. It's taught it's viewers that hard work and determination are what makes you successful. The cruel words and harsh mistreatment caused by bullies and the "populars"will always be there. But while they're preoccupied taunting you you could be out there proving them wrong. Making your dreams a reality won't be the easiest thing in the world to accomplish. In fact it's hard. Extremely hard. You have to push yourself to be bold and original and hope for the best. There is no one like you and if you want to make it big you have to force yourself to stand out. If people don't like it that's their problem, not yours. Like any teen dramedy there were issues between the characters and some discontinued story lines, but the overall message of being yourself and staying true to who you are is made clear consistently. I am forever grateful this type of show was brought to the surface because it's inspiring and encouraging for so many young people. It's something that was necessary for future generations to know and understand. These characters have meant a lot to me since I was 15 and will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Never forget the essence of your spark!