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Why Watching a Favorite TV Show is Good for the Soul

The television shows that I grew up watching always meant something to me. They soothed my soul and brought me comfort.

There is something magical about television. I’m not talking about sitting in front of a TV for hours (although, I have heard that binge watching a Netflix series can be a lot of fun).

And I’m not talking about reality TV. We have enough real drama in our personal lives.

What I’m talking about are the television shows that have stood by our sides for as long as we can remember. The shows that have made us laugh and cry. The shows that have forced us to sit on the edge of our seats. And the shows that have simply made us tune in from week to week because – for some reason – that particular show just sucked us in, grabbed a hold of us, and didn’t let us go.

For me, the television shows that I grew up watching always meant something to me. They soothed my soul and brought me comfort.

When I was a little girl I felt like I could relate to “The Facts of Life” and “Growing Pains.” I mean, who can forget Kirk Cameron? I think I had every Teen Beat magazine that included his picture, which ultimately ended up taped up on my bedroom wall.

I related to these shows because they talked about “kid stuff” that we all had to face, and it helped to explain life, when we all felt that our parents couldn’t always relate to what we were going through. Or maybe they did, but they didn’t quite know how to explain it to us.

I loved other shows like “MacGyver.” Oh, Richard Dean Anderson. Another actor who was easy on the eyes. I loved the suspense that this show provided, and I loved watching and wondering how my “future husband” would get out of yet another jam.

But what I loved more than this was the fact that MacGyver was the show that created a bond between me and my brothers.

I was the annoying little sister, the youngest, but once a week – during “MacGyver” – I felt like an important part of the crew. And not only that – our parents let me and my brothers call our best friends after the show to discuss what happened. It was even more exciting to discuss our predictions for next Monday’s episode. These late, school night conversations were ones that we looked forward to weekly.

Shows like “Cheers” and “Seinfeld” always brought my entire family together in our family room. While I never really understood all of the jokes at the time, we all laughed. And it felt good to be together – taking a break from our busy schedules.

High school brought another show into my life – “90210”. This show was too much fun to watch as we stepped into the world of high school students attending school in L.A. While we didn’t really relate to these characters’ lives, we sort of did – surprisingly – because high school is…well, high school.

“90210” always made me feel more in the loop when catching up on the episode with friends at the lunch table. And let’s face it – being in the know about Brenda and Brandon Walsh’s lives always provided material for great conversation.

With college on the horizon, “Friends” became my favorite show. In fact, one of my best college friends changed her hairstyle every time Jennifer Anniston’s character, Rachel, changed her hairstyle on the show. Well…every girl in America did that. Who am I kidding?

And it was “Sex in the City” that provided special bonding time between me and my college roommates. Sure, we had fun going out together, but some nights we just wanted to stay in and relax and laugh together. Once we ordered our $5.00 Five Star Pizza, the ogling over Carrie’s 100th pair of Manolo Blahniks could begin.

But there was one show that I watched consistently with my college roommate of four years. That special show was “The Golden Girls.” My roommate and I spent late nights and Sunday afternoons together watching old episodes. And while we were often giggling at sassy Blanche Devereaux’s comments, we were silent and reflective through so much of the show because “The Golden Girls” meant something special to both of us. It was the show that we used to watch with our grandmothers, and we missed our grandmothers so very much.

Nowadays, after long days of teaching and mothering three boys, there is not much adult TV watching in my life. But every once in a while – when the kids are in bed – I make time for some mindless TV with my husband. In fact, it’s Wednesday night that I carve out time for mindlessness.

My go-to is “Modern Family.”  Not only does this show make me laugh, but it makes me realize that all families have little quirks. The recap of the importance of family at the end of every episode speaks true to me. And yes, even this very funny show makes me tear up at the end.

“Schooled” is a great new show. It brings me back to my high school years in the 90s, but I can also relate to the show as a teacher. This show makes me laugh and then cry because it always ends with a message about the passion of teachers and their importance in the lives of children. Thank you for highlighting these important messages, “Schooled” writers! It makes all of our hard work so worth it.

Sure, too much screen time isn’t good for anyone. But take a little time each week to give yourself something to look forward to – something that you can share with a spouse, a sibling, a parent, a child, a friend or a colleague – and see what it can do for your soul.

My bet is that your soul – whatever comfort it is needing at the time – will be instantly soothed and your spirits will be lifted.

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