My TV Journey in 2017

So, real talk, I consciously changed my TV habits this year, and was much better off for it.

I used to try and consume every well-reviewed show. And do you know what finally ended that? 

The Handmaid's Tale.

I watched the whole season. I respect it. I see why it's worthy of its awards. But my god did I not find it compelling. And yes, I read the novel. However, this is not new: I never liked Mad Men either. Maybe I don't like Elisabeth Moss (well, Scientologists...).

However, the real, real, real end of my prestige-chasing was The Leftovers. Because every single (white) critic considers this unpleasantly inaccessible show to be the mark of quality. And I read that novel, too (and never liked it). But having a difference of opinion isn't all that significant. It's the tone of the arguments made. That anyone who doesn't give it a serious, long-term chance is somehow lesser and someone whose tastes are lacking. And is that really what TV is for, to just torture yourself to be included in the Prestige-watching club? This is dumb. And I'm done with it.

I also never liked The Americans (and have been told by more than ten white people why I am stupid for this). I don't ignore these things - I have given all of these shows more than a full season and never got hooked. It's the job of a show to hook you within three episodes, I feel, because, especially in the case of a drama, that means, if it hasn't hooked you, you've wasted an entire feature-length film hoping to be locked in. I am way too old to waste my time. 

I still enjoy some well-regarded shows. I watch Veep. I like Curb. But those shows are fun. And yeah I still watch Stranger Things. eh, why not.

Among dramas, though? I must admit that, really, I only tend to get into limited series these days. I find them more compelling. And no one shouts at me if I don't watch them. 

I say all of this to say that, in terms of dramas and other TV, I have made a specific effort to focus on works created by people of color. Since mid-2015, instead of just having "Black-ish" on my regular rotation, I've added "Master of None," "Atlanta," "Insecure," "Queen Sugar," and "Greenleaf." These shows aren't all great, to be clear. Some are kinda dumb. But so is most mainstream TV. And I enjoy TV all that much more.

I can't tell you how much more rewarding things are for me when I seek out these more hidden regions. And I think you should do it too. You, yes you, need to seek out things outside of the mainstream. Merely having white women in it doesn't make something outside of the mainstream. We need to suffuse ourselves with color and varied stories. We need to make this effort.

Does it mean I'll be less able to root for Emmy nominees? I suppose. But I don't miss it in the Oscars, and so I don't miss it in these awards either. Besides, plenty of these shows are nominated anyway. I'm not watching random stuff.

Find some color, watch it and consume it, even if you aren't compelled naturally or don't find it something you can relate to. Newsflash - many of us can't relate to the mainstream stories.

Diversify and include. And read. And discuss.

And stop telling me why "The Leftovers" is the best show ever to exist unless you want to put your masturbatory whiteness on immediate and constant display.



Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality