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Friday, February 23, 2007

Confessions of a TV Junkie

Photo by Pvera.

Lately, the stress at work has driven me to eat vast quantities of chocolate during the day. Many nights, I find myself parked in front of the television. The lights are off, the sound cranked up. I’ve taken to watching emotionally charged shows, and my current drug of choice is 'Homicide'. I am officially addicted.

Sometimes I watch three episodes of Homicide in a row, fast forwarding through the commercial breaks. By the end, it is late, and I am wrung dry. The day is left behind. The stuff that’s due tomorrow has been replaced with crime, Baltimore, and the benign ring of the squad room telephone.

Watching tv is so much easier than writing. Instead of trying to figure out a subject, I am swept away by each episode. I am infatuated with the characters. The homicide detectives pursue Truth with passion and tenacity. Each is burdened with his or her personal turmoil. Each deals with death and danger every day at the job. It puts my life in perspective.

I’ve discovered that other shows I love share similar traits. I went through an addiction to 'Top Chef', for instance. It was weeks into the Second Season, before I could emotionally detach myself from the contestants of the first. Chefs are like homicide detectives. They are intense. They live in the moment and obey their instincts. They have an inherent sense of right and wrong.

There are only 122 episodes of Homicide, after seven seasons on the air. At present, there is no end to Top Chef. It is inevitable, though, that I will exhaust these escape mechanisms. The writer part of me hopes this happens soon. I’m hoping that watching people pursue their passions will bore me, or awaken my own desire. Writing is nothing like murder, but under the right conditions, it can feel like life and death.