Students succumb to addictive forces of popular TV programs

by Lauren Adler
STAFF WRITER

Every Thursday night at 9 p.m., the dorm rooms are empty. The library is empty. Reid is empty. No one walks across Ankeny, or down Boyer. Whitman has turned into a ghost town for a half an hour: and why? A little show called “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Okay, maybe this is an exaggeration. The campus isn’t exactly deserted; but television rooms across campus are always packed during these prime times. Groups of students crowd excitedly around the screen like junkies, talking enthusiastically about how brave Jack Bauer is and how Austin doesn’t deserve Julie.

Someone has cast a spell: a LOT of people have become bewitched with shows such as “Grey’s,” “Lost,” “The Office,” “24” and “Desperate Housewives.” To the non-TV watcher, these are just shows. How can a 30-minute-once-a-week time slot completely posses the minds of perfectly rational, intelligent Whitman students, who lead productive, busy lives? It’s not like we have nothing better to do. Do these shows fill some kind of void in our lives?

Whatever it is, NBC and ABC must be doing something right in the casting or script-writing of these sitcoms. What is the big deal about Meredith’s knight in shining … whatever?

“I usually schedule my life around the show,” said Julie McQuary of “The Office.” “NOTHING keeps me from watching it.” Sound like a time commitment? It is. “Besides watching it every week, I often watch old episodes from Seasons 1 and 2. I own both on DVD,” she said.

“I used to be anti-‘Grey’s,'” said sophomore Morgan Bach. “It was like the pop music of television. But then I watched the first episode with my mom and ended up inhaling the first two and a half seasons in two weeks, thanks to Katie Baxter, my trusted dealer.”

It seems these shows will take you down when you are least expecting it. You may say, “Eh, how great can it be? It’s just TV.” Then you borrow a friend’s “24” Season 3 DVD set one lazy Sunday morning, and before you know it, its dinnertime and you haven’t budged from your laptop screen. And it’s not that you don’t want to: you can’t. What happens to Michelle, and will CTU save all of those people in the hotel? Okay, just one more. And maybe one more after that.

I am NOT addicted. Really.

Is it a distraction? Are our lives not exciting enough? Doubtful. Maybe these big shots at ABC have just finally figured out how to make good television. You’d be lying if you said one of these addictive shows didn’t appeal to you. There is everything: passion, drama, humor, death, birth, sex, tears, blood, bombs: it’s just a smorgasbord of entertainment!

Plus, we work hard enough at Whitman. I say it’s perfectly fine to be addicted to “Lost,” or even “Desperate Housewives.” Be proud and don’t feel guilty: it’s OKAY to be passionate about something besides biology, I promise. Maybe it’s even healthy.

It’s not just a TV show. It’s a hobby.