Thought Catalog

6 Important Lessons I Learned From TV Shows

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Okay, yes, as a society we should probably be watching a little less TV and doing a little more to take us out of the ‘fattest country in the world’ category – something that for some reason, we are proud of. But I will say, there are times when I think some of my most valuable life lessons were gained from sitting on my IKEA futon, eating chocolate covered pretzels, doing marathons of TV shows:

Freaks and Geeks
Freaks and Geeks

1. Bitch please. You Go Girl. I am a woman, hear me roar. Girl power.

Learned from: Sex And The City.

Just kidding. I think people who haven’t seen Sex and the City think that it’s some weird adult sleepover show where females just bash men and scream ‘You go girl!’ at one another as they rally around a fellow woman who’s been heartbroken, all the while feeding her Ben and Jerry’s and telling her ‘He was a jerk, you don’t need him! We’re gonna get dressed up and go out and dance he’s gonna eat his heart out!’ First of all, and somewhat beside the point, I hate that shit. But second of all, it’s not like that at all. It’s not a We Don’t Need Men show – at least that’s not how I take it.

My favorite thing about Sex and the City is how it conveys life’s little ironies – Miranda is so anti-baby/family/whitepicketfence, and yet she’s the first to have all those things. Charlotte marries the man of her dreams, a refined doctor – only to find out he can’t get it up, which spirals into their entire marriage ending because she trusted that the fact that they ‘looked’ like a good couple to sustain their relationship. Samantha, the quintessence of physical health in her late 40s, somehow gets cancer. And Carrie actually ends up with the guy you think is going to just be her ‘this jerk I dated once and treated me like crap’ guy, because he actually came through in the end. Life is weird.

2. Being able to be yourself around the guys is way different than trying to be one of the guys.

Learned from: New Girl.

This is 2013. This is not Pleasantville. Women like football, women like Grand Theft Auto, and women can probably tell you why the studio movie doesn’t accurately honor the original comics. You’re interested in what you’re interested in – but whatever that is, make sure it’s because you are into it, not because you think that’s what will make you more appealing to guys. This works both ways, actually – it’s annoying (to women AND men) when women play stupid and over-feminize themselves, but it’s equally as annoying (again, to women AND men) when women suddenly turn into fantasy football loving beerpong champions who rattle off random facts about Spiderman to prove they’re ‘that cool girl.’

“That cool girl” is the one who is solid and confident enough to remain herself, regardless of who she’s around. Jess is a dork. But she’s a dork around Cece, around Nick, around Winston, around Schmidt, around her parents, around her students, and around the creepy landlord.

3. Everyone experiences heartbreak, and it sucks.

Learned from: The Office.

One of my favorite scenes from The Office is when Dwight is totally heartbroken over Angela, so he goes into the stairwell to be alone. Jim comes in, sensing he’s upset over Angela, and talks to him about heartbreak – “it is something that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy – and that includes you.” I don’t think there’s anything quite as true as that. Heartbreak has a way of completely humanizing someone, because we’ve all been through it. Even though we all handle it differently (some people mope around, some people try to distract themselves, some people go batshit crazy) the core feeling is exactly the same.

Heartbreak sucks – everyone’s been through it, and if they say they haven’t, they are lying. The one good thing about heartbreak, though, is that it is inevitably temporary… which is more than you can say for the regret you have in wondering what if, or not even trying to begin with.

4. There are always gonna be people who don’t like you because you are you and no other reason.

Learned from: Freaks And Geeks.

Sometimes I fall in love with a scene from a movie or TV and I absolutely cannot let it go – cue the yard scene in Crazy, Stupid Love, or the “I’m in love” OR cue card scene from Love Actually, or the cocaine-singing scene from Superbad. Some scenes are just that good. There’s a scene in Freaks and Geeks where Bill is playing Seven Minutes in Heaven, and the poor guy has to go into the closet with this bitch, who tells him “I’m not kissing you, don’t even touch me.” Bill responds (gently) with “I don’t want to kiss you. You’re mean.” He hadn’t done anything to deserve her being such a c-word to him. He was just him, and she didn’t like it. Sometimes that’s the case. Those people  just suck. And after he stood up for himself, she softened up. Look at how that worked out:)

5. This is only the beginning.

Learned from: Entourage.

The fact that so many awesome and terrible things happened to the characters in Entourage throughout the run of eight seasons is incredible. I feel like every character had each been on the very top and on rock bottom multiple times every season. Vince is Aquaman, Vince is in rehab, Ari’s gonna buy the football team, Mrs. Ari is leaving (another one of my favorite scenes, when Ari realizes his wife is gone for real), E is heartbroken, E is getting married, Turtle is nobody, Turtle is somebody, Drama is somebody, Drama is nobody, Drama is somebody again.

What I love about Entourage is that it accurately portrays LA life in the respect that at any given moment things can turn around – for better or for worse. So when things are absolute crap, there is always a chance that tomorrow could be the day that changes your entire life. And if things are going really well, don’t take it for granted.

6. Never, ever take advantage of your Friends.

Learned from: Friends.

I didn’t know if I should start or end with Friends, since it’s my favorite show. I decided to end with it, for the sake of providing a dramatic closure.

I don’t even have anything more to say about this, except, it’s the most important one. TC mark

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