My Favorite Week of the Year
This is my favorite week of the year. Fall television premiere week. I know that’s really not an acceptable thing for a pastor to say, but you might as well know the truth (if you don’t already). Holy Week and the week before Christmas are a bit of a nightmare for pastors. Not only are the schedules jam packed, but there is the pressure of coming up with just the right thing to say about the same story year after year in a way that will totally inspire all the people who only show up on those particular days. Secretly, your pastor calls Holy Week “Hell Week” and spends Christmas Day collapsed in a heap on his/her living room rug. Totally not kidding, but don’t tell them you know.
But Fall Television Premiere @eek? There is no expectation of a pastor this week. In fact, it falls right in the middle of the lull before the Advent onslaught. Time to watch how the existing stories resume and find out which new stories might pull you in.
I’m a bit of a television junkie. I realize that makes me sound shallow, pedestrian and low-brow to many, but I’m ok with that.
I do really hate reality TV except talent-based shows like Project Runway (because Tim Gunn) or World of Dance. I really, really, really hate The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and can’t believe they are still hit shows in a country that can get on its moral high horse quicker than you can say “rose ceremony.” I get enough real reality in real life. I don’t need to watch it faked on television.
So why am I excited about another season of purely fictionalized television?
I love a good story
Preachers are basically storytellers of the greatest story ever told, and I do love a good story. Sure, there are a lot of lousy stories out there, but there are some good ones as well. Shonda Rhimes, Aaron Sorkin, Joss Whedon and Tina Fey can spin a tale and turn a phrase like nobody’s business. And the competition of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, coupled with premium channels like HBO and Showtime getting into the series business has made the networks up their game.
I love the anticipation
In an age of binge watching, I like to kick it old school and return to that time and place where you have to wait until next week to see what happens. There’s time to speculate, converse and Tweet about it before you get the answer. At a time when we can Google any fact we want to know, use an app to recognize any song we just can’t place and IMDB what it was we’ve seen that actor in before, watching network television series from week to week may be the only place left where we can find any wonder and anticipation.
TV changes hearts and minds
Will and Grace. Modern Family. Blackish. Scandal. These are all shows that have changed the way we view gay people, gay parents, black families and black women.
Speechless gave us insight into the life of a family when one member has cerebral palsey. The Good Doctor changed the way we look at people with autism. Studies affirm that these and other shows have literally changed our minds. We develop what psych majors call parasocial relationships with the characters. It’s like they’re our friends. We’d like to have them over for barbecue or meet them for brunch. Television can challenge our preconceived notions and change our perceptions.
It’s fun to fall in love with a show
There’s nothing like finding a television show that you can watch week after week and year after year, watching the characters change and grow. I can parasocial the heck out of a television show. I turned 30 with Ally McBeal (literally on the same day). I’ve watched Meredith Grey grow up. I am exactly the same age as all the Friends were when the show aired originally. I do have real friends, too, although some may doubt it after reading this post.
I need sermon illustrations
For someone who has to preach every Sunday, a good television show can provide a number of stories that help illuminate the story I’m seeking to share. I’ll take all the help I can get.
So go ahead and indulge in a little tv over the next week or so. You may catch a couple of duds, but you may discover a brand new show with a cast of characters that make your life a little brighter over the course of a 24-episode story arc.