Maybe an addiction.
John picks me up every night after work, we rush home, put on our comfy clothes, sink into our respective lounging furniture (his, the recliner; mine, the couch) and watch five, sometimes nine, old episodes of Frasier on Netflix.
We're glued to Frasier for even longer periods of time on the weekends.
If we could inhale Frasier, or be fed Frasier intravenously, we would. Especially after a particularly annoying day at work.
Netflix Nervosa? Comfort TV? Sitcom escapism, circa 1990s? Or just two old farts with nothing else to do on yet another frigid winter's night?
Call it what you will. We're hooked.
The wry wit and hilarious antics of those snobbish-yet-lovable Crane brothers and their just-regular-folk family and friends make us laugh till our sides hurt. As therapeutic for the winter blahs as a double helping of mashed potatoes slathered in a pound of melted butter.
Last night, as I lay on the couch pining for Frasier's theme-song tossed salad and scrambled eggs, toying with the idea of pricing a one-way ticket to Seattle, John suggested we alter our Netflix fixation a bit. After one Frasier episode, we traveled back even further in time to 1982 and began watching Cheers. Four consecutive episodes.
Goosebumps galore for me as the soothing, familiar Cheers theme song caressed my ears.
Making your way in the world today
Takes everything you've got;
Taking a break from all your worries
Sure would help a lot.
Wouldn't you like to get away?
And away we went! There, right before our eyes, were our still-young and oh-so-likable TV friends from 32 -- count 'em, 32 -- years ago. I may not remember where I put my glasses moments before, but I still know everyone's name on Cheers. Sam Malone, that handsome (but not the brightest) barkeep/local sports hero...Diane Chambers, the cute and intellectually quirky waitress...Coach, Cliff, Carla, Woody...
Cheers was our must-see TV back in the day. The always-entertaining Cheers gang grew to be as much a part of our lives as our real-life friends (back when we actually had a group of friends). Back when -- like Sam and Diane of yesteryear -- John and I were young, fairly easy on the eye, not quite knee-deep into our marriage and careers. Back when (if you can imagine) TV was truly worth watching.
A simpler, more successful, more contented time for us, the early 80s.
Or so it seems when a favorite old TV show evokes such overwhelming nostalgia, that excessively sentimental yearning for what once was but what is now irrecoverable. Formerly considered a type of neurosis, some experts now say nostalgia, in reasonable amounts, can serve as an ideal coping mechanism in times of stress or transition.
As a frazzled new mom after the birth of our son, Daniel, in the early 90s, for example, I often sought solace in TV Land, watching Leave It To Beaver and Andy Griffith reruns. There was something so reassuring, so relaxing, about those two TV classics because they harked back to the 60s when wise parenting advice appeared ample.
After my son left for college three years ago and I faced the angst of the empty nest, I went through a 70s Mary Tyler Moore Show/Lou Grant rerun phase via YouTube, waxing ever wistful about my days as a young newspaper reporter, fresh out of college. A pleasing, albeit bittersweet, reminder of the successful journalism professional I once was and my continued passion for writing.
Today, as I tire easily while schlepping groceries for eight hours and I lose the will to smile (No, for the 18th time, that is not the bologna that is on sale this week), I must once again face the hard, cold, anxiety-producing facts that both my lovely, misspent youth and my excitement-filled heyday as an award-winning newspaper reporter have long since gone a glimmerin'. "I blog, therefore I write" is my post-menopausal mantra.
Reality check: Cheers stars Ted Danson and Shelley Long are in their 60s and no longer corner television's youthful looks market. They no longer resemble hunky/sassy Sam and Diane as we remember them. Time marches on. It stops for no one. Not even TV sitcom actors.
Yes, we all, as we age, have plenty to think through and worry about as the world demands we redefine the meaning of our lives. But in the midst of the drawn-out tail end of one of the longest, coldest, dreariest Iowa winters ever, I choose to ignore reality. For now. At least until Spring, the season of renewed hope, officially breaks through.
As such, I am jonesing a bit, craving the click on the Netflix laptop icon. Counting the hours till tonight after work when John and I rush home, put on our comfy clothes, sink into our respective lounging furniture (his, the recliner; mine, the couch) and watch five, maybe nine, more old episodes of Cheers.
Because -- acute Netflix dependency aside -- taking a break from all your worries really does help a lot.