8/15/13

a tale of two sitcoms

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Just kidding. 

Are you tired of hearing all the things I did in the hours during July when I wasn't on the internet? Alright, just one more.

Well, I did rekindle a friendship with television. Yep, me + TV = old friends. I go in spurts when it comes to my dedication to the 'boob tube'. American Idol had me for Season 3. The Office gave me a few good years before Michael left. And Netflix has allowed us to watch Burn Notice in our hour of need. But as far as following a show, I'm not much for that. And as far as actually watching a TV show live? Negative.

Hello there, New Girl. 
newgirlthings.tumblr.com


So one evening in July, I clicked on netflix and perused for something to watch. I stumbled upon New Girl. The premise of the show is a group of four, single, older twenty-somethings are roommates and good friends. The catch is that it's three guys and one {quirky, silly, loves-to-sing-along} girl. The girl is played by Zooey Deschanel (who you may know from Elf. Don't you love that scene where they sing Baby It's Cold Outside? I do.) The show is based on their schemes and mishaps as they navigate dating, being roommates, and life in general.

It had all the makings of a show I'd fall for. Lively dialogue? Check. Themes of community and friendship? Check. Interesting characters? Check. Always talking about sex? Uh.... well...hmmm.

So we watched a few episodes. We laughed out loud. We quoted the characters for days. We hummed the theme song. We fell hard for this little band of misfits. But we got tired of the same story lines, of the constant theme that single people need sex and lonely people need sex and heartbroken people need rebound sex and...well, you get the picture. 

One day I randomly said to Garrett, "I'm not sure I want to watch New Girl anymore."

He replied, "Yeah, I agree. "

And then we just looked at each other. (Honestly, I was kinda hoping he would disagree and talk me into it and explain it in a way that made me feel OK about still watching it. But he didn't.) And we haven't watched since.

It's not that I feel like we need to hide from sex. It's not that I feel some kind of legalistic rules or lack of freedom or like watching it is going to drive us to crazy things. It's just a lack of substance, a general feeling that this whole show is like a CD that is stuck on repeat to a song I find vaguely annoying. And in the words of Paul, it may be permissible, but is it really beneficial?

Moving on. 

Enter Call the Midwife

Source

I'm a little hesitant to tell you about the show that took it's place. The show that I adore. The show that I try to describe to people and they look at me like I professed a deep love for maraschino cherries or something. I've talked about this show to at least twenty people and none have watched it. So apparently I'm not a very good salesman, or my friends are losers. But they aren't- so I'm going to attribute the lack of interest to my inability to articulate myself. 

Here goes.

Call the Midwife is a BBC show set in the slums of 1950's east London.  The show is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, a nurse who worked with the poor and recorded her life in three memoirs.  In the show, a handful of nurses live in a convent and work alongside the sisters to provide medical care to the poorest of London. In particular, the women focus on maternal health and safe childbirth, an idea that didn't exist in that region before the sisters brought it there. The show focuses on the interaction between the residents of the convent, the private lives of the nurses, and the harsh realities of the working class poor.

And here's the thing I love. Most of the midwives are middle class women who have made the decision to live at the convent and try to love the poor. And they are shocked and appalled and often disgusted by the realities of poverty. But the Sisters at the convent have a posture of such grace, have a deep respect for the people that they serve. It is such a moving portrait of serving others in a respectful and not belittling way. I love that.

And there's romance, of course, if you like that kind of thing...

Last week, as we watched episode 3 (of season 1- we're moving slow!), there was this breathtaking moment. I don't want to spoil it and I don't know how to describe it without giving it away. In this scene, a woman gives birth to a baby that is obviously not her husband's child. And his reaction, his gut instinct in that moment...just watch it and see. 

You can see the trailer for it here. My husband says it is like "Band of Brothers" for women. (I thought that was funny.)

(Please, SOMEONE watch it and call me. Text me. Knock on my front door and I will pour you some iced coffee and we will talk.)

At the end of the day, I don't know that it matters all that much how we spend those little chunks of time when we turn off our minds and chill. But if you could do that AND be stirred, relax with popcorn AND be inspired...wouldn't you want to? 

Personally, I like the feeling of clicking off the TV, sighing at the depth of what I just experienced, knowing that my soul was stirred to something better. There's a substance there that gives me some truth, reminds me that life is hard but worth it. That love isn't flashy but costly. That important work will ask much of us. And those are the themes that I want to run through my head, and through my life, and on through my kids. 

So there you have it. That's a bit of life in our living room. 

See ya Friday. 




6 comments:

Sharon said...

ok I want to watch this show! (call the midwife) I saw the memoir at barnes and noble once, and it said on the book "now a tv show" or something, and I thought, I should look into that. But, you know, new season of mad men etc etc. SO now that you've started and like it, I really have to watch it.

Becky said...

Sharon- you should check it out. Viewing party???

Nicole @ she-laughs said...

Feel all the same things as you do in this post. Why must Omaha and Wichita have such distance between them????

Heather said...

Becky, you mentioned this show to me a long time ago in passing. I didn't really get it at first, but I remember that episode. It was a moving portrait of unexpected love. That's what I like about that show. After one of those early episodes I fell in love. With them slow. There's just 2 seasons! I tore threw them this summer.

Heather said...

Becky, you mentioned this show to me a long time ago in passing. I didn't really get it at first, but I remember that episode. It was a moving portrait of unexpected love. That's what I like about that show. After one of those early episodes I fell in love. With them slow. There's just 2 seasons! I tore threw them this summer.

Heather said...

Becky, you mentioned this show to me a long time ago in passing. I didn't really get it at first, but I remember that episode. It was a moving portrait of unexpected love. That's what I like about that show. After one of those early episodes I fell in love. With them slow. There's just 2 seasons! I tore threw them this summer.