Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Living My Own Version Of 90210

It rarely happens that my husband and I have a morning to lounge in bed. He is up before dawn usually, even on weekends, and so it is a luxury for us to sleep in. After waking up on our "sleep in" days, we usually talk for awhile in bed - sometimes about important matters but often just joking and recalling favorite memories. This past Sunday, as I lay in bed looking out with my eyes in a glaze my husband asked me what I was thinking about. I answered quickly - the upcoming premieres of the Fall TV season.

That was the last thing he expected me to say and we laughed. But it is true. I cannot wait for the TV season to start again. Maybe it is because I am home a lot alone and find it more interesting to eat dinner while watching quality (or trashy) TV than sitting in silence. More likely though, it is because Melrose Place is coming back on the air.

When I was a kid shows like Saved by the Bell, then Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place introduced me to what I thought high school, college and the 20-something years would be like. School dances, weekend parties at the beach, trendy clothing and lots of romantic drama. I was convinced at 13 that one day I would meet my own Dylan and have a cute little apartment just like on Melrose.

When I eventually left home and my college years came, I did not own a TV. I went from being an avid TV watcher to being clued out about pop culture symbols of youth. I was too busy living my own young adult experience to care what TV producers concocted to resemble youth drama. I was living in the moment and having the time of my life, while going through ups and downs of love, friendships and career pursuits.

Moving to New York for grad school and living in a penthouse apartment with five girls, marked the first time in five years I had a TV. With the invention of DVR, I didn't have to choose between having an active social life in New York and involving myself in TV land. I had the best of both worlds. Shows like Gossip Girl became a favorite of mine, and I found myself yet again absorbed in the world of "coming of age" TV. I started to wonder, why was a twenty something, who had already been through the drama of a first kiss and the pressures of college acceptance still so mesmerized by TV plots and characters that depict growing-up? It was one thing to be fascinated by the friendship of Donna Martin and Kelly Taylor when I was twelve years old, dreaming of the social life of a full fledged teenager - but why now at this stage in my life?

I realized that when I was younger I enjoyed these TV shows because they allowed me to dream and imagine what excitement my future life could hold. However, I am tuned to teenager/20-something drama today because it allows me to re-visit my expectations of young adulthood and the myths and surprises which have unfolded in my real experiences. I may have never become prom queen or found my ideal job right out of college, but real life has turned out even brighter, richer and more engaging than I could have ever imagined from watching Melrose Place as a child. So why am I so excited for the premiere of Melrose Place? Because fantasies of young adulthood allow me to think about my own experiences in a unique way - not as a child yearning to grow up, but as an adult who is grateful to be living my young years to fullest and for marrying a man who I know will always keep me young in spirit.


  1. i guess our guilty pleasures don't really teach us much of anything. except that we sometimes have guilty pleasures for cheezy tv!

  2. I couldn't agree with your impressions more. And I couldn't be more stoked for the return of Melrose! (not to mention season 3 of Gossip Girl...)