the cycles of life and television

Tonight is the final episode of Gilmore Girls. It is definitely a sad day for me, but I am approaching it much differently than I did the series finale of my first truly beloved show way back in 1998, Seinfeld.

I have watched Gilmore Girls regularly/obsessively since early 2003, midway through its 3rd season. I was actually introduced to it early in its run, during season 1, but I didn’t really give it a chance back then. Thankfully, though, the “invention” of TV shows on DVD has helped me catch up. But now, finishing its 7th season, I feel like Gilmore Girls has run its course. If we think about life, there are openings and closings, beginnings and endings, and the same is true for television shows. It’s been a very enjoyable show for me, and I know that I’ll be able to continue to experience the beauty of Star’s Hollow for years to come, thanks to the aforementioned DVDs.

Sports Night, a show that existed for only 2 years in the late 90s, is a bit of a different story. Similarly Arrested Development more recently, it was critically acclaimed but didn’t have the ratings to sustain it more than a few years. It was cut down far too early, but it still lives on in DVD form. In fact, I watched all of season 2 of Sports Night during my spring break. If you haven’t seen it and ever get the chance to watch some episodes, I highly recommend it. A great mix of comedy and drama, much like Gilmore Girls, it pushed the likes of Felicity Huffman and Peter Krause into the television spotlight years before Desperate Housewives and Six Feet Under.

When Seinfeld ended, I was devastated. Maybe it was because it came at a time for me when I wasn’t ready for change and didn’t recognize and understand the importance of the cycles of life. It was the first time a show I really loved was taken off the air, and even though I had watched many episodes on syndication and found it relatively late in its run, I still felt cheated. How could they take this part of my life away from me? Now that it has been gone nearly 10 years, I really don’t watch it any more, even though there is an episode or more from its great catalog on somewhere almost every day. Even if I don’t watch it now, it still holds many significant memories of my comedic growth.

Things will always change. In everything there is a start and a finish, be it a job, a relationship, a living situation, a time of education, or anything else. Sometimes the end is death, but most of the time it’s not. As we age, we get more accustomed to things ending. Sometimes the end may come more easily and it may seem like the appropriate time, as it does now for Gilmore Girls, but other times we won’t want it to end and will plead for things to continue.

Eventually, though, we all adjust to the changes life brings us. Maybe there will be some new TV show that “replaces” the Girls this fall or a few years down the line, but maybe not. Similarly, as jobs and relationships and the like draw to a close, we must get past them however we can. Sometimes it will come easily, maybe in a few days of even in a few hours. Sometimes it may take years or never really happen.

But we get by. We deal with the cycles of life much the same way we do the cycles of television: we continue to tune in.

(Also, here is an interesting article related to television and pop culture: Syracuse prof is pop culture ambassador )

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