I remember the exact moment I decided to join my current sorority. It was during rush, and the conversations consisted mostly of my major, my hometown, and my outfit. I was bored. The sorority girls were bored. Everyone was cold and miserable.
During the first lively conversation I had, the girl exclaimed, “Shut it down!” I looked at her. I stopped, perhaps hesitant to take the plunge. Finally I asked, “Are you quoting 30 Rock?”
I base my opinions of people, to an unusual degree, on their television preferences. I know this isn’t fair. I know this isn’t even rational. It’s just how I function. I’ll meet a new person, have a conversation, maybe even enjoy it. But the real test isn’t over until I drop a 30 Rock quote, perhaps a line from Arrested Development. If they get it, or at least can play off of it, I know I’ve found a winner.
It works in reverse, too. If someone can really, genuinely discuss their love and/or appreciation of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, I know that friendship isn’t going that far. Actually, that goes for most E! shows. And MTV programs, now that I think about it.
I’m not saying that all of my friends watch the same exact television I do. Far from it. But I know that, even if we have nothing else in common, another person who enjoys my favorite television shows is a person whom I share something with.
I never understood why this was so, but I think I do now. I always understood the basis of my opinion: we watch the same show, we like the same things, therefore we should get along.
But I think it’s more than that. It’s the ability to elicit the same reaction from the same person. When someone likes the same television show as me, I know that they’re able to feel the same things that I do when I watch a show that I like. This works particularly well for dramas. If someone likes Mad Men, I know they’ve been captured, at least a little bit, by its beauty.
However, I think this works best for comedies. Television creates its own unique dialect that provokes something, anything, from its viewers. Watching that language, adopting it, and then incorporating it into your daily life? That’s really quite special. What’s even more special is someone else incorporating it into their daily life, and two people bonding over their shared love.
I know, I know this isn’t fair to those who maybe just haven’t gotten around to watching Parks and Recreation yet. And I’m not saying I write them off completely! I’m just saying, if you pronounce “literally” with an unusual amount of emphasis, I see what you did there, and would like to be your friend.