I have a confession.
Let me start with a little background information first, though. As a kid in middle and high school, I watched a hodge podge of television programs. I enjoyed all the shows I’d grown up watching–Spongebob Squarepants, Fairly Odd Parents, usually the stuff on Disney Channel–but I also liked older shows, like Family Guy, Tosh.0, and reality television like Dance Moms (I watch it for the dancing, I swear).
Since I came to college, though, I almost never watch television. I basically can only watch things that are on the Internet or on DVD, at least at my own leisure. Despite this, I’ve actually become dedicated to more specific television shows.
And here’s the confession: They’re all kinda nerdy.
I think it started with Dr. Who. During freshman year, my friend Julia had a prospective student come to stay overnight. We didn’t really have a lot to show her on campus, so we brought her back to our dorm and watched some David Tennant episodes. She started us off on “Blink.” I had a hard time sleeping that night. Even though I still haven’t watched a lot of episodes of Dr. Who, especially after they changed doctors (I REALLY liked David Tennant as the doctor), it was probably the beginning. And then more shows came.
Dexter was probably the first show that anyone introduced me to that actually stuck. My boyfriend was pretty crazy about it, and even though his description sounded less than appealing (a serial killer who kills other serial killers? What?), I eventually indulged him.
This was sometime in the two weeks before my sophomore year of college started. We only watched around three episodes before I headed off to school, but he let me borrow the rest of Season 1. Between moving in and classes starting, we had about three days to settle in. I finished the whole rest of the season in that time.
After that, it’s become an odd sort of phenomenon.
I’ve been hooked on a variety of shows, but it’s extended beyond that. Books, and their movies, and…my fandom is almost stretched too thin. I got hooked on Game of Thrones, The Mortal Instruments (big time!), Divergent (slightly less than Mortal Instruments, but I like them), Sherlock (!!!!). Sherlock (the BBC one) is definitely my kryptonite right now. Benedict Cumberbatch is a god, I swear…and Martin Freeman is up there as well. It’s only been in the last two days that I realized how much I loved Sherlock (and Mr. Cumberbatch), and now I’m in full-on fangirl mode.
I had to start a new board on Pinterest just to accommodate for everything Cumberbatch-y I wanted to stare at.
The question is, though…what IS it about these shows (or books, or movies) that makes us geek out? Why is Sherlock the new black? Why do “nerdy” shows get such strong followings that may only be mirrored by the Hannah Montana-fandom in tweens of years past?
I think the answer is in the target audience. Geeks/nerds (whatever we want to go by) are a special kind of people with a certain trait. We have a dedication to imagination, to class, to humor, to sadness. We want to participate in worlds, not just watch them go by. We want to laugh, cry, love, and be affected by what we hear and see. We love attention to detail, adventure, romance, and parody.
Okay, so I may have just described all of humanity.
But that’s why these shows are so popular! We are drawn in. We want to experience the universe with the characters. We want to wallpaper our bedrooms black and white, spray-paint a yellow smiley face and yell, “Bored!” as we fire bullets at the wall. (Maybe. ….Just me? Dang it.)
I’m just saying that I didn’t used to be this way. I dated a geek in high school, and you know what? He tried to introduce me to Dr. Who. And Firefly. And I didn’t like them. (BLASPHEMY!) But seriously, I didn’t. I was too busy, and I didn’t want to think when I watched TV. Maybe deep down I wanted to connect with something, but that’s probably why I ended up watching Dance Moms–I’m a dancer. (Yes, that is really why I watch it, I swear.)
And sure, I’m still busy. I still sometimes don’t want to think (hello, Pinterest). At the same time, though, I want to fall in love with characters and be a part of a world. And I don’t mind being a fangirl in a massive fanbase. Anyone who faints over Cumberbatch’s cheekbones is surely a friend of mine.
So, continue on, various authors, Showtime, BBC, HBO…er…BBC again… (Admit it, they’re good.) Give us your eccentrics, your villains, your highly-functioning sociopaths! We accept them and treat them as our own. “We” being pretty much all of humanity.
Maybe we’re all a little nerdy.
But, hey, I’m sure there’s enough Cumberbatch to go around 😉
If you do anything today, let it be love! (To Cumberbatch. Seriously, can I send this man a cake?)