Saturday, November 16, 2013

I'm not crazy, my mother had me tested: Part 4

I have been accused of being “obsessed” about different things so many times in my life that one might think I need professional help. I didn’t get the nickname “Jaggy” by chance. For ten years, my Tuesday nights were wholly dedicated to the TV show JAG. I know show trivia, character arcs, and storylines better than some subjects I studied in college. It doesn’t make sense for a teenage girl to be “obsessed” with a military drama, but my devotion was unflagging as each season passed. At one point, around the third and fourth seasons, I’d tape each episode while watching the live broadcast, rewind it as fast as I could, watch the episode again, rewind again, and get up at 5:00am the next morning to watch it a third time before I had to leave for school. If I brought up JAG at school--which, due to my passion, was often--students and teachers teased me. They called me names, bashed on the little they knew about the show, and generally ribbed me raw. The librarian, a sweet older woman, made the unfortunate mistake of mentioning she also liked JAG, and after my binge-watching session early Wednesday morning, I’d burst into the school to find her and hash out all the juicy details about the most recent episode. If she missed it, well, spoilers were the least of her concern. I’d quote whole scenes to her, doing voices for each character, setting up props with library chairs and tables if necessary, and she politely humored me each week. Nevermind that the woman had a job to do… that didn’t occur to me as a 7th grader.

All of those JAG episodes were saved on VHS tapes in a large plastic bin under my bed. I had a coordinating Excel spreadsheet with episode summaries, tape numbers, even that week's rating from the official Neilson rating system. I kept the box hidden for a long time. The Man and I had been married a few months before I told him about it, and he quickly dubbed it my "Box of Shame." I retired the tapes last year as we now lack any device in which to play them.

My obsessions have changed over the years. Since JAG ended in 2005, I’ve had to find other interests. While I am passionate about crafting and creating things, that is merely a hobby in which I invest time and funds. My real “obsessions” are still on the screen. For the last several years, I’ve been working my way through actors. I find an actor I feel is interesting or attractive, someone that I might want to see more of, and I watch their entire body of work. The list of actors I have “consumed” is long. Very, very, very long. The number of entire TV series I’ve watched is absolutely staggering, even when I look at it. Some actors are predictable (George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell). Some actors are not very well known, but I’ve been watching their careers since the beginning (Gabriel Macht, Ryan Reynolds, Jeremy Renner). I do occasionally watch an actress’s full work, but it’s not common.

Remember how this all relates to The Big Bang Theory and Sheldon? He is a man of obsessions. He loves his Indiana Jones movies, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. He has a comic book collection that can only be considered vast and valuable. His life more or less revolves around his obsessions and his work.

I know people aren’t used to the idea of being “obsessed” about anything, and I hope to make one thing clear: being passionate and dedicated to something is not the same as being truly “obsessed.” I enjoy watching TV and movies, but I don’t do it when I need to do other things--even though I might wish to. I like certain actors, but I’m not stalking them in real life (online? debatable). I have my own life, and I understand I have responsibilities. I am not addicted. I enjoy, nay, love to watch movies. And I still love JAG.

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