As many of you who’ve spoken to me on chats know, or have heard of my glittering reputation through other channels (in fact, this year I’m teaching a class on telelvision and it’s not too late to sign up!), I love television. In fact, I am routinely playing catch up on six or more shows: expanding my interests, developing new and increasingly inappropriate crushes on actor and character alike… It’s something that keeps me busy, happy and stops me from murdering Chad every few days out of boredom. Instead, I sit blissfully in front of my tv set or laptop watching hour after hour of whatever show currently has my attention. I try not to discriminate, so sometimes my weapon of choice also includes (really) bad acting and child performers.
For any television addict, however, September is one of the most exciting months of the year. It’s not a month where sweeps happen, and it’s not necessarily when the most exciting episodes of a show air, but it is when the dreaded summer hiatus for most primetime shows comes to an end. New content begins airing; it’s a very exciting time.
I can’t say I’ve ever done anything too whacky to make sure I’m home in time for all my favorite shows to start; usually I just take off work every night to ensure I’m home and am extra careful not to make any important plans that I can’t later accidentally cancel. But I do have some ideas for what you can say to friends or family to make sure you find yourself sitting comfortably on the couch when the theme song to “How I Met Your Mother” first begins to chime through your super deluxe surround sound HD magical wizarding home stereo system. Or whatever you have.
1. This one requires a bit more practice, so maybe you could start getting things ready for next year. Or, actually never mind. I think I figured out a way to pull it off this year.
CONGRATULATIONS. YOU’RE HAVING A BABY!
Yup, you read that right. You can probably even pull this one off for a few shows. How can you do it this year? Easy. You had a surrogate. That explains why you never looked pregnant or anything. And she keeps going into false labor, having contractions, whatever. People sometimes ask for a lot of details, but if you make stuff up they probably won’t question you. Honestly, I think this one is golden. You’ll be relaxing in front of the television in no time! …But just in case you don’t want to try it, number two is a little less crazy.
2. Swine flu. Yup, it’s back. Remember how everyone panicked before? They probably will again. Just cough and kind of let your eyes glaze over when you talk to them. If you’re on the phone (EW, the phone), you can probably blow your nose or sniffle a little. If you’re texting, just assure them you’re highly contagious and need to stay in for the evening. Or the whole week. Honestly, this one is pretty useful and works for at least a week. If you have different groups of friends, I’d say you’re in the clear to use it a few times if you need to.
Alright, so you tried it; it didn’t work. I’m sure we all have that one friend who just insists her immune system is impenetrable. They won’t take no for an answer. Well, why don’t we try excuse 2.1.
2.1. Magical Swine flu. I know. I know. Crazy, right? But hear me out. This one has staying power…
So the deal here is this: this swine flu is a crazy ridiculous strain. You’re going to be so sick you can’t even pick up the phone. You’ll just have to text your friends and tell them you absolutely must stay in bed, absolutely no exceptions. And they should definitely not try to visit. Why? Because not only is it highly contagious, with its intense flu-like symptoms and whatever, but you also start to turn into a pig. Yeah, you’ll have a curly tail just like Dudley did. But don’t worry, because you’ll be able to use excuse three to get it removed…
3. You might have to talk your way around this one with your muggle friends, but the wizarding folk should just nod their head politely. If they don’t buy the swine flu, you can always pretend it was your kid sister that everyone secretly suspects is a squib. After all, mistakes happen, so so one will question that… But I digress. Clearly, you can’t just go around with a pig’s tail. You have to get that removed. I mean, are you just going to cut holes into your pants for all your life? Stupid swine flu! Or wait, this is good. Now you have another excuse to stay home and away from social obligations!! Hoorah!!
4. Okay, this one took me some time to come up with, but hopefully you can pull it off. Do you have a pet? Great! This one is for you. Don’t have a pet? Well, that’s fine. I’ll add a 4.1 for you. And it’ll just be an extra one for everyone else. Or you could get a pet and save me some time. No? Whatever, fine. I’m clever; I’ll get another idea.
Alright, so you have a pet. That’s great because it leaves us with lots of options. If you have a dog, you could tell you’re friends that you’re teaching him to meow. It’s a very intensive process and he almost has it down. You definitely can’t go out during such an important time. Have a bird? You’re teaching him to sing. And no, you can’t just finish later. He’ll think that that’s the whole song, and what’s the point of teaching a bird to sing half of a song? I mean gosh, that’s just dumb.
Better yet! Do you have two pets? Easy. They’re getting married. Three days later, they can get a divorce. That was still longer than Britney Spears! To go the emotional route, your gerbil has heartburn. You just can’t bear leaving the poor little guy alone; he needs your support. There’s just no way you can go out. Use this one on your friends who love animals, or have their own pets. They’ll totally get it, and you’ll be getting comfy on your couch.
4.1. So you didn’t want to get a pet, eh? Well, fine. I’m sure you have some sort of reasonable excuse, because animals are the best. Seriously, just look at this puppy:
Wow that got really off topic. Better try and make this a quick one since the column is already approaching behemoth standards. And my talking about that is not helping.
I thought about making this one really lame, until I came up with the coolest excuse ever. Like, I would believe this excuse. If someone used it on me, I’d eat it up with a soup ladle. AND I’d be super jealous on top of it. You can’t go out because you’re having… wait for it…
Albus Dumbledore’s Ghost over for dinner! I know! My genius even surprises me sometimes. So Albus is gonna come over and just chill. Relax, whatever. You’re going to have a great time. But obviously his ghost can’t just follow you and your friends around. Albus wants to watch The Office with you! Oh, but your friends definitely can’t come hang… Albus gets a little shy around strangers and can only handle one person at a time. One day they’ll get the text form beyond the grave. Well, if they’re cool enough. In the meantime, you can pour some butterbeer for yourself (and maybe a second for Albus’s ghost. If he doesn’t show up, you can always drink it youself).
5. This might be an unpopular one but… you could just tell them the truth. It sounds unreasonable, but let’s be honest. If you’re really considering using one of these, I doubt your friends are oblivious to your severe television addiction. Not that I’m addicted. I don’t need help. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Puppies are great.
At any rate… I don't know about your friends, but mine would probably just groan and politely ask if I wanted company. After I declined (they really don’t need to witness that level of crazy in person), they could go have a wonderful time doing whatever they want to do, and I’ll have a big bowl of popcorn and a lot of feelings. In the end, we both end up happy!
Whatever route you end up choosing to enjoy your television this Fall, I hope you have a good time and stay safe! Never leave yourself with overwhelming OTP feelings. If your couple is being angsty, or even just downright adorable, SEEK HELP. It is much better to fangirl with a friend. Just probably not a real life friend. Sometimes they just don’t understand. And if you see my rocking in a corner, don’t worry; it’s probably just a tv show. See you next month!