The verdict is in. Don’t be embarrassed, I won’t tell anyone, just be honest. How much television do you watch per week? I’ve tallied my votes and yes, this is my final answer: I have a whopping 15 hours of TV that I must watch every week, not counting the hours upon hours of just random shows I have on while I’m doing my homework, eating my breakfast, and so on. But as I was watching my “favorite” TV shows last week, a thought occurred to me: why on earth am I watching this? Do I really enjoy the show, or am I simply suffering from an unquenchable desire to see how the show will eventually and inevitably crash and burn? After six never-ending seasons of “One Tree Hill,” I can’t deny that, at this point, any ending to come in the next ten episodes would be a happy one.
Like all top TV shows, “One Tree Hill” started off with a bang. It was a fun show with a unique and attractive cast, with a following of 3.5 million its first season, according to the ABC Medianet website. The ratings went up from there into the successful 2nd-4th seasons, and then… kerplunk! Now in its 7th season, ABC Medianet reports 2.53 million viewers, making it one of the CW’s lowest ranked shows. I myself, an avid viewer since Lucas and Peyton’s first intense gaze into each other’s eyes from afar, have to force myself to turn it on every week: yet, without fail, I still do. It’s the same with “The Hills” and “90210.” Are these shows all going down the drain, or are there still surprises left for us? Can any of the shows redeem themselves before it’s too late?
After Lauren Conrad (better known as LC) left “The Hills,” Kristin Cavallari took over in a big way. This girl knows how to put on a show, and after just one season, she has brought the already unbelievable show to its breaking point. Who seriously moves to L.A. for no apparent reason and immediately moves in on the ex-boyfriend of a potential friend? And who in their right mind would choose Justin-Bobby over Brody Jenner? No one, that’s who.
I can’t stand any of the characters on the show, yet I enthusiastically tune in every Monday at 10 PM. Why is that? Am I really that bored? I can think of a hundred other things I could be doing during that half hour: homework, exercising, cleaning my room, sleeping, spying on people from my giant window in Stuvi2. Or is it because there’s just something deeply satisfying about watching people who are much richer and more than me crash and burn? Honestly, what could be more satisfying? These people have everything: fortune, beauty, and fame – just from living their lives. They go about their daily routines and millions of people worship them for it. Hey, MTV, come film me! I have way more drama in my life than they do! Let me in on some of that fame and fortune!
No matter how fun it is to watch pretty people fail, eventually people get bored. After watching Brooke fail at 4 serious relationships with 4 seriously hot guys on “One Tree Hill,” I don’t think I’m up for a 5th, even if the guy is British. I don’t even care if Kristin dumps Justin-Bobby and runs off with her girlfriend Stacy on “The Hills.” And most of all, I don’t care if Adrianna on “90210” overdoses for the gazillionth time or if Liam keeps another secret from Naomi.
But then, crash-and-burn television, you pull a fast one:
The entire last season of “90210” got worse and worse as it progressed, and I almost gave up on it several times. After all, it’s only a couple seasons in, so I’m not fully committed yet. But, boy, am I glad I stuck around for that final episode. I thought they had completely abandoned the only story-line that I cared about, but then, that last 30 seconds blew my mind. When Jasper told Annie he knew about her hit-and-run accident, I jumped out of my chair like a gazelle and threw both fists in the air. Yes! Finally!! A real surprise! None of that mysterious hocus pocus from “Lost” or the silly OMG moments of “Gossip Girl.” They really hit the spot, bringing back a case we thought was closed, and then BAM, credits. I wasn’t that absorbed with “90210” before, but now I’m chomping at the bit for the new season to start.
So what’s the point of all this? Hope. Yes folks, there’s still hope out there in TV land. Some writers still know how to thrill and torture us when we least expect it. I’m not saying “90210” will be the next best thing since sliced bread – I still fully expect this show to crash and burn. But now I know that even though my favorite shows are kicking the can, I have a reason to keep tuning in every Monday night, just so I don’t miss the big moment that lets me sigh with relief. Is this good or bad? Who knows? Maybe it will all just be a big waste of time, but at least now I can hope it won’t be.