So, I have this anxiety disorder. I don’t really like going out these days. I’d rather be stuck by myself in an elevator with a full bladder than at a social event with a large group of people. However, the place I would most like to be when I’m not feeling like myself is in front of my television screen.
Maybe comfort characters is a more accurate title for this post. It’s the people in the shows that I love, that give me the most comfort. Watching these characters is more effective then any breathing technique or visualization exercise in my books. Being unemployed I have a lot more time to spend with my TV friends. Here are a few of my favorites.
Kris Laudien on CTV Morning News. Not only is he a super-fox but he is consistently hilarious. He seems to take the piss out of everything he’s talking about. What I mean is that he has this amazing ability to coast right on the edge between sarcasm and actually caring. I never know where he stands and that fascinates me. Is he truly invested in whether a leading expert can tell you what your dog is thinking? I’ve always been an early riser but because of his razor sharp wit I leap out of bed at 6 a.m. every morning to hear him tell me my top stories 5 or 6 times before 8 a.m. I also love the camaraderie shared by the whole CTV Morning News team. They genuinely seem as though they love working together and have a pile of fun at what they do.
The Behavior Analysis Unit of Criminal Minds from seasons 1 – 7. Yes, I morbidly watch/listen (I close my eyes) to gruesomely violent and misogynistic scenes of rape, torture, mutilations, etc. so I can spend an hour with my BAU family. First there is the lovely JJ (A.J. Cook.) She’s the mother figure of the group. She comforts grieving parents and carries kidnapped children out of burning or about to be burning buildings. JJ is the one you would go to for a much needed hug or girl talk over a cup of tea. Then there’s Prentiss (Paget Brewster). She’s the no nonsense tough girl with street smarts and guts of steal. Prentiss sometimes let’s her emotions get the best of her and these are my favorite moments. Brewster left the show after season 7 and was irreplaceable, as proven from the revolving door of actresses who tried to take her place (including Jeane Tripplehorn and Jennifer Love Hewitt). Neither have been able to match Brewster’s perfect balance of grit and heart. Morgan (Shemar Moore) is the man’s man who kicks down all the doors and chases moving vans on foot. He would do anything for his team and has a heart made out of stone and goo. He’s the one you would go to for advice about boys. He’s very suave. Morgan has a special relationship with the quirky Garcia, who he calls “baby girl.” Behind their flirtatious banter is a deep friendship that often brings me to tears. Kristen Vangsness as Garcia is the emoticon loving, leopard print wearing, fluffy pen using technical analyst for the BAU. Using her individuality as a shield, she is always the first to let her tears flow. She wears her heart on her sleeve and is fiercely loyal to her team members. She would be the perfect person to sit around with in pajamas and make fun of cheesy movies with (while secretly being touched by them). And then there’s the baby-faced Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler). Besides having a little crush on him, I relate big time to his awkwardness and his inability to read social cues. Like Spencer I have a wonderful group of friends who accept my quirks and strangeness. Unlike Spencer, I am not a genius with a photographic memory. I love to watch how protective the team is of Spencer and how they’ve come to love his fixations and eccentricities. Lastly there’s Hotch (Thomas Gibson), the tough but fair father figure of the team with permanent father figure 5 o’clock shadow. Hotch is the one who talks the bad guys out of blowing up bombs or throwing victims off of cliffs. He usually does this by ruggedly throwing down his bullet proof vest, unloading his weapon and sternly explaining that, “he just wants to talk.” (Of course Morgan or JJ usually have the bad guy in the scope of their sniper guns). I love to watch the dynamics of this team that always have each others’ backs, both personally and professionally. I realize that I have neglected to mention Rossi, but he just doesn’t do it for me. Sorry Joe Mantegna, but you were never going to be able to replace the incomparable Mandy Patinkin! I’m also a sucker for the cheesy quotes in voice-over at the end of each episode played over stock footage of the plane flying the team safely back to the BAU. Here’s my favorite “Hope is the thing, with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all”.- Emily Dickenson
I think these shows have such a comforting effect on me because of my fear and disdain for change. Unlike my other favorite TV shows, the format/formula of the CTV Morning News and Criminal Minds never changes. I can comfortably watch my favorite characters move through familiar territory. This post is in no way a means to “therapize” myself but it reminds me of being a kid and always watching the same movies and reading the same books over and over and over again. I can still recite The Little Mermaid and Terminator 2 from memory. I will watch the same episode of Criminal Minds 3 or 4 times or as I mentioned above, listen to the same news headlines all morning long. With so much change shaking things up for me personally it’s nice to catch up with old friends. I promise to get back to posts about Homeland, The Sopranos, In Treatment and Masters of Sex as soon as possible.