Making Memories the TV Way

Remember appointment viewing TV? It’s not really a thing in 2019 because everyone subscribes to a different cable or streaming service. It seems like every time I turn around there is a new option for viewing. The end result is that it is rare for everyone to be watching the same television program at the same time like we all used to. In the days before streaming we would all watch the same television shows and then share the experience the next day. The day after a big television event everyone would talk about it. After the final episode of M.A.S.H. or Friends people would discuss the plot at school or work – it was big news. Now it happens less and less.

I have great memories of watching television with my family when I was a kid and then, in university years, cozying up on a couch together with classmates to watch our favourite shows (although we really should have been studying). When I talk about this with people at the library now we all agree that it was the sharing that really meant something – everyone involved in the same activity and then talking about it later. We all knew the same characters, story lines and theme songs! Oh, the songs.

Here at the library we have shelves and shelves of the TV shows that will take you back to the days of your childhood – just pick a decade. We have Green Acres, Family Ties, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and every wonderful season of Scorpion (if you haven’t seen it yet, you have to – it’s like the A-team but set in 2010s). The real thrill of having this diversity of television viewing at our disposal is that it is so much easier to find the show that matches your needs. Just watch an episode or two and see if you like it and then bring it back to the library if it doesn’t work for your family.

We hear this kind of feedback all of the time at the library desk, especially from people who are trying to find something that suits a variety of tastes in one group. Trying something new at the library is a breeze and we can help you sort through all of the choices. When you are able to browse through a collection that houses television programming that was written in the 1950s (Gunsmoke), the 1970s (Mary Tyler Moore), the 1990s (Frasier) and this past year (Mr. Robot) it is so easy to be extra aware of things like the sense of humour used by the writers and actors. You can even make your choices based on how graphic they are in their depiction of violence or sexual content in an individual series. Parents and grandparents come to the desks to find television shows that they can share with children and grandchildren or they come to us to ask for suggestions. This is all possible through the wide assortment of series that we have here on the shelves.

At our house we now know that we have fallen in love with the work of television producer Mike Schur. It wasn’t deliberate. We didn’t set out to follow the TV shows that he made but there was a moment when I was listening to a podcast for the television show The Good Place when I heard a conversation about his work and found that so much of the content that was coming from his production company – Fremulon – falls in our top five of all-time favourite television programs. We have made characters and catch phrases from Parks & Recreation, The Good Place and Brooklyn Nine-Nine part of our household because they feel like ‘family’. Well, a particularly diverse and extremely funny family. The team at Fremulon have cast talented actors who are able to make television shows that are telling you a story – whether it is in a police station, city council office or in another ‘place’ – while making you feel like you could be at home there too.

And, isn’t that what made watching television so cozy way back when you were a kid? Feeling comfortable at home, just sitting on the couch, fighting over what you would watch, because someone wanted to watch the Sunday Walt Disney movie but someone else wanted to watch the football game? You can take home a television series (or try more than one – we have so many here on the shelves) and make some cozy memories of your own.

— Penny M.