Loving a Lame TV Show Makes Me Question My Whole Reality


Two minutes into break time I found myself running out of the school.  Without pausing to even say I’d be back, I slipped my coat on and ducked out of the place.  I cut back behind the 7-11 and then squeezed through the gap between two apartment buildings.  I looked around to see if anyone was following me.  They weren’t.  Still, I wasn’t far enough.  I put my head down and snuck behind another building, quickly checking again to see if anyone was watching.  The coast seemed to be clear, and, knowing I was alone, I did what I set out to do.

I smoked a cigarette.

See - people smoked in the classroom back in 1942. It's not like teens have gotten better since then.

As a teacher, you’re not supposed to let students see you smoking.  Doing so would make you a bad role model, and we all know that if that happened, kids might start smoking before they turn 18.  I’ve heard smokers talk about how anti-smoking laws make them feel like lepers; there is no greater leper than the smoking teacher.  Not only is the smoking teacher frowned upon heavily, the smoking teacher also must create a whole routine to hide the habit.  When a teacher has a smoke break, he/she all of a sudden has to become Shady McShadster.  I’ve seen teachers crouched down in their cars smoking, blasting themselves with Fabreze to kill the smell, gargling mouthwash in the parking lot, and carrying around a disgusting plastic bottle filled with hundreds of cigarette butts to avoid leaving any evidence behind.  Meanwhile, the students just do it in the bathroom stall and that seems to work out pretty well.

Stop making out during the riot and get a room.

The reason I bring this up is to touch upon the major theme of this post: behavior that is technically okay, but is still shameful none-the-less.  I’m speaking about the shame that comes with doing something that others would frown upon just because it isn’t cool or appropriate, as opposed to something that is just plain ethically wrong.  Kissing in public is another good example of this.  There’s nothing wrong with it – making out in the corner of Dave and Buster’s isn’t against the law – but afterwards, it’s hard not to feel a bit awkward.  Why?  Because our society has a clear and distinct rule that it quietly preaches: Do not act like a teenager, even if you are, in fact, a teenager.

Which is why I am burdened with guilt when it comes to my favorite TV show – the new 90210.  I love it.  Damn the world, I’m declaring my love right now.  I love 90210!  Like all great loves, my adoration for 90210 wasn’t planned.  I started watching it because it was the only English language program on Korean television, and because I recognized one of the actors from The Wire.  At first, I was skeptical.  I tried to keep a cool, ironic distance.  I wasn’t tuning in every Monday and Tuesday night because I liked it; I was only watching it so I could laugh at it.  Or so I told myself…

The glue of the show. Annie and Naomi - the 2 that hold the 90 and 10 together.

Come on, I’m the guy who watches Bela Tarr films and likes obscure ‘60s music and scoffs at authors like James Patterson
and Nicolas Sparks.  Me?  Like 90210?  Surely you jest!  The truth be told, though, it grew on me.  Big time.  I love Naomi.  I’m worried about Dixon’s drug problem.  Annie’s foray into prostitution has me shattered.  I’m also upset about Silver not understanding that Navid is doing undercover work for the FBI, and that she has now turned to dating her professor.  Just as I keep my smoking habit hidden at school, I try to keep my 90210 gushing to myself.  I don’t want word to spread.

“On Game of Thrones,” Hipster Trish once told me, “when someone messes up, he gets beheaded.”

“Oh yeah?” I retorted.  “On 90210, when someone messes up, he gets emotionally damaged…and that leaves scars.”

I feel so cool...yet so alone...

It was embarrassing.  There’s a whole plethora of acceptable things for an adult male to like – sports, Judd Apatow movies, even video games.  90210 isn’t exactly on that list.  Maybe, though, there’s something circular about pretension, and I’ve just come to the point where the circle is made whole.  When I was 12 or 13 I just watched stuff and liked it; it wasn’t until I started getting older that other things factored in.  By the time I was in college, I was far too cool to watch an Adam Sandler movie or listen to Matchbox 20 (let’s be honest though, those things really do suck).  That was the popular stuff.  The teenager stuff.  I sat in my room alone, drinking beer and listening to The Smiths and feeling oh so hip.

But now that I’m older, I don’t care anymore.  90210 is awesome.  Maybe pretension is something we grow into and eventually grow out of, sort of like physical attractiveness.  In other words, 90210 isn’t something to be ashamed of.

Liking it is a sign of maturity.



45 thoughts on “Loving a Lame TV Show Makes Me Question My Whole Reality

  1. Is this where we confess our most embarrassing, non-hip secrets about ourselves? Perfect, I have been dying to let someone know all of this:
    *I actually still listen to this awful Christian band (which pretty much sums up all of them) and sing with gusto.
    *I love crossword puzzles (um, hello grandma?)
    *I owned a Razr phone up until 2 months ago. And I miss it.
    *I still have no idea what Tumblr is. I have an account too. (Same goes with Twitter)
    *I dance like Ellen on “Seinfeld” on the dancefloor.
    Aaaaaahhh. Makes you feel better about your 90210 love, doesn’t it?

    • I discovered my love for crossword puzzles about a year and a half ago. My only regret is that I didn’t learn about it sooner. Solve ’em with pride, Cara; we’re in this thing together. #crosswordsolidarity

    • Haha – I love this list! Let me go point by point:
      * Yeah, Christian music is pretty rough. Can’t support this, although it may help you get in with the cool crowd in the afterlife.
      * The only reason I don’t do crossword puzzles is because I suck at them. In theory, they’re great.
      * I didn’t even have a cell phone until two years ago. It takes me 20 minutes to send a txt message.
      * I just learned about a week ago that Tumblr existed. What is it, exactly? I don’t get it. It’s like for blogs that are just links or something? So lost. Do not currently have Twitter. Tried to set up Linkedin but am confused by it.
      * The Elaine dance is classic. Do it proudly!

      I would go watch 90210 now, but there aren’t any episodes I haven’t seen. : (

      • And now I will respond to your reponses to each of my confessions:
        *I’m hoping God is a fan of SwitchFoot and when I am at the pearly gates, I can sing “Learning to Breathe” at the top of my lungs and it will move Him/Her so deeply that He/She will overlook all my other terrible attributes and say, “Welcome Cara.”
        *I am with you on the easy crossword puzzles. Makes me feel smarter. I learned the word “ire” back in high school because of it (oh God, I just admitted that I have been doing crosswords for the last 15 years!)
        *I got a cell phone when I was 24 years old. I fought it for so long. I hate talking on the phone. And I hate my new Samsung.
        *Tumblr is like a new way to blog? <–still not sure. I use it to link my blog up to it. I can't feel at home there, however. Twitter as well. I sit there saying, "What the hell do I do now???" Damn kids and their technology…
        *kicking leg out while doing the hitchhiker*

      • As you can see, I’m not especially busy today.
        * Switch Foot – they’re sort of mainstream, though. It’s not like you’re blasting Petra or something. (Again my references date me – when was Petra popular? 1993?)
        * Through a crossword puzzle, I learned Bogeyman is not spelled “Boogieman.”
        * To hell with Samsung. Sick of hearing about how great they are. (They’re the pride of Korea)
        * I don’t like the way Tumblr is spelled.
        * It’s all about the thumbs, Cara!

      • I never understood the name – what does “Switchfoot” mean? It always made me think the guy had a shoe with a knife in it, like a switchblade on his foot (hence, ‘switchfoot’). But I feel that might be incorrect…

        Hi Set In Motion! Hey – I might have asked you this before – but where’s your blog? I’m guessing you have one…I’m having trouble connecting to it through your gravatar. Send me a link or something – I’d like to check it out. : D

  2. Karin Babin

    Um… first that 2b whatever horrible pop stuff that you posted, that I tried to get through the video but had to choose between that and slitting my wrists… and now this?

    I feel a little well deserved mockery brewing… but you know, you said something about maturity. I will mock you Shakespeare style!! It’s more grown-up like.

    I scorn you, scurvy companion. Hey, I’m just quoting.

    • I would like to state that I don’t have scurvy and I do not support having it.

      Yeah, I don’t know what’s going on here. I used to be really edgy…and now it’s all 90210 and 2ne1. Bad pop things with numbers in them. I’m afraid that soon I’ll start digging the 700 Club.

      Feel free to mock me Shakespeare style any time you feel like it. Peace, Karin!

      • Karin Babin

        What’s the 700 Club?

        I didn’t figure you actually have scurvy, it’s just that most of Shakespeare’s insults revolve around being foolish (in a really derogatory way, I only wanted to mock you a little), or witless, which you are not, or being murderous, incestuous, or cowardly. I have chosen to give you the benefit of the doubt that you are none of the latter. My choices of grown-up style mockery were limited. I would like to commend you on not having, nor supporting the having of scurvy however. Hooray for citrus!

      • I don’t really know what scurvy is. I feel it would be fun to curse someone with scurvy though. Maybe Rick Perry. Rick Perry, I officially curse you with scurvy!

        Wow, that felt really good. : )

        The 700 was/is like a religious group/program that I believe was run by a guy named Pat Robertson. That’s about all the 700 club info I have.

        Hooray for citrus again!

  3. I love and laughed very loudly at your comparison of pretension to physical attractiveness!

    My husband has a love of Romantic Comedies. He gets into my guilty pleasure show, One Tree Hill. But, I think those are the types of things that make him well rounded and not a douche. So, don’t be so hard on yourself about it!

    I myself, watch terrible “reality” shows if I cannot sleep at 2 am. And, I enjoy them immensely. Shows like Jersey Shore, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Mob Wives, etc. Part is the hilarity and part is knowing I was a lot like that and at that time it was fun, when I was 19.

    Hope you’re enjoying this season!

    • Haha – I thought that might be offensive but left in there anyways. Whew! Good to hear it got a laugh. : )

      Oh yeah…One Tree Hill. I briefly dated this wonderful girl from Taiwan who was watching One Tree Hill as a way to learn English. So I watched a few episodes with her…and I could feel the show wrapping its hands around my legs. I had to escape before it was too late! 90210 is bad enough; if I also sat around watching One Tree Hill, I don’t think I could look at myself in the mirror. It appeared to be excellent, though.

      And reality shows…I love them. Not enough to download, thankfully, but when I was in the States, I’d constantly get sucked into stuff like Rock of Love, I Love New York, Real World, the awesome Real Word vs. Road Rules Challenge, Top Chef, Cheaters, and Beauty and the Geek. They were so, so good. Is it trash? You bet. But I’ll take it over The Office or Breaking Bad any day. Perhaps that says something bad about me…

      Love ya Hope! Keep on being you! : )

  4. Now I do not feel so bad about confessing it that I too watch 90210.
    I watch every other series they show on T.V, ranging from Game of Thrones to Breakout Kings and Necessary Roughness.

    I swear I am not glued to my T.V set

    • Yes! I’m not alone. Although you have a good range…me, not so much.

      It’s been a month since Liam crashed the motorcycle. I’m dying over here. How dare whatever channel 90210 is on leave me in suspense like that (CW?). On a side note, I will be angry if Ivy sleeps with the photographer in Guatemala.

      Ok. I will stop now.

  5. What’s with the 4 reply maximum over here? This isn’t a bar! I refuse to be restricted. (As you can see, I haven’t been up to much either other than reading blogs and writing on my own). You are in good company.
    All I can say is that you just mentioned Petra. I don’t know if I should laugh, cry, or hug you. Or punch you. Petra had a comeback song in 1996 and I found myself fond of it. His tight leather pants and nipple-bearing shirt? Not so much. I should punch myself for knowing their music, while I am at it.

    • Lol! There’s a 4 reply maximum? How do I turn that off?

      I never actually listened to Petra; I had a friend who was huge into them (him?) and I bought the guy a Petra CD once for his birthday. He acted like he’d gotten the best gift ever. Really they’re the only Christian rock band I know to use as a reference. My friend also liked some odd semi-rapper named ‘Carmen.’ Remember that dude? He was sort of hilarious!

      • Ohmygod, I think I just peed my pants. I swear to the G that Carmen had a song that had these lyrics: “Who’s in the house? J.C.!” Really? Jesus Christ is in the mother effin house? He was terrible and a white dude rapping. I am so embarrassed to know all of this… In my defense, I was young and naive. I never listened to Petra, just that one song I found inspirational. I bet you when I die, God is going to be like, “Seriously Cara, what the hell was the deal with all that horrible music you listened to? Why not Matchbox 21?” <–okay, God would never say that…more of a Bad Religion kind of God, me thinks…


      • P.S. I just saw someone said that my blog format is so LiveJournal 2001 and they hate it and it drives them nuts. How’s *that* for being outdated and non-hip? HAHA. Gave me a good chuckle, really. I have no idea what LiveJournal is but it must be cool…

      • I think I’ve heard of LiveJournal…maybe. But if you write, “This blog is so LiveJournal 2001,” I think that shows you really haven’t done much with the last ten years. Except listen to Carmen, maybe. Cause he’s awesome.

        I think God listens to things like Perry Como and Pat Boone. That’s what I picture my God listening to, anyways. If I get into heaven, Perry, God and I can sing “Mama Loves Mambo” together. Something to look forward to.

  6. Crying with Laughter here, try Glee it’s shamefull, but oh so addictive, they do all your singing and dancing for you (I have all the music, hidden in a random folder in the heart of my computer) Tumblr is the ‘edgier’ way to blog (so I’ve been told) and ‘the smiths’ were and still are timeless.

    Why we find the need to feel awkward I still don’t know. I used to smoke proudly even had one of those long cigarette holders my great aunt had, just because she looked so cool.

    Personally I think people make us feel awkward because they are portraying an image ‘too cool for that’ but secretly they are staring at us because they desperately wish they had the guts to be open with the fact they want to be doing that too:)

    • Love that last paragraph, Fab. They’re all gutless pigs, the lot of them! Haha – not really, but it’s fun to think that.

      First – Glee. I endured one episode because a girl I was seeing forced it on me (it had Gweneth Paltrow in it). Usually I can at least sit through anything, but I seriously struggled through Glee. It was painful, girl. I hated the style of the show, the characters, and the butchering of some decent songs. Afterwards I tried to lie and say it was all right but failed miserably. Tons of my friends love Glee. I’m put it in the ‘not for me’ category.

      Second – smoking. I will never, ever accept the idea that smoking is not cool. Smoking is cool. Period. It’s also enjoyable. Does it kill you? Yeah. It is a cool, enjoyable thing that kills you. So, anti-smoking people, go ahead and put a black lung on the cigarette pack. But don’t try to front and say it’s “cool” not to smoke…cause that’s so counter-intuitive I would think it would make the target audience feel as though they’re being overly manipulated.

      Ok. Rant over. Gonna go listen to some Smiths now. : )

  7. letters from val

    We all have guilty pleasures… and you’re absolutely right, it’s a sign of maturity to bring ’em out of the closet, and make them not guilty anymore. Never seen the new 90210, but reality shows get so much love… not the ones on VH1 though (they’re just too messy– if that’s even possible).

    • Come on, Val. I’d like to believe that you, much like me, watched Charm School and enjoyed every moment of it. I don’t even know what the non-VH1 reality shows are. Survivor, Amazing Race…what’s the show where they eat bugs, does that count? I think E! takes the cake though for worst reality programming.

      Man, I’ve watched a lot of junk in my life…

      • letters from val

        Nope, unbelieve it. Never watched Charm School, though did get involuntarily dragged into episodes of Rock of Love, Flavor of Love, and the one with the Matchmaker with the big furry hat.

        Good reality shows (and I realize “good” is subjective): Top Chef, (anything on Bravo that starts with Real Housewives– we’re talking about guilty pleasures), and any show that results in eliminations of contestants. Thankfully, you don’t judge…

      • Oh God…the dating show with the guy in the furry hat. That was my favorite! How did I forget about that??? The Pick Up Artist, and the furry hat guy was called Mystery. I remember watching that and thinking, “I could do this!” I even remember some of the lame lessons he’d teach his pupils and I find myself doing it when I talk to girls – like how you have to touch her on the arm or something when talking to show more-than-friendly interest or how to use playful teasing to flirt. I don’t have it down, but the show “taught” me a lot. I find the best advice comes from guys in a big furry hat.

        I was going to blab a bit about Top Chef but I’ll stop…already blamed too much. Love ya Val!

  8. I don’t watch 90210 but I lea (like, enjoy, appreciate) Survivor. Men and women getting the crapola kicked out of them by nature and TV producers, now that’s entertainment. Enjoy your guilty pleasures and enjoy always, T

    • Excellent attitude. I was obsessed with the first season of Survivor but I didn’t watch much after that. The last episode of the first season is absolutely classic though. Susan’s rat/snake speech was Shakespearean.

      Good to hear from you, Tricia L!

  9. I wish more people had made out during that riot! Hell, I would have accepted full on sexy times if it would have stopped so many of those stupid goons from blowing our poor city sky high.

    I really like this post. I think more people need to just like what they like and be okay with it.

    Although I did just buy a Jessica Simpson designed dress and told everyone that it was Marc by Marc Jacobs. So…I’m working on it.

  10. Karin Babin

    Scurvy is a disease that is caused as a result of vitamin C deficiency.

    Sailors in the 16th to 18th centuries who navigated long voyages without enough vitamin C and frequently fell victim to this and died. Sadly, cases still exist today. Mostly in impoverished nations, and surprisingly also occasionally among serious alcoholics.

    Humans are unable to synthesize vitamin C which we require for collagen production and iron absorption – hence hooray for citrus!

    The following is googled because copying and pasting is less work:

    Scurvy symptoms may begin with appetite loss, poor weight gain, diarrhea, rapid breathing, fever, irritability, tenderness and discomfort in legs, swelling over long bones, bleeding (hemorrhaging), and feelings of paralysis.

    As the disease progresses, a scurvy victim may present bleeding of the gums, loosened teeth, petechial hemorrhage of the skin and mucous membranes (a tiny pinpoint red mark), bleeding in the eye, proptopsis of the eyeball (protruding eye), constochondral beading (beading of the cartilage between joints), hyperkeratosis (a skin disorder), corkscrew hair, and sicca syndrome (an automimmune disease affecting connective tissue).

    I bet those sailors were a sexy bunch!

    • You are a scurvy expert! You know everything about scurvy! hahaha

      Are your gums bleeding, or are you happy to see me?! Love the scurvy sailors! Thanks Karin for all the scurvy info. : D

      • Karin Babin

        I’m a nerd. I read and I remember the most useless facts. Rarely do I remember anything useful, I’m just a plethora of useless knowledge :s

    • You know, I was ‘too cool’ for it and refused to watch. Maybe some day in my old age I’ll go back and check it out. I will take your word for it, though, as you seem to be a man of good taste.

      Greatest Shows of All Time

      1. Melrose Place
      2. 90210

      I feel this is a solid list. We should be critics.

  11. Don’t hate me, but I like james Patterson. =_= #

    I like Michael Jackson songs ( 5 MJ cds in my car )

    And at one time, was obssessed with Tori Spellings reality show….

  12. I haven’t watched this new 90210 show but I was a big fan of Beverly Hills 90210 show when I was in high school starring Jennie Garth, Shannen D., Tori Spelling, Brian Green, etc.

    I love James Patterson and Nicholas Sparks so, oh please…don’t scoff at me. (with pleading eyes). And Glee (liked their own version of some songs and a few choreography) and One Tree Hill, though I just finished season 1. Oh and Matchbox Twenty! and Melrose Place… I love Switchfoot, too! Geez…. 😀

    I had my first cellphone in college which nearly killed me. I was robbed once and since I refuse to give some valuable things like my phone, the man pointed his gun at my nape.

    Still reading your past posts! Hehe…

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