I have, in my old age, become particularly susceptible to media.
This was something I remember all-too-clearly being warned about in high school, when we had an entire class called “Media Studies” that didn’t actually understand how media worked; there was an exercise early in the class where everyone had to record how much media they were exposed to, and my estimate was embarrassingly higher than everyone else’s, until I pointed out that things like “listening to the radio” and “watching television” actually counted even if you “weren’t paying attention” or “had it on in the background while doing something else.”
Nonetheless, a running theme of that somewhat ill-considered class was that All Media Is Bad And Untrustworthy Unless It’s School Books or Shakespeare, with a subtheme being that media was inherently intending to brainwash us all into mindless consumers who had no independent thoughts for themselves. Even at the time, it felt like paranoid overkill, but thinking about things now, perhaps I was too cynical for my own good…
I should explain, perhaps. In recent weeks, we’ve been binging Gilmore Girls on Netflix, because it’s a wonderful show, sure, but it’s also a particularly gentle show, high on the fast-paced dialogue, comedy and satisfying soap operatics, but hardly anything likely to actually upset in any real way. It’s comfort food, basically, and very satisfying in that respect.
To describe our viewing habits as “binging” the show is, maybe, understatement; in the space of just over a couple of weeks, we’re into the seventh and final season, with each season lasting 22 episodes roughly 45 minutes long. We have, in other words, been watching a lot of Gilmore Girls. And it’s having an unexpected effect on me.
For at least two nights in the last week, I’ve been dreaming Gilmore Girls dreams. Not dreams in which I’m a character in the show, per se, but ones in which I’m interacting with the characters, or in the show’s fictional setting of Stars Hollow.
They’re not bad dreams; they’re very mediocre and meaningless, really. In each case, though, there’s a point midway through the dream where I realize I’m dreaming about a television show and get very worried about that. It’s not a lucid dream moment, as such, just a recognition that maybe I’m watching the show too much if this is happening.
Maybe I’m overthinking things. After all, there’s less than a season left, and then it’ll be time for the holiday movies that’ll dominate December. But still…!