I really appreciate quirky half hour television sitcoms. For example, I like New Girl, not because I have some bizarre hipster love for Zooey Deschanel. A man once told me he’d consider giving his less prominent arm to be with her, but I find her character kind of annoying. I also like Cougar Town and all of its weird quirks, like it isn’t really about a cougar, the cat or the older woman. The inside jokes are amazingly underrated. Then, there’s the HBO hit, Girls, with “selfish” oversharer Hannah, annoyingly free spirit Jessa.
I can’t help but wonder why I love these shows. Why do I feel compelled to watch week after week with predictable storylines or peeks into obnoxiously subversive culture?
The reason? I feel a sense of camaraderie. I have been described as “quirky” or “being an acquired taste.” In thirty minutes, these shows romanticize my flaws and find comedy in my neurosis. Wonderful!
I’m not quirky because I want to be. Frequently, I am confused by social guidelines. I feel everybody got a memo I never received. For example, if Jess on the New Girl set her alarm for 7:12 the male characters would make some joke, “What kind of time is that to wake up to?” Everyone would chuckle, make a “It’s OK, it’s Jess” face and move on. While, this is a thing I actually do, probably from a twinge of OCD. I set my alarm for 8:12 because that time feels safest. Zeros and fives are just too suspicious and if I have to get up earlier at six, well I have to find a whole new time, because 6:12 that’s a double and no way is that going to happen.
See, when you read that, when I was explaining it, it became much less funny and much more fucking crazy. Main and supporting characters never delve past the comedy of quirky. They don’t tell the full story. In the real world, people would not deal with Jess’ antics or being unemployed and not paying rent, regardless of how cute she was. Jules as Courtney Cox displays an entertaining amount of narcissism, but no one would want to be her friend in real life. Secondly, if someone smothered his or her child that much, I really doubt the child would continue to be in the same state. Being “quirky” can be lonely, confusing, and depressing.
Like, who cleans up all of the clothes Jess dragged out in that episode where everyone left her at home? Who pays for all the dry cleaning for those modcloth dresses?
Or on Cougar Town, who pays for all that wine?
Transitions and cleanup are not funny.
It does give me a fantasy though; a hope that one day a loft of men or a cul-de-sac full of people will deal with me. When I have a clothing break down and need to try on three outfits and make everyone late, they won’t be mad. They’ll make an amusing comment about me being neurotic, confirm my beauty, and then go in for a hug. Instead of being hours late, all of us will simply arrive fashionably late and no one will be the wiser