I went through a dark time after I graduated.
By which, I mean I sat mine ass at home in the dark and binge watched the greatest television hits of the noughties back to back, in the darkness of my room, eating a lot of Pringles.
It’s different for graduates these days, they said. Now is the time for entrepreneurship, they said. Companies are on the hunt for young blood, they said.
A few months ago I joined the ranks of everyone out there like me, a bachelor’s degree and no clue what to do with it. Unless you are a doctor, lawyer or engineer, chances are you’ll get stuck working as a call centre operator, or administrative assistant some place as your first job. Or worse, you’ll get yourself an internship. Not only will you not do what you studied to do, you will do it for free.
So I did the only reasonable thing, vegged the whole fuck out and racked up my mother’s electricity bill.
I tore through whole seasons in the blink of an eye. As far as talents go, I think I’ve found mine.
10. Sex and the City
The beginning credits music for this series is iconic. As a child my mother would make us leave the room when she wanted to watch SATC. I would, in rebellion, watch it secretly when she wasn’t home. It really takes watching something as an adult to realize it’s frivolity. This show was so dumb but fuck was it entertaining. Carrie and those awful, expensive shoes. Samantha and her string of lovers and lowkey emotional unavailability. Miranda and her woes as a woman trying to have a career, family and relationship. Charlotte and her beautiful Park Avenue flat and juvenile idealism. What a beautiful disaster of a show. This was the best background noise I could have asked for as I played through Candy Crush.
I watched this programme with the intention of hating on it. Like SATC it features a group of women in New York City just trying to make it. Lena Dunham and crew were like the millennial SATC girls. Once more like SATC, it made fantastic background noise as I played Candy Crush and scrolled through Pinterest. If anything, I liked how much of a joke was made of the characters. It doesn’t really allow the bad behaviour of the characters to go unchecked. Just for the fuck of it, yes, I will be watching season 5.
8. Gossip Girl
How many New York based television dramas can you compare to SATC, the answer is all of them. Both shows had a cast of friends living in the city, making horrifying romantic choices, a quippy female narrator, a brief stint in France and a series finale that faded out to ‘You Got The Love’. This show was a joke and became a bigger and bigger joke as the seasons went on. Came for the story, stayed to see how certain ridiculous story lines would be resolved, saw the finale for that gorgeous blue Elie Saab Blair wore at her wedding.
7. House Hunters International
There is something deeply interesting about watching people buy things. Shows like this and ‘Say Yes To The Dress’ centre their whole dramatic climax on whether the person will choose the off white tafetta with beaded bodice and sweetheart neckline, or the white ballroom with sleeves and a train. It is so calming when the biggest problem these people have to deal with is whether the ceilings in house #2 are high enough, or whether house #1 is walking distance to the beach. It is exactly the type of low octane, low stakes drama I need in this time of unemployment and unease.
6. Clone High
Way way back in the 1980s, secret government employees dug up famous guys and ladies and made amusing genetic copies. All the temporal and spatial limitations that have kept our favourite historical figures apart are dismantled in Clone High.
If you subscribed to satellite television during the mid to late noughties in Africa, you will know we had a channel called GO. It featured the best shows. I mean the absolute fucking best. ‘Clone High’ was a nostalgia watch for me. It started me down the path that would lead me through to the ‘Venture Brothers ‘ and finally ‘Archer’. It was the first time I learned that sometimes, cartoons aren’t for kids. I await patiently the day that it will go back on the air.
5. Golden Girls
‘Golden Girls’ was SATC before SATC was SATC and before ‘Girls’ was SATC. Four elderly women live in a house together. Hijinks ensue. This is the only sitcom on my list. I watched this for the same reason I watch ‘Iyanla Fix My Life’ and ‘Barefoot Contessa’. Sometimes I just want to hear a maternal, elderly voice telling me things, it’s very soothing to me. I rarely laugh out loud watching sitcoms but this series was great. How many ways can Sofia call Blanche a whore, let me count the ways.
4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I will always fondly remember an episode of Buffy being the one that taught me what sex was. Remember when Buffy and Spike were fighting and breaking everything around them, then they started fucking against that wall. You remember. Buffy, for me, was ‘it’ she was a complete badass, a young woman, consistently preventing the apocalypse. Strong, physically strong, a leader, capable, everything I could be once I stopped watching the show and got outside sometimes.
3. Veronica Mars
There isn’t a good reason why I didn’t watch this show when it was actually airing. Smart, industrious, quippy female protagonist, solving crimes on the side while she gets straight A’s in highschool. I mean. She was the cooler, noughties version of Nancy Drew. This show was so good. So clever and well written. Eli Navarro was so sexy. I barely even had my usual laundry list of complaints that I have watching television shows about the titular white woman character.
2. Gilmore Girls
It is simply a severe lack of taste if you don’t acknowledge the ‘Gilmore Girls’ as a jewel in the crown of great noughties television. Who doesn’t love a show that could appeal to both them, and their mother. This show was like ‘7th Heaven’ but without the Christianity and subsequent scandal concerning one of the main cast members.
Rory’s breakdown in season 6 when she dropped out of school to live in her grandparents’ household I felt really mirrored me in my current situation. Had I a grandparent with a pool house, I would be bumming there with my woes rather than in mum’s house.
1. American Horror Story
This series was not made during the noughties. I know that. While I gained more substance from ‘Veronica Mars’ and more laughs from ‘Golden Girls’, this fucking show makes me wallow in my inadequacy and everything I thought I could be. I wish I made this show. This show may be the best thing that has happened to me in 2015. It wasn’t graduating. It wasn’t getting a job. It wasn’t discovering YouTube bodybuilding. It was watching this shit. I feel so enriched, so developed as a woman and as a person. I feel everything is possible. Watching Angela Basset bury Kathy Bates alive reminded me exactly why I’m here.
I could have travelled.
I could have racked up experience.
I could have had an affair or something, gotten married, begun gestation on my first born.
Instead, I watched 250+ hours of backdated television. I do my best work on my back, with my laptop perched on my pelvis.
UPDATE: I have a job now, it’s awful.