My sister watches Days of Our Lives. I feel like I need to be clear here: she didn’t just start watching Days of Our Lives and she didn’t used to watch Days of Our Lives. No, she has consistently watched Days of Our Lives since high school and she is in her forties now and I don’t believe she’s missed even one single day of the show. Her commitment could be seen as impressive were it not so terrifying.
I used to watch that show, too. I was such a fan while I was in college that I would organize my class schedule so as not to miss a minute of the dastardly goings-on in Salem, which were often far more interesting than the generic chaos happening on campus on a random Thursday. That said, even as a Film major who learned early the concept of willfully suspending disbelief, I had a limit when it came to the patently ridiculous and it was the storyline that centered on Stefano living in the depths of Marlena’s closet and sneaking into her bedroom to open her soul every night that finally pushed me over the proverbial ledge. I’d already accepted demonic possessions and new actors appearing as longstanding characters out of nowhere and pregnancy scares and swamp girls turning into princesses; I had to draw the fucking line somewhere.
The show is moronic, I told my sister over the phone as gently as I could. I’m breaking up with it and, if you have any dignity, you will cut it out of your life as well.
I was, after all, only trying to be supportive of a family member.
Leigh did not break up with Marlena or John or Patch or Sammy. She stuck with them and I was able to make a tremendous amount of fun of her for years and years about the bullshit programming she embraced as entertainment. Me? I got into different shows like Lost and Breaking Bad and The Wire and Dexter – you know, quality programming. I would talk about those shows with friends and acquaintances and new men I met at bars. (Nothing makes a man more excited than a girl in a tank top talking about Dexter. Actually, if my cleavage could project Caddyshack on a nearby wall, that might beat the Dexter thing, but I’ve yet to figure out the technology behind that little skill.) But privately? Well, that was a different story because I also found myself falling into a ditch where only reality shows played on a loop and, even though I probably could have crawled out of that ditch without too much trouble, I chose to stay there and I installed a DVR. I began watching The Real Housewives of Fucking Everywhere and Survivor and Vanderpump Rules and one season of America’s Next Top Model, though I completely blame a friend for pulling me into that one. I tuned in to the first few seasons of American Idol – and I even voted once, which is on my Top 10 list of Biggest Personal Humiliations. (It ranks higher than the time my left boob popped out of my bikini top on a date and sat there bobbing on the surface of the water for at least five minutes before I realized what was happening.) And I became (oh God, the shame) a fan of Big Brother and watched every episode of that show – and lest you not realize how humungous (and tragic) a revelation I am making here, please know that show airs three times a week during the summer.