The Seven Stages of Developing a TV Show Addiction

Drugs. Pornography. Either of these things can put you on the dark, dangerous path to addiction.

But there is one type of addiction that is much more subtle but equally dangerous. It can affect your brain just as drastically as drugs or pornography. And if you’re not careful, it could ruin your whole life.

Today I would like to address the very serious issue of TV show addictions.

Now, before I get started, let me just preface by saying that I don’t inherently hate television–not anymore, at least. Sure, when I got back from my church mission, there was a period of time when I would consistently refer to TV as “the devil box.”

But that’s not me anymore.

I am writing this post simply because I myself have suffered from the pains of TV show addictions.

You may scoff at the mere mention of a TV show addiction, but I urge you not to do so. Stella Dorby, president of national support group Television Addicts Anonymous (TAA), has this to say regarding frivolous attitudes toward TV show addictions:

“It’s no laughing matter. As a former TV show addict and the current president of TAA, it is my duty–no, my stewardship–to protect television addicts from those people who seek to mock and undermine the credibility of such addictions.”

As a struggling TV addict myself, I urge all of you to please heed the words of Stella Dorby. One look at her will assure you that she is an upstanding citizen of these the United States, a woman whose opinion should be taken seriously.

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Stella Dorby, President of TAA

If you don’t believe Stella Dorby (and I can’t understand why this would possibly be the case), believe me. I speak from personal experience: TV is a very real, very hazardous addiction.

Let me share what I have noticed to be the seven stages of developing a TV show addiction. If you recognize that you or somebody you know is going through these stages, I urge you to seek help before it’s too late.

Stage 1: Hearing about the show

Someone, somewhere, mentions that a show is good. You listen, but you are skeptical.

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As far as you’re concerned at this point, there’s no way a show can be as good as people make it out to be.

Stage 2: Watching the show for the first time

Despite your doubts, you decide to give the show a whirl. You watch an episode or two, and you think to myself, This isn’t bad. You might even think it’s a downright decent show.

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And you inwardly applaud the fact that the show isn’t horrible after all. Yay for life.

Stage 3: The show gets good

Either you get into the groove of the show, or the show finally gets into gear with its own groove. Before you know it, the show has become the best part of your life… which might not be saying much, but still.

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There is usually some point of the show where everything just clicks, and at this point, there’s no turning back. You may not be aware of an addiction at this point, but the seeds of addiction have definitely sprouted.

Stage 4: Binge watching

Hanging out with friends? Exercise? Meeting new people? No thanks. Just give me my stories.

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And thus the binge watching begins.

Stage 5: The secret addiction is no longer secret

Your show is definitely your top priority at this point. You spend hours isolated in your room, watching just one more episode… then another one… then another one.

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People start to notice that you’re spending a significant amount of time watching a TV show. Suspicion and mockery ensue.

Stage 6: You become too emotionally invested in the show

This particular stage calls for more examples from my personal experience with television addiction.

You have to know that, outside of the television world, I am quite the even-tempered individual. Tell me just about anything and I will almost always have the same reaction.

My reaction to a friend or family member telling me that they’re going to come visit:

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My reaction to finding out that somebody just died:

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My reaction to finding out my best friend is engaged:

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And finally, my reaction to a joke, even if I think it’s funny:

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Yes, you can say I’m a man of few emotions. Some might call me stoic, maybe even heartless.

Therefore, I can’t help but worry when TV causes me to have some irrationally extreme emotional reactions.

Like my reaction when somebody tries to talk to me while I’m watching my TV addiction:

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Or when I don’t agree with the direction the show takes:

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Some shows even make me… what’s the word? Laugh?

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And the worst reaction comes when I reach the end of a good show’s run:

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What will I watch now?

Stage 7: The most disturbing stage of all

When you have an actual dream about a TV show, you know your addiction is out of control. You might even dream about full episodes of your favorite TV shows. When you wake up and realize these dreams were not actual canonical episodes, you feel complete and utter disappointment.

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And such is the life of a television addict.

So yes, TV show addictions are real, and yes, such addictions are serious. TV is a means by which to waste away your own life in the process of becoming too invested in the lives of fictional characters.

To avoid developing a TV show addiction, please steer clear of the following shows:

Veronica Mars
Friends
The Simpsons
Scrubs
The Office
24
Lost
Parks and Recreation
30 Rock
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Arrested Development

On the other hand… more often than not, TV is a good alternative to life. Your favorite TV characters are probably more reliable than the actual people in your life. Also, when something bad happens in a TV show, you can just tell yourself it’s not real–which isn’t really the case in real life. So when I say to steer clear of the above shows, I actually mean that you should watch all of them immediately.

And to answer your question, yes, this article is a complete joke–probably in more ways than one.

G-Day

With my college graduation just over a month away,  I can’t help but have mixed feelings.

Today I would like to share those feelings, not so much in words (though I will use some of those), but with the help of some GIFs.

Part of me can barely contain the excitement

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Let’s face it, college is hard. Even though I chose the easiest major I could possibly think of (English language and linguistics), I am still ready to be done with homework, projects, and tests.

I want to be done with BYU

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As much as I love BYU on principle (mainly for its cheap tuition), spend too much time in the same place and you’re bound to harbor harsh feelings toward it eventually. I feel like it’s time for a change of scenery, even if I am technically still going to live close to BYU (but at least I won’t be a student there!)

My immediate reaction at the thought of being done:

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I know I used this exact GIF last week, but this particular GIF is just too brilliant to be under-used. In fact…

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OK, I’m done.

The point is, I get really excited about the thought of being DONE with school. The idea of just working full-time and then having the rest of the time to myself??? It’s almost too good to be true.

Too bad people rain on my parade by telling me how difficult life can be after college.

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Yet no matter what other people say, I won’t let them ruin my dreams of a peaceful post-college existence.

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But then people ask me what I plan on doing after I graduate, and I’m all…

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That’s when it hits me. I have no idea where my life is headed after this.

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And I realize that picking the easiest major might not have been the best option after all.

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No matter what I try, I will inevitably stumble and fall at one point or another.

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Then people tell me to date more, asking me when I’ll just settle down and get married. To which I only have one reaction.

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Let’s just worry about graduation for now, shall we?

The Great Perhaps

The French Renaissance writer Francois Rabelais spoke these famous last words: I go to seek a great perhaps.

What is the Great Perhaps? In my opinion, it refers to the endless opportunities the future brings–the mystery that is tomorrow. The Great Perhaps is something that we all seek, whether we know it or not.

Most people spend a significant amount of time thinking about the future. We all want something great to come out of life. Often the present does not meet our expectations, so we work endlessly to improve our situation, only to realize we have spent so much time looking forward to the future that we forgot to enjoy the present–which, incidentally, has now become the past.

The present only lasts for a brief moment, and by the time we appreciate it for what it is, it usually has already gone, becoming yet another thing of the past. I personally am someone who tends to look forward to (and at the same time fear) the future, complain about the present, and live in the past.

Past events have either been so traumatic or so wonderful that I can’t help but let the past drive my present perspective. I want things to be the same as they were a year ago. I can’t possibly allow myself to become close to anybody because of how much people have hurt me in the past.

As for the present and future, I often find myself thinking, “Everything will get better once I reach a certain point in my life.” I manage to tolerate the present, but I don’t enjoy it until I realize I’m about to lose it. I look forward to change, but when it comes time for the change to come, I find myself having this reaction:

Why do we constantly complain about the present? Why don’t we appreciate anything we have until it’s gone?

This past year has been a bit rough on me. I don’t need to get into any nitty-gritty details, but if I were to rank all the years of my life based on roughness, this past year would definitely be in my top five (luckily, I don’t do anything like that, though if I’m ever in a really negative mood that might be a good idea for a future blog post).

Eventually it reached the point where I just didn’t care anymore. I registered for my study abroad trip and made living arrangements for my final year of college. I felt like if I could just survive winter semester, everything would be just fine. Then when winter semester ended, I found myself thinking that if I could just survive until my study abroad, all my problems would be resolved.

Will all my problems be resolved once I leave the country? Most likely not. In fact, with my trip to the United Kingdom being less than two days away, I find myself facing a whole new list of fears.

If I have learned anything throughout the course of my life, it is that change is not the answer to all of life’s problems. We can’t go through life with the notion that any problem can be fixed if we just change our lives around a little bit. However, change is as necessary as food, water, and shelter–because without change we can never see what else is out there in the world. Without change we can’t really learn and grow.

So I am making big changes in my life–not as a way to escape the present, but because I have to see what else is out there. I have to see where life can take me and which path I need to take. I have to take further steps to solve the great mystery that is my future. In other words, I go to seek the great perhaps.

Plus, whenever I see a picture like this–

Windsor Castle in England

–My immediate reaction is this:

United Kingdom, here I come!

(P.S.–Since I’m all about enjoying the present now, I want to actually enjoy the United Kingdom while I’m there. So don’t expect any more blog updates until after August 5th, which is when I’m coming back to the States. But don’t worry–when I get back, I plan to write about all my European adventures. Stay tuned!)

Look Both Ways Before Crossing

When we were young, all of us were instructed to look both ways before crossing a street. As adults, we continue to do this because it’s just common sense. If you don’t look both ways before crossing, you increase the risk of getting hit by a car… and that’s no fun (or so I’ve heard).

Well, today I would like to make a suggestion. Just like we should always stop and look both ways before crossing the street, it is also wise sometimes to stop and look both ways when you reach certain points in life.

What do I mean by that? Do I mean that on certain occasions (graduations, weddings, etc.), you should just randomly stop and turn your head left and then right (or right and then left, if that’s more your style)? No, because that would be weird. I’m not talking literal stopping and looking here. What I mean is that, sometimes we reach certain points in life when you need to look to the past and the future before moving on with life.

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It may seem like I’m writing philosophical nonsense, and I’m in no way denying that possibility, but let me explain. I have reached the end of another semester at college. This past semester has been… interesting. My natural instinct is to say that it has been the worst.  Then again, I call everything and everyone the worst, so why would this be any different?

The truth is that this semester has been a rough one–not necessarily academically (though I did have one class that I hated with a fiery intensity hotter than a thousand blazing suns), but definitely in all other possible aspects. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details, but I will say this: I don’t think I have ever felt more ready to put a semester behind me.

Now I find myself at somewhat of a crossroads. I have gotten through this difficult point of my life. Are my troubles over? Definitely not. But I have stuff to look forward to–a study abroad in Europe, time with the family, and great living plans for next school year–and that’s what has gotten me through so much. I have a couple of months before all these exciting things happen, though. I see these two months as a rare opportunity to reflect on my past while looking forward to the future… in other words, it’s my chance to look both ways, so to speak.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Those are not only the first words from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities but also the perfect description of this past semester. I have experienced both success and disappointment, friendships strengthened and friendships weakened, surprises both pleasant and unpleasant. I tried to fix my problems but felt I made things worse more often than not. I have laughed, I have cried, I have made mistakes. Sometimes I wanted to have meltdowns similar to the one below, minus the mascara.

To be honest, like Liz Lemon, there were times where I wasn’t sure if I could take it anymore: “it” in this case being life in general.

Yet I survived. I kept moving forward and it was worth it in the end. It might not have been the best time of life, but at least it’s done. And the best part about experiencing hard times is that feeling of relief you get once it’s all behind you.

A part of me felt like, if I could just reach the end of the semester, everything would be great. This of course isn’t true. You can’t just go through life waiting for that time where all will be perfectly fine, because it just won’t happen. You could think, “Once I graduate, I’ll be happy,” or “I just need to get married, and then all my troubles will be over,” but the fact is that we’re always going to have problems. Having problems is just a part of life.

Even though all my problems haven’t magically ended with this past semester, I can take what I have learned from this past semester and apply it as I move forward in life. Then I can keep in mind where I want to be in the future and apply that as well. Therefore, I am taking a look in both directions–past and future–before moving forward in this crazy road they call life.

The World We Live In

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In light of the recent tragedy at the Boston Marathon, I can’t help but take some time to reflect on the state of our world.

One of my major goals in blogging is to uplift (hence the blog’s theme of turning life’s lemons into delicious, thirst-quenching lemonade), but while I come off as generally optimistic in most of my posts, there is something I must admit: I am a closet pessimist.

used to be optimistic… when I was little. But then I was introduced to something called the world. Unfortunately, it was as soon as I went out and saw the world that I started losing faith in it. The church mission I served in the Philippines was a great learning experience, not to mention a character-builder, but unfortunately it opened my eyes to the frightening state of this world we call home.

While looking through some of the emails I sent home while on my mission, I came across a letter I had sent during what was undoubtedly the most difficult time of my mission. Something I wrote stuck out to me:

“Working in this area has really opened my eyes to the state of the world right now, which in some ways is hard to accept. Even in the lives of [those I love], I’m seeing this harsh reality. A woman… showed up to church late yesterday saying that she was late because her husband had attacked her…. But the harshest reality hits us when we’re out and about trying to [help people]. The other day, we [met] a… family whose father was stoned to death two years ago by twelve men who were drunk…”

And therein lies the answer to my pessimism.

Later on in my mission, I remember getting wind one night of a man who had held several tourists hostage on a bus. The man ended up killing many of the tourists before the police were able to stop him and rescue the survivors. As I walked home with my mission companion (side note: a mission companion is comparable to a business partner, though neither of us got paid), he was uncharacteristically quiet. Eventually he said to me, “Nakakatakot ang Pilipinas, ano?” Which is to say, “The Philippines is a scary place, isn’t it?” My response to him was this: “Nakakatakot ang mundo“–meaning, simply, “The world is a scary place.”

Who can forget September 11th? I was only 11 at the time, but I will never forget. It seems like the world has taken a drastic downturn since then, and in light of the Boston Marathon, the shootings in Connecticut and Colorado, and other terrible events, it doesn’t seem like the world is looking to improve anytime soon.

It seems that I am not the only one who realizes the tragic state of things. The entertainment industry–which admittedly can be the cause of the world’s problems at times–also seems to be calling for a solution. Here are a few quotes (some more inspirational than others) that have come to my mind over these past few days:

“Sometimes everything is just the worst.”–Liz Lemon, 30 Rock

I decided to start with the least inspirational quote of all. This quote is not exactly what you’d call uplifting, but it certainly is true at times. Luckily, the key word in this quote is sometimes. Not always. So that’s definitely something.

“How we deal with tragedy defines who we are.”–Chris Traeger, Parks and Recreation

Though the world as a whole may be taking a turn for the worst, we as individuals are not defined by the world we live in. We can rise above all the negativity that surrounds us… Admittedly, I’m still working on that myself. Any advice on how to go about doing that?

“The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.”–Buffy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

This post would not have been complete without a few words from our favorite vampire slayer. The girl died twice, for crying out loud! If anyone knows how to overcome the odds, she does. Granted, she’s a fictitious character (but is she, really? There’s a little bit of Buffy in all of us), but the lesson remains the same: it might not be easy to live in this world, but it’s definitely possible.

So how do we stay sane in a crazy world? There’s no sure-fire answer, unfortunately, but peace can be found amidst all the chaos. I personally find peace through writing, listening to music, communicating with God, and being with those I love. Other people may have different ways of coping, and that’s completely fine–the important thing is that we cope somehow.

While the world falls apart around us, we have to ask ourselves: Are we simply surviving in this harsh world, or are we actually living? It’s all terribly cliche, yes, but it’s true. And while I may have lost my faith in mankind as a whole, I still have just a smidgen of faith in the individual.

I’m sorry, did you want some macaroni with all that cheese? Sorry if this post was too cheesy. It’s just something that came to my mind when I was about to go to sleep, and I knew I had to write about it right away. I probably should have slept instead, seeing as I’m starting to work full-time tomorrow and have a number of finals coming up, but I’ll have plenty of time to sleep when I’m dead. And on that depressing note, I’ll end this depressing post.