Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Obscure Interests

Sometimes, I'm browsing along on-line and I see a common theme pop up.  It's usually a name or some meme that has burrowed it's way into American society understood by everyone it seems, except me.  I seem to be the last to know what's trendy.  What is what the world of celebs and hot new actors.  I tend to find out about it while it's on it's way out of popular focus to make room for the new hot item that I'll be just as oblivious to.  It's always been this way.  I remember a teacher teasing some kids at school about 'The New Kids On The Block'. (yes I know I'm dating myself with that!) in 6th grade.  I looked around the classroom thinking that maybe I missed some new kids.  I thought that perhaps we had some new students that the girls were particularly taken with.  Nope.  I was sure embarrassed to find out different.  I went home and begged for my parents to buy me a teen magazine.  They said no, thinking I was too young, but what they didn't understand was that I wanted it to study, so I could keep up with conversations at school.  I was out of the loop and it was killing me socially.  I remember getting into quite a lot of trouble for having a huge meltdown over them saying no, because to them it looked like I was just having a tantrum over being told I couldn't have something I wanted.  I don't know why I didn't tell them that why it was so important to me to have it.  It never occurred to me to say anything to them other than I needed it. 

Nowadays, I don't really care what's what in the entertainment world.  Today, I've seen lots of posts and talks about Kate Winslett.  I don't even know who that is.  Last week is was Ryan Goseling.  Didn't know who he was, either. I do now, but I will likely never see any of his movies.  They don't interest me, and I don't even find him all that particularity attractive.

So, what do I watch on TV?  What does interest this odd aspie?  Here's a list of most of my favorite shows.  See if you can see a pattern, and guess what it is that captures my interest.

Hoarders-Buried Alive
My Strange Addiction
Freaky Eaters
My Cat From Hell
In The Bedroom-With Dr. Laura Berman
The Daily Show
10 Things You Didn't Know About
The Regular Show
Hot In Cleveland
Big Bang Theory
Saturday Night Live
Law & Order

I think that's the bulk of them.  Have you guessed what almost all of these have in common?  With the exception of Law and Order, none are dramas, and most are non-fiction.  Most deal with anxiety based disorders, or other mental health issues.  When I watch shows like Hoarders, or Obsessed I get to see people interact in real time.  These shows aren't staged, or faked.  I get the opportunity to sit as an observer and people watch.  I get to see the facial expressions and body language of people in moments of anger, sadness, and anxiety.  This allows me to store that information, to recognize it later in real time.  I also get the benefit of seeing these very dysfunctional people living in their worlds they've built for themselves in order to cope with what is usually trauma and loss.  My empathy grows as I see the struggles that these people have faced.  I hear their stories, I see how they have lived, I see how they've tried and feel their pain.  I carry this out into the world with me as an extra bit of Theory of Mind, remembering that others sometimes do what can with what they have, and sometimes, those are poor choices, but they're not mine.  I am reminded not to judge others for things I may not know the whole story.  I see lots of mental illness, personality disorders, and yes autism in these shows.  I see people sometimes that are so enmeshed in their pain that they spew it at everyone that comes near.  I see some blame all their issues on one person, usually the child that's the most 'normal' in their family.  I see alot of my mother in these shows.  When I see it as an observer only my perspective shifts.  I see how painful and wrong it is for the child of some of these people, even if the child is an adult at the time.  They've led a life of being the scapegoat and will never get any kind of real love from their parent.  I can clearly see how this isn't their fault, so in some ways I am able to extend this compassion to myself.  I like to be able to see conflict resolution as well as some of the ways these people handle their anxieties successfully. It's inspiring, humbling, and a learning experience for me.

Of course, I do like a good dose of comedy in there, as well, to balance things out.  I just don't like fiction and drama so much.  Not in the books I read, and not in my TV viewing.  If you're not making me think, then you'd better be making me laugh, or my interest is minimal!


  1. "Ryan Goseling. Didn't know who he was, either. I do now, but I will likely never see any of his movies."

    Same here. :-)

    I watch many of the same shows, however, some of them I get overwhelmed with emotion and have to stop watching at times. After I feel better, I go back to them. I enjoy Oddities, I love the Science channel.

    I have never connected that possibly I get so emotional at times because I am actually connecting and extending compassion to myself. I get very disconnected from myself many times.

    I like to see conflict resolution as well, and it helps me to see how others handle some of the same things I feel, or have gone through. It helps me see things that I have not before, in myself and in others.

    I love to laugh -- I have to have comedy and things to laugh at so I have balance.

    "If you're not making me think, then you'd better be making me laugh, or my interest is minimal!"

    HA! That's awesome! :-)

    1. Glad that you could relate. I think the conflict resolution is the best perk I get from these 'reality' shows. (I hate calling them that, because they are so not like Jersey shore and American Idol, but I'm not sure what else to call them)I take things so personally and seriously at times, that I see these people making huge, massive mistakes be able to forgive themselves and move on in a way that benefits everyone. It inspires me to do the same.

  2. Oh my ... you've hit the nail on the head. All I know about what's popular is what other people are saying. I don't follow it unless I'm interested. I play acted a bit in high school in order to get by in this regard but now I don't even bother.

    I really found your insight awesome into the appeal of the reality shows you mentioned. I never thought about it that way. Puts people watching in a whole new perspective for me.

    1. By the time I got to high school I totally embraced my nonconformity. I owned it, and went way out there to be different than my peers. That may be another post for another day, because I think many that know me (even just via FB) would be shocked with the way I used to look as a teen and the crowd I ran with!

  3. When I started to hear about the Kadashians, I could not work out how Star Trek became so main stream...
    I still don't know who they are exactly..
    Kate Winslett I know... Goseling who? is kinda what Im thinkin now...
    We are TV free at our place, but we watch movies and some TV in box sets!!!!

    1. Was one of the Kardasian's on Star Trek? I do know who they are, but I don't know why they're so popular.

  4. ^^ LOL, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought about DS9 when I first heard about Kardashians!

    I can relate to the whole "being out of the loop" thing, although for me there was probably an element of choice, too. I'd hear the other girks talking about some popular show with some heartthrob and how he was sooooooo cute, and I was like, "Huh? You watch that crap?" I preferred writing and computer games over TV and only pretended to agree that Axl Rose was dreamy just to get people to shut up. I guess one good thing about having the Internet these days is that we can easily find out what people are talking about - hellooo Google! :-D

    Interesting, too, is your perspective on reality shows like Hoarders. I've only watched a couple episodes (they just recently began showing in Aus), but wasn't impressed with what I felt to be an exploitation of these people's real issues. It felt like they were being paraded for shock value; a modern-day circus freak show. I will have to think about what you've said, though. I'd not thought of it that way.

    1. It was oblivion until I got to be about 14-15. Then, I totally was enthralled with certain musicians. None were popular in the redneck town I come from, so I was still out of the loop with my peers. Kurt Cobain was a special interest of mine as a teen. I thought he was so dreamy, I married a man with a very strong resemblance! lol

      I do get concerned with people on these shows being too exploited, and used as a voyeuristic entertainment. I do, however, think that many would never be able to get the help they do if it weren't for the shows. Most of them have homes that are so deplorable that they need a team of people to clean it out and could never afford to hire a cleaning crew, dump, on sight therapist, and professional organizer to do it. They'd really have no other options. Plus, it does bring some awareness to people that otherwise would never get help, or urge their loved ones to that have OCD-based issues. I do empathize with how humiliating it has to be for these people and admire their courage to bare their shame on TV like they do. It must take tremendous courage.

  5. We might have a different list, but for the most part, I also prefer nonfiction. I often have trouble working out 'typical' motives, but I seem to get Hoarders and Strange Addictions--probably since I see so much of the spectrum on those programs!

    1. Did you see the one with the book Hoarders? I'd bet money that the man, and probably the woman, as well have AS.

  6. Lmao I love non fiction shows but not so much reality TV. I dont like the way they often are playing up the drama for the camera. Im your typical first Season watcher. I will watch for awhile then decide if it's time well wasted. I'm a hobby person. I love Arts and crafts. I'm a very disorganized/ organized Martha Stwart Fan. Can't say I cook like her or do it all so well as her but I love doing things in my craft room. I watch a lot of home network lol I love watching O as well. Every so often I get a bit trashy and watch Dr Phil be a therapist to over dramatic families. (mine would be no better. The ratings would hit the roof lol) I have to watch Dr Oz cause he's going to guilt me into being healthy. I use to love court tv but found I was getting mad all the time so just stoped watching. I love law and order big fan. Mostly I stick to my comedy. I watch stand up acts and comedy shows cause who doesn't like to laugh. I love kids cause then I get to watch cartoons without people screaming at me to grow up! I can't watch hoarders! Mostly cause I have signs of OCD and I hate bugs. I feel my skin go nuts and get itchy. There's messy, there's clutter, and then there's hoarders. I can live in some clutter but not hoarder mess. So my OCD is not so bad. If I see that show I race around cleaning anything even if it's already clean. I clean with bleach till my house smells like a pool. I become completely ridiculous so I banned the show from my TV. Why make my self more nutty then I am. So comedy it is most of the time. But I don't watch a lot of TV sometimes we go months with out watching. Cause it takes away from hobbies and crafts time. The boys are big gamers the don't care for TV as much.

    1. I used to watch court tv, too, but had to stop, because I found it too upsetting. I had to really pull back and try to be sure I was spending time on positive and productive things, otherwise my brain will get bogged down. I don't want a ton of tv, but do like to watch an hour or two a night.

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