Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Instant Family

When I was young, I was lulled gently to sleep by the battling banter of Sam & Diane. In High School, I made out on the downstairs couch with Cody and Josh (not at the same time, mind you, though that may have been nice) to the humorous hostility between Joe and Helen. In college I smoked pot and fell asleep chuckling at Kramer's crazy antics.. Soothing television tones. My other family. Living alone can be scary when you're just discovering yourself.. when you aren't entirely comfortable with yourself, when the silence can be deafening.

Eventually, tired of the endless commercial interruptions, insulting in their obvious attempts to woo or shame me into purchase, I took to recording episode after episode onto VHS.. That way, when I got a bad case of the lonelies, I'd simply slide in a tape and VOILA! Instant Family! Sure Alex, Mallory and Jen turned the Keaton house into a bed & breakfast when their parents went out of town, but it would all be okay in the end. Steven and Elise might bicker, but the fights were full to the brim with one-liners and laughter. They'd never get a divorce, like my real family. Sam & Diane might scream and shout, but it was only foreplay to the passionate embrace that would end the show.. I always hated when the sitcom would ruin a perfectly good half hour by attempting to take on the issue du jour.. Somebody gets addicted to drugs, somebody has anorexia.. blah blah .. I get enough of that in my real life.. Stick to the one-liners and the laugh track. Nobody wants to see a comedian cry.

So now, when I find myself in unfamiliar circumstances, I push a button in search of my instant family. Today I might be the Cosby's adopted white daughter courtesy of Nickelodeon. Maybe I'm another one of Roseanne's troublemakers, thank you Oxygen. Perhaps I'll hang out in my fantastic, oversized, underpriced, Greenwhich village apartment with my Friends on TBS. Most likely, I'll head back to high school with my buddies from Saved By the Bell, they always seem to be traipsing around somewhere, pulling sillly shenanigans on naive Mr. Belding.

Like my real family, my sitcom families fight, unlike my real family, their arguments are sprinkled with witty jokes, hilarious asides.. and the soundtrack of all sitcoms, the ever present laugh track. Fights in my real family can last days, weeks, months.. Fights in my sitcom family always get sorted in thirty minutes. All wrapped up in a tidy little bundle, beautiful bow on top, leaving me with a feeling of accomplishment. And all I did was sit on the couch and drool. So here I sit today, feeling lost, yet oddly comforted by my wise cracking mom "Roseanne".

Reader Comments (3)

wow, I know how you feel. Except instead of tv its music. I'll pop on Shooting Rubber Bands to the moon by Edie Brikell and the New Bohemians and I'm back in 6th grade when things were semi ok. Achtung Baby is also a good one, 8th first boy girl party. Life is so fucking hard, its like one of thise horsepills the dr. makes you take from time to time. But evenutally it goes down, and you feel better..and it's almost like nothing happened at all. unitl the cycle begins again. It's all a cycle..we have to ride it like a wave and enjoy what we can when we know what I mean?
September 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJulia
You are such a great writer Julia, with a phenomenal voice.. I can hear you in your writing and we've never met..
September 23, 2005 | Registered CommenterMonica
Thanks and ditto to you sistergirlfriend!!!

September 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

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