I would not characterize myself as being on the vanguard of media consumption. When we discussed forming a trivia team with our adult children, it became clear that most of our group missed the memo when it came to amassing factoids about popular culture.
Family historians trace this deficit to my retro motherly notion that there were countless electrifying amusements to undertake, almost none of which involved turning on the television. Hence, we had only one “set” for most of their growing up years, and a draconian limit on time spent glued to that unseeing eye.
In retrospect, in simpler times I was something of a Westerns junkie as a child. Bonanza, The Lone Ranger, and Wagon Train fueled my imagination with unfamiliar characters and settings, as exotic in my mind as any Amazon adventure.
I recall my parents were transfixed by the program Peyton Place, racy by the standards of the day, and I was not allowed to watch it. So in my twenties, when I got hooked on All My Children, it seemed like an unpalatable affliction, to be hidden from others like nail-biting or other unsavory habits. My addiction lasted for a decade or two, and then I was over it—until I stumbled upon Breaking Bad.
Breaking Bad stokes a sense of urgency, a Western-type, cliff hanging moral tale gone wrong. We started in the middle of the five season run, then buckled, bought the DVDs, and hunkered down. Evenings passed with us gripped by the show’s march of destruction. As social norms unraveled on the drama’s New Mexico frontier, we fell into the characters’ world, so removed from how we live.
The contrast was refreshing. Much like a good book, it overtook us. Propelled into the pop-culture mainstream, we can chat across the generations with ease. Twenty-somethings provide a list of suggestions on what to watch next.
We may be able to form that trivia team yet.