Welcome to another week of #tbt content revolving around the themes of Coming of Age and Growing Up. This week we’re picking T.V. shows!
Email us your favorite coming of age content to firstname.lastname@example.org and we may feature it later this month in our Monthly Audience Picks.
Mock the Week
For better or for worse, the discovery of British panel shows at age 16 really shaped my personality and brand through junior and senior years of high school. It all started with an Ed Byrne standup bit about Alanis Morissette’s Ironic not being ironic (not exactly groundbreaking content). My English teacher had shown it to our class, I thought it was funny, so I went home and watched it again. Once finished, basking in the afterglow of a good chuckle, I clicked on a curious related link: “Scenes We’d Like to See” from a show called Mock the Week. From that point on, I was hooked on the show, and promptly caught up on the past nine seasons that had been dutifully-- illegally-- uploaded to YouTube by some guy named NickFromFulham.
A sort of blend between The Daily Show and Whose Line, Mock the Week features a rotating mix of snarky and sarcastic British comedians who discuss current events through a series of improv games. It was unlike anything I had seen before, and appealed to my sensibilities at the time. I considered myself quite a dry-witted young woman, whose humor was maybe a little too sophisticated for her classmates (insert eye-roll), and these British comedians were my people! I became obsessed with them, and quickly graduated to other panel shows: QI, Would I Lie to You, Nevermind the Buzzcocks, 8 out of 10 cats! I’d watch them all late at night for hours after finishing my homework, and on the weekends when I should have been working on college applications-- I couldn’t rest until I’d had my fill of Frankie Boyle, Hugh Dennis, and Dara O’Briain.
In hindsight, Mock the Week isn’t the funniest show, nor is it even the funniest of the panel shows, but in my small Long Island town where it often felt like everyone liked the same boring things, Mock the Week was my own different thing that I had found completely by myself. It’s hard to describe, but it felt rebellious. I only succeeded in getting one of my friends and sister turned onto panel shows. For us, referencing our favorite jokes to each other was a secret hilarious language, made extra funny (and obnoxious) by the fact that no one else knew what the hell we were laughing about. If you ever wondered why I was whispering the phrase “showaddywaddy” to Meghan in pre-calc, consider this post your official explanation.
I owe a lot to Mock the Week, for developing my interest in comedy, for leading me to shows like Peep Show and The Mighty Boosh, for providing an escape from the awfulness of teenage life, and for giving me the ability to amaze random British people with my knowledge of outdated British politicians and b-list standups. There are few shows that make me feel as nostalgic as this.
I'll leave you with one of my old favorite clips:
Oh god I promised I’d keep my cool about this show and not talk about it for awhile, but who am I kidding. Sailor Moon was one of the first shows I can remember consciously watching as a 5 or 6 year old. I have no idea how my family or I stumbled upon it, but somehow I knew every Sunday to go to this random channel that I’m pretty sure only showed two things--infomercials and Sailor Moon.
Looking back on it I should have talked to my parents about what I was doing. Like I would go turn on the T.V. and sometimes Sailor Moon wouldn’t even play that morning and I’d be sitting there for an hour watching a Betty Crocker Easy Bake Oven ad!
Anyways since I was basically a fetus at the time when I was watching this show, so much of it’s core qualities were ingrained in me growing up. It was definitely a very gendered show--all the females had very stereotypical feminine qualities and often found themselves obsessing over boys, clothing, jewelry etc. But looking back on the plot, later in life, there were aspects of the show that were actually pretty feminist and a lot of the story ended up being about how girls with these typical “feminine” qualities were actually extremely powerful and could save the world.
I loved the main character Usagi (Bunny/Serena). She was so lazy and slept all the time and ate a lot of food and read comics--but was secretly the all powerful Sailor Moon. I was never really book smart so seeing this character rise above it all and still save the world was so empowering for me and really showed me that maybe my strengths lay somewhere other than math and science.
I was so obsessed with the show. I found myself longing to watch new episodes during the week and those mornings when it wasn’t on I was devastated. I tried googling it to fill the void. My grandmother was so impressed. I remember when I was older she told me, “I was scared of computers, but if my 6 year old granddaughter can go on google and type in Sailor Moon I should be able to learn it myself.”
I still obsess over shows. Especially now with "whole season binging" on the rise I find myself so immersed in the different worlds and the characters. I’ll dream about them. I’ll imagine I’m the characters. I’ll read any article I can find about the writers, actors, animators, directors’ etc. Its all so fascinating to me. Whenever I've been depressed or going through a rough time I've found my happiest place is my imagination and these stories help me escape at least for a little while.