I hate most of the TV characters I watch, yet I can't stop watching. Why?
The older I get, the more I find myself hating on most of the characters on television shows I watch (religiously) week after week. These characters aren't TV's bad guys or girls we're supposed to root against (like I did with the ABC soap opera General Hospital back in the 80's - who remembers Mikkos Cassadine? - or Abu Nazir in HBO's Homeland?), playing nasty parts in horrific storylines (look what William Lewis did to Detective Olivia Benson in Law & Order SVU), or saying mean things (Julie Cooper in The O.C.). So, why? Why do they bring out the worst in me...and why do I watch?
In fact, I'm pretty sure they are characters we're supposed to look up to, love, or empathize with. Like Ellen Pompeo's Dr. Meredith Grey, whose character has anchored the ABC hit show Grey's Anatomy for 18 seasons. And I have watched her for 16 of those seasons! Each week, I get angry. Where are her kids and why does she never have to rush home to them? What kind of single mom of three has that kind of time and freedom? I don't care if her sisters live with her or help watch them all the time. It's ridiculous. They have their own lives to deal with (and, also busy surgeons, plenty of things their own things to attend to - unresolved mommy issues, narcotic addiction recovery, sexual fluidity, the need to get some rest before operating). Don't get me wrong - I really like the actress. I just get so annoyed.
Or Grace Park's character, Katherine Kim, on ABC's A Million Little Things (renamed by the smartest person I know as A Million Stupid Things), whose husband upended her life as he struggled with alcoholism, cheated on her with one of their best friends - oh and had a baby with that person, while he was still married - and got hit and disabled by a car. They're divorcing now. Poor Katherine, right? But...no. I am so incredibly irritated by her a dozen times in any given episode. A usually sympathetic person in real life, I have none for her. Even things I should be able to relate to - like her going through divorce or trying to be a good mom to a son - nope, nothing but annoyance. The list from this show alone goes on...Maggie Bloom, who's trying to help everyone with her call-in counseling podcast - irritating; Regina Howard, a chef who had to close her dream restaurant - I didn't shed a tear.
And the little elderly woman who plays Elliott Stabler's mom on NBC's Organized Crime? I know she wouldn't hurt a soul, and she's a beloved grandma to FIVE kids, but the way she putters around the kitchen annoys me to no end. Even when she was in the yard smoking (smoking!?) in an episode last season, and the storyline hinted that she was in danger of being killed or "kid"napped, I could have cared less for her wellbeing.
So - what's wrong with me? And why do I keep watching? I do not know. I love television. I was a television major. Television is a great escape. I only have myself to blame if I keep watching. But I do, and I will, and I will wonder...does anyone else feel this way?