It’s true — I’m addicted to Desperate Housewives. I’ve never missed an episode; when I find myself in a moral dilemma, I ask, “What would Lynette do?” and in the quest for a husband, I keep my eyes peeled for a Tom. I own the “I’m a Susan” T-shirt, the cookbook with recipes from each of the housewives and a book on Desperate Housewives and Christian Theology (to keep things academic, of course).
So when the writers’ strike stopped the fourth season after the cliffhanger tornado, I went into withdrawal faster than Bree could bake an award-winning batch of macadamia nut cookies. I needed a fix, and even re-runs just couldn’t satisfy: Since the series is a comedic mystery and I already knew the plot line, it didn’t fare well for repeat viewing. I considered giving up TV entirely, but that backfired as well, because, like many Americans, I desperately needed a bit of televised magic in my life: mystery to intrigue the mind and laughter to refresh the lungs.
I tried reality television, but it turned out that I didn’t have the stomach to watch plastic surgeries performed on Dr. 90210. The Girls Next Door felt too Paris Hilton for me, and though I tried to empathize with folks on The Biggest Loser, I wound up feeling guilty about watching them work so hard as I lay sprawled on the couch, praline pecan ice cream in hand. Survivor really did peak after the first season, and American Idol simultaneously took up too much time and made me feel inadequate about my musical abilities. In short, watching reality television was a lot like turning to Swiss Miss after years of Godiva liqueur.
So what was a girl to do?
Desperate for new episodes of Godiva liqueur-level television, I girded up my loins, rented the first three seasons of Lost and prepared for the January premiere. Initially, it didn’t seem like a drama about morally ambiguous characters stranded on a tropical island could possibly replace the wry comedy of sunny suburbia, but I was proven wrong. The enigmatic isle drew me in and provided refreshment during the broadcasting drought, returning the intrigue and thrills I’d been craving. After a few weeks, I began asking WWHD (“What would Hurley do?”) and decided to consider a Desmond or a Judy Blume-reading Sawyer for a life partner as well as a Tom Scavo. I started researching the philosophies of Rousseau, Locke, and Hume, to see whether their writings related to their namesake character’s personalities — just in case, you know.
With the writers’ strike now over, I, like many Americans, am desperately awaiting the return of my favorite show but am not about to give up the ones discovered in the interim. Now I’m hooked to both, and giving up either one is about as likely as John Locke leaving the island — because while I still need to know Katherine Mayfair’s secret, I’ve also got a large bet centering on the identities of the Oceanic 6.
So even though many have worried that the writer’s strike would hurt viewership, I, for one, will now be watching more television rather than less. After all, an addiction is only bad when it gets out of hand, right?
Danielle Tumminio is an STM candidate at the Divinity School. She is the instructor of the Christian Theology and Harry Potter college seminar.