Fangirl Thursday: The Best Seat in the House

When you love television as much as I do, where you watch matters almost as much as what you’re watching. Everyone has their favorite place to watch their favorite shows. It can be an oversized chair in a room where friends and family gather to watch things together or a darkened bedroom where you escape with your laptop and Netflix.

Sometimes it’s a cozy couch with room for the people you love to share the shows you love. My couch has quite the reputation as a great TV-watching couch. It was where I cried when Castle walked away from Beckett to end Castle’s second season. It was where I spent a glorious few days hosting mini marathons of Parks and Recreation episodes when Heather came to Buffalo a couple of years ago. And it’s where I watch every episode of Once Upon a Time with my sister and my mom on Sunday nights.

My couch is an ideal place to watch television—it’s huge and comfortable and right in front of a big HD screen. However, it’s not my favorite place to watch television. That honor belongs to a corner of my kitchen where a small television stands next to a coffee pot and a bowl of fresh fruit.

Growing up, I didn’t have a television in my room. If I wanted to watch a show that no one else in my family wanted to watch, I went to the kitchen. If I wanted to watch a show that I didn’t want anyone else in my family to know I was watching, I went to the kitchen. (This is the time when I finally confess to watching Real World: Las Vegas on that kitchen television when my parents were upstairs, which was about as rebellious as I got as a young preteen. Sorry, Mom!)

When I entered high school and discovered Alias, I had my first standing appointment with that kitchen television. (Literally—I always stand when watching things on that television.) I was the only person in my family who watched Alias, so every week, I retreated to my little corner of the kitchen to spend an hour with Sydney Bristow. And as I fell in love with that show the way you only can with a first love, that corner of my kitchen was my sanctuary. I gripped the countertop with white knuckles when Sydney and Vaughn walked toward each other before their first kiss. And I held myself up against that countertop as I sobbed when Vaughn told Sydney she’d been missing for two years.

Over the years, some of my favorite television memories have taken place in that corner. It’s where I started my celebratory run around my house when Alex and Izzie got married on Grey’s Anatomy. It’s where I first heard Castle call Beckett “extraordinary.” It’s where I stood with goosebumps on my arms and a smile on my face when Nick and Jess first kissed on New Girl. And it’s where I cried the happiest tears I’ve ever cried over a fictional couple when Ben proposed to Leslie on Parks and Rec.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been spending less and less time in that corner and more and more time on the couch. However, I found myself in that corner again last night, watching The Americans (because the rest of my family was watching Nashville). And it felt right to be back in that corner, watching a show about spies. It felt like coming home.

I may not remember watching Philip and Elizabeth holding hands in their travel agency office the same way I remember watching Vaughn and Sydney hold hands in a hospital, but maybe I will. Because so many of the moments I spent watching television in that kitchen corner have become more than just memories of media consumption. They’ve become memories of the emotional reactions I had to the media I was consuming. That kitchen corner was the first place I learned how deeply television could make me feel.

My life as a fangirl grew from that kitchen corner, and no matter how far my branches may someday reach, that place will always be where my roots are found.

Do you have a favorite place to watch television or a sentimental spot that holds some of your favorite media-consuming memories? Share them with us in the comments!

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15 thoughts on “Fangirl Thursday: The Best Seat in the House

  1. These days, most of my TV consumption is done on my laptop in bed which is definitely comfortable but lacks the emotional connection I have with a spot that no longer exists in my house.

    Back when we had a computer/guest room instead of an extra storage room, there was a TV in there that was older than I was. It didn’t even get all of our possible channels but it was in front of the bed and next to the computer and it was were I spent hours watching the Teen Disney lineup when we got the perfection of Smart Guy, Sister Sister and Boy Meets World all in a row. It’s the TV that I used when I watched CSI and Gilmore Girls in high school (despite the fact that my mom was watching the same shows in the living room) and the one I used to watch s1 of American Idol. I was the only one to use it and it was my own little quiet space I could go to enjoy the shows I loved.

    My other favorite place to watch TV is your couch for exactly the reason you mentioned. Of all the things we’ve done, our Parks and Recs marathon on that couch ranks as one of my favorite vacation memories. And it’s just so comfortable!

    • That room sounds like the perfect place to watch TV! I love that both of us chose places that were just ours for watching TV, which was really important for the times in our lives when we needed that kind of space. It also made me smile to hear you mention that Teen Disney lineup because I have such fond memories of watching those shows all in a row. I was so happy to discover Smart Guy reruns on MTV2 last year because that show never gets enough love!

      And I will never forget our multi-day Parks marathon on my couch. Whenever I think of my favorite memories on that couch, it’s the first that comes to mind. ❤ It is also entirely too comfortable for sleeping—I think I've slept there more than in my own bed over the last few years!

  2. Hi Katie! I guess I’m pretty boring. My favorite place to watch TV has always been in my living room on the couch. Until recently, I had one of those huge old tube sets from the 90’s that weighed about 200 pounds. I finally donated it to charity and upgraded all my electronics, and I think that has also enhanced my viewing experience. I now have a 50 inch HD set with blu ray, and I christened it by watching Star Wars. How could I not? Star Wars in the theater was my first blockbuster movie experience, and this is as close as I’ve gotten to that feeling in my own home.

    The living room is also where I did my watching while growing up. My siblings and I did not have TV’s or computers in our rooms, so most of our watching was done sitting on the floor with the family gathered round. That continues to be my favorite place!

    I’m curious to see others’ answers!

    • Star Wars was the first blu-ray I ever watched too!

      And I love the image of you and your siblings sitting on the floor watching TV together. It reminds me of the times when my cousins and I sat (and sometimes still sit) on the floor of my grandma’s living room watching something together. 🙂

  3. Such a fun topic, Katie! Growing up, we watched a lot of classic movies. (I am still a total TCM whore.) Everyone in the family had his or her spot for watching. My parents also had a TV in their room and sometimes we would all pile up on the bed and watch old movies. We didn’t just watch . . . we analyzed. It was great.

    After I moved out, TV watching was on the couch. I’m a curl-up with the blanket on the couch kind of gal. If I’m particularly invested in a show, I will yell at the characters on the TV. I will bounce and wave my hands. I’m not exactly a passive watcher. I laugh. A lot. And loudly. (Sometimes I have the TV on while I work. There’s less hand-waving and yelling . . . at least at the TV.) I started off with my grandmother’s console TV. It was old when I got it . . . and it just kept going. It also had a better picture than some newer TVs, so I kept it until it died. When it finally did give up the ghost, I had it gutted and kept it as an end table. My more serious TV watching happened in grad school. (By serious I mean, I was committed to watching MY SHOW. Do not interrupt MY SHOW.) I needed the break and diversion. I totally remember getting hooked on Alias. (I initially dismissed it based on the promos. I ran across the pilot mid-way through airing and was completely gobsmacked. I caught the entire pilot when they aired it a second time. Alias was appointment viewing.

    I don’t live in the same city as the rest of my family, so we can’t watch TV together. (I’m pretty close. Plus, there are the differences in viewing preferences. My brother and I have the most overlap.) However, we’ll binge-watch OUAT together when possible. If not, then there’s a family call later so we can discuss. (However, due to the various schedules of various family members this can take awhile. As you can tell from my posting, I keep up with the broadcast schedule. This allows me to taunt them because I am THAT SISTER.) This is part of why I love NGN — I need my discussion fix. : -)

    • I absolutely adore that you gutted your grandma’s old TV and kept it as an end table. If my little X-Files TV didnt still work, I would have considered it, but I thought it was time to donate it and home someone else got some joy from it!

      Our huge beast of a CRT just would not die until our apartment flooded and the carpet installers ended up accidentally ripping the power cord out the back. I was so excited for the excuse to buy a new TV I wanted to hug him, but instead I kinda faked disappointment and conned him into hauling it away for me to call it even, haha. Replacement, MUCH lighter HD flat-screen is still working today.

    • Alias was always appointment viewing for me, too!

      I love the way you talked about each person having their own spot when your family watched TV together. It’s that way with my family, too. My sister and I have our favorite ends of my very comfortable couch, and everybody else fills in where there’s room. 😉

      It also made me smile to see that you and your family call each other to talk about OUAT. My sister and I still live together, so we watch almost all of our shows together each week, but my cousins and I have lengthy discussions of our shared shows (The Flash and OUAT) whenever we get together.

      PS: Console TVs were AMAZING. The main TV in our living room was one until I was a senior in college. My friends loved it so much that they had to come over and say goodbye to it before we replaced it.

  4. Katie, this is such a great topic! I love picturing you standing in the in kitchen watching TV! Especially since there are so many great TV kitchens, and since I have no idea what your actual kitchen looks like, for some reason my brain has chosen the kitchen from ‘Rosanne’ as the stand in for my mental image.

    Ive had a lot of different TV viewing habits over the years. Growing up I remember watching ‘Firefly’ in the garage. I didnt normally watch TV in the garage, but for that short lived show, I did. ‘Lois and Clark:TNAoS’ was watched two ways: old eps recorded on VHS during the day when I was at school, always to be watched when I got home while I did my homework at the coffee table (this was when I was old enough to be home by myself in the afternoons with nobody to tell me I couldnt watch TV AND do my homework at the same time) and new episodes were watched by myself on the TV in my parents bedroom cause nobody wanted to watch it with me (and 12 year old me didnt want to watch the honeymoon episode with them either!)

    For one holiday or birthday I think during 8th grade I got my own TV/VCR combo for my room. My dad split the cable and ran it up from the garage into a hole he put in the floor. This was the TV I watched every single episode of the X-Files on. Sunday nights were spent alone in the dark in my room watching X-Files. I guess I was brave back in those days. I just got rid of that TV last year, and it was REALLY hard letting it go 😦

    Freshman year in the dorms ‘Smallville’ was watched by a large group of us down in the common room.

    After the dorms, ‘The OC’, ’24’ and later ‘LOST’ were times when me an my roommates (all 6 of us!) would gather around the TV to spend time together. It was our weekly date, no matter how many midterms we had to study for or papers we had to write.

    When Sean and I first started dating, we also made a date to watch ‘LOST’ together every week. Now its nightly ‘Jeopardy’. TV now days is watched either on the couch, or in the gym on my phone. I dont have a TV in my bedroom, because I am not sure I would ever want to get out of bed on the weekends, haha.

    As much as I love my DVR, I do think its sad we have lost the need to schedule certain viewings. I have a lot of fond memories of all those scheduled TV viewing dates with friends. Do people still do that?

    • I think you’re so right about DVRs taking away something in terms of scheduling TV dates with friends. Now we can all just watch things whenever we want to, which does make it hard when my friends are texting me about episodes of The Bachelor or OUAT or some other show and I have no idea what they’re talking about because they’re catching up while I saw the episode they’re watching weeks before.

      However, I think Netflix and DVRs have opened up an avenue for a different kind of TV date. I have some fun memories of sitting in a hotel room a couple of years ago with my two best friends during a girls getaway weekend and catching up on Scandal together, and we’ve definitely done Netflix marathons of OUAT together. But it’s not quite the same, since most of the time someone’s already watched whatever episodes you’re watching.

      I also have become someone who loves to watch TV on my phone at the gym. That’s my go-to when there are new episodes of The Mindy Project, but right now I’m using my gym time to re-watch Parks and Rec from the start. (I just watched the pilot on Wednesday during my elliptical time.)

    • I do scheduled TV dates with a friend, but not in person. She’s across the country so we simultaneously stream things while chatting. We have 6 shows we watch that way weekly and then sometimes if one of us is watching something for the first time that the other loves, we’ll do an episode or two together.

    • Game shows! Jeopardy has the ability to make me feel incredibly smart or incredibly stupid. (On the stupid days (or categories), I consider it my exercise in humility.) Please tell me you yell out answers . . . in the form of a question.

      There was something fun about watching live TV with friends. The mad scramble at the last minute because the show was ABOUT TO BE ON! Refilling drinks and snacks during commercials . . . speculating on what was going to happen.

      • Can we turn this thread into a Jeopard appreciation thread? I watch it almost every night with my family and have for years. And yes, we always yell out answers—in the form of a question, of course! My parents have been trying to get me to take the Jeopardy test for years, and one of these days I’m going to do it.

  5. I watched all of my favorite television shows sitting in my cozy bed. From there, I was spellbound by the end of Hannibal and Breaking Bad, went through the frustration of watching Dexter and Shameless’s largely disappointing seasons, and laughed at shows like Life in Pieces. I’ve also watched some shows on Netflix sitting in my bed like Z Nation, Madam Secretary, and Daredevil. I think a bed is a better TV watching spot than a couch.

    • While I was binge-watching The Americans last year, my bed was my go-to place for that. But for as much as I love watching TV in bed, I am the kind of person who falls asleep really easily, so that tends to be a problem. Maybe that’s why I’ve found myself standing in my kitchen to watch TV so many times over the years—it’s much harder to fall asleep that way. 😉

  6. I loved hearing about your special kitchen corner! For me, the shows that I watch with my mom (like Supergirl, NCIS, How To Get Away With Murder) are watched in our living room and I always sit on the couch. Shows that I watch alone though, like The Flash, Lucifer, etc, are often watched on my iPad while I’m curled up in bed. And when I was younger I spent a lot of time downstairs where we had a family computer (as I didn’t have my own) as well as a TV, and I have a distinct memory of watching Gilmore Girls down there and having lots of feelings.

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