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!