What Do We Watch on Tuesday?

If you were a kid in the 90s,  your parents would order a pizza for dinner every Friday night. I don’t know why this was an unspoken rule of weekly take-out, but if it was Friday, you knew that you were going to eat cheesy goodness while watching Sabrina The Teenage Witch, in that order.

Little did you know that your parents were also giving you a taste of adult living at a very young age, while simultaneously setting you up for heart disease. What was a fun way to spend the end of the week suddenly became a rut that you were trudging in by the time you were nearing puberty. Your mouth would start watering on Thursday night in anticipation of the next day: pizza day.

And so it was born: your ambition to work for/treat yourself with the weekend. (To be fair, 5 days of schooling also contributed to this, but hey, positive reinforcement doesn’t help it, either.)

And it is now that I invoke this sort of, blogger’s license, and say that you should break the routine you live in whenever possible (and at the same time, I freely admit that this is a struggle for me as well. I, too, looked forward to pizza at one time.)

But like pizza, routines are unhealthy. (I know, sad truth.)

Now, I’m not going to tell you that life exists outside of your comfort zone. Because you already know that. Yes, if I tell you what you should be doing, it doesn’t change the fact that you aren’t doing it. You’re scared and that’s obvious. We all are, and that’s why we adopt routines in the first place. That’s not a crime, it’s a fact.

No, I want to tell you it is possible to break your routine. It is possible to start something new. It is possible to stop asking, “What’s on television on Tuesday?” Not because you already know, but because you have broken the habit of doing the same thing every Tuesday. Just start small. Watch your normal shows on a Wednesday night instead of a Tuesday. I know, I know, that’s really starting small. But when you convince yourself that change isn’t life-altering, and that it won’t kill you, then you can move up. Try a new restaurant. Read an author you’ve never read.

Then, when you’re comfortable in your new uncomfortableness, keep going. And you’ll realize that the life you were living before wasn’t really living at all.

Routines can be good because they help us to remember what we need to remember in our lives: the car keys, this huge project, that night out with your friends. This is because nothing ever changes. But routines aren’t memorable for the long-term, as days merge into one another as one gray blur. That’s why we need a break from routines from time to time, to feel new things and try new things. To live the life we want to live instead of the life we feel we must.

So, we’ll do it together. We’ll both make small changes in our life so that they add up to something big. Because life is simply that: small moments that add up over the years.

(But don’t worry. This blog will always remain routine without being ordinary.)

Why I Love Law and Order: SVU

I would like to preface this by saying that I do not like cop shows. I do not like the whodunit mystery, the forensic clues, the poorly made up “corpses,” the predictable story lines, the standoffs, the badge flashing, or the too violent interrogations. The CSI: Every Major City trend only disgusted me when it was prevalent. The appeal, however, was not lost on millions of viewers. They asked, blood, bugs, and blondes? What’s not to like?

Nothing, I replied. There is nothing to like about a murder that is punctuated with a bad pun every episode (I’m looking at you, CSI: Miami. Actually, I have an eagle eye on you in particular, Horatio).

And then, one day, I saw the light. Well, actually, I saw an episode of Law and Order: SVU. And it wasn’t like I had never seen an episode of the series before. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t heard from classmates that they had skipped classes just to see who murdered who in the end and how much time he or she had to serve. It wasn’t as if I didn’t know that it was a great show. I guess I simply hadn’t paid attention before. I guess I had never let myself be invested in the characters, both the cops and the victims. And when I finally made an effort to watch, well, I couldn’t look away.

From Mariska Hargitay’s flawless portrayal as the strong female lead that we all want and need from television to Ice T’s hardboiled act that is tempered by his caring nature for his partner, Amanda (Kelli Giddish). Even with Elliot (Chris Meloni) leaving his longtime role for a short stint on True Blood, SVU has never faltered.

Sure, they rip ideas from the headlines. A lot. And yeah, maybe there are a few too many plot lines that cross into the lives of the cops themselves that inevitably create unneeded melodrama. But if you thought that Law and Order: SVU was just another cop show like I once did, then you would be dead wrong. (I know, I know. I’m no better than Horatio at this point.)

Because it’s not. The entire process is shown, from arrest to courtroom, a side rarely developed in this genre. Usually, the cop in question just stares off into the distance once the baddie is thrown into the back of a squad car in other shows. But not SVU. We see justice at work, or more often, not at work, noting the fallacies in the system. We see cops interacting with criminals at every point, showing the gray areas of the case instead of just the clinching evidence at the end.

But the best part of Law and Order: SVU is what I can’t quantify, what I can’t name. The chemistry of the characters in the precinct. That really iconic dun dun noise when there is a change of scene. The twists and truly insane turns that any episode can take. And, of course, the way that I am completely enamored with it all.

In the end, it’s amazing what good television can do. But really, it’s all about good storytelling. And if after all all of my testimony, you still think I’m crazy for not liking any other cop shows, well, I’m guilty as charged. (Seriously, that was the last one.)