This world is judgmental and honestly a bit terrifying. As someone who was not allowed to watch SpongBob as a kid and grew up unaware of the world of cable television, I was jokingly ridiculed throughout middle school. The classic “what…?” in response to when I mentioned I never watched a slew of shows was one of the most consistent, annoying factors in my preteen conversations with acquaintances. My inability to watch these shows fosters from the fact that my parents always had my sister, Emma De Vita and I off doing other activities, or watching DVD movies. Do not get me wrong, I caught glimpses of Teen Titans Go and SpongBob when I would go to my grandparents or cousins house, but I never watched these “staple” 2000’s shows all the way through.
During the summer my mom got a Peacock account, a free streaming service, where I sat down during the first few weeks of school and began watching The Office for the very first time— ever. Watching shows for the first time so late in my teenage years subjugates me to the world of spoilers via peers and social media (most popularly ‘edits’). It sucks to begin a show and know how it ultimately ends or be keenly aware of large climax events in the series or plot. This is your warning as a reader for The Office spoilers from now on. Knowing that Pam and Jim, main characters in the show, end up engaged and later married ruined the watching experience. As someone who likes to enjoy things in the moment with the least amount of spoilers, I gaslight myself out of thinking that I know these types of things occur. An example outside of the world of The Office would be when I discovered the opening song for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. I wanted the tour to be as much of a surprise as possible, so for nine months I tried to forget that the blonde artist who opened with “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince.” The torment went on when watching Pam with Rory, excited as they broke up, and terrified when he came back into the picture. I directed the actors through my television to not do this or not do that, but it never worked. I had to watch, suffering, anxiously awaiting the moment Jim got down on one knee. The show is excellent. I attempted to watch it late middle school—before I tried Friends (which I LOVE) —but found myself unable to because of the slower start to the show and the relaxed pace of the plot. As a more mature individual I am glad I waited because I caught on to more references, and preserved an experience for the perfect viewing age. Dora and a slew of Jillian Michaels DVDs were with me as an elementary schooler, to Stranger Things and Riverdale as a middle schooler, and as a high schooler I learned of the ways television series, and that they can be so much more than just the plot.