Regularly scheduled programming: How to get back together with your favorite show

Two figures stand holding hands. The figure on the left is red and has a television as a head. On the television screen is a red heart. The right figure is colored in blue, and is smiling and wearing a basketball jersey and jeans. In between them, above their hands, are two red and blue hearts, overlapping in the center and becoming purple.
(Yasmin Elqutami • The Student Life)

The summer before my junior year of high school, I fell deeply in love with a show that I have mentioned in this column multiple times: “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” I loved it so much that I ended up recommending it to a long list of my friends — a list that includes a boy I met in the spring of my junior year, who would end up becoming my ex-boyfriend months later. 

When entering any relationship, maintaining a sense of identity is a common concern. I definitely shared this worry, thinking that any shared interest, especially a TV show, movie or music, would be ruined for me if the relationship ended. After all, it’s normal post-breakup behavior to stop listening to your ex’s favorite music or turn off their favorite movie — anything to remove what reminds you of them from your life. 

In a lot of cases, it can be easy to just mass-delete media associated with your ex. The problem for me was that “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” was my favorite show first. 

I told myself that I wouldn’t let anything get in between me and the new season, but I watched the first couple of episodes and soon realized it was too difficult. I couldn’t bring myself to watch the show — I felt like it had taken on a new, warped meaning now that my relationship was over. The comedic quips fell flat, and I couldn’t think about the show at all without ushering in thoughts about the ended relationship.

So, I stopped watching “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

I didn’t see any of season six and didn’t bother to find out when season seven was premiering. To make myself feel better, I made deprecating comments and jokes about how it wasn’t that funny and that the characters were annoying — characters that months prior, I had compared myself to and loved completely. 

After a lot of time passed since the initial breakup, both with the ex and with “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” I started to mull over watching the show again. I kept putting it off, though, sure that I would feel the same as when I last watched it fresh off my breakup.

But a few months ago, when trying to find a new show to watch, I finally resumed season six. To be honest, as I hit “play,” I felt a little strange holding off on watching my favorite show because of something that happened a year earlier. It was time to get caught up. 

To my surprise, I didn’t feel anything even close to what I had been worried about. If anything, I was relieved to be watching my favorite show and to be reunited with some of my favorite characters on TV. Whenever Charles Boyle would come on screen or Cheddar would make an appearance, I felt so much familiar comfort. Even though it felt a little bit strange to continue watching after such a long break, it felt right, and I was so happy to start it again. 

I was reminded of why “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is my favorite show, and why it was so easy to fall in love with it years ago. When I watch it now, I just think about how much I love it and how it’s become such a source of happiness for me and the friends I’ve recommended it to. 

While I am far from being equipped to write about relationships (check out TSL’s relationship column instead), my experience with “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” falls perfectly under my jurisdiction as a TV columnist and has given me a lot of insight into some aspects of autonomy in a relationship. I think that in a relationship, sharing your favorite shows, movies or music is the best way to get to know someone and engage in what they love.

Being scared to remember what you shared after a breakup shouldn’t stop you from re-engaging with these interests, because with time, they will be there to comfort you. 

Claire DuMont SC ’23 is one of TSL’s TV columnists. She is from Manhattan Beach, California and loves her dogs, cats and talking about TV (obviously). She likes to think she relates most to Amy Santiago, but she’s really a Charles Boyle or a combination of Jake and Amy.

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