In My Defense…

I like The Office.

And I’m also starting to get into American Idol.

I’ve posted about TV before, and you might have noticed a pattern. I like Gilmore Girls, I grew embarrassingly obsessed with The O.C. in its final season, I caught up with Sex and the City via the DVDs, I still watch Desperate Housewives (although as of late I don’t like it quite as much), and I was one of three people watching Six Degrees, which was just cancelled. Meanwhile, Studio 60 drove me crazy.

So basically, my taste in TV shows, like my taste in music and everything else about me, is uncool. I watch shows that absolutely no one else is watching, shows being used past their expiration dates, shows aimed at teenagers.

And American Idol is my new guilty pleasure.

Now, this is not entirely my fault. Despite my great cable package, I’ve never had the premium channels longer than a month, so I’ve never seen anything on HBO or Showtime.

But sometimes…I just don’t see what the big deal is about a show. So many people raved about Arrested Development when it was on, but I saw it three times and…honestly? I thought all the characters were really annoying (even Jason Bateman’s character, whom I think we were supposed to like), and it didn’t make me laugh once. I’m not a huge fan of sci-fi or fantasy (with the exceptions of The X-Files and Harry Potter), so I don’t watch Heroes or Doctor Who or Battlestar Galactica. And sometimes I can appreciate a show for what it is but, for whatever reason, can’t get into it. I thought The West Wing was a well-done show, but for some reason it never really captured my interest enough to compel me to tune in every week. (Plus I kind of hate Aaron Sorkin now—hear what a jackass he is in this interview.)

But now I have some credibility. I like The Office. The American version, at least. Please ignore the fact that I haven’t seen the British version yet.

And the fact that I’ve been watching American Idol lately.

Yes, I like The Office! I think it’s genuinely funny, well-written, and well-acted. I’m still catching up with the DVDs my friend lent me, but so far, I do see what the big deal is. It won the Emmy for Best Comedy Series last year, and it completely deserved it.

I think the important thing for me with TV shows, any shows, is for me to be interested in the characters. If I want plot, I watch a movie. But I can appreciate a show like the late, potentially-great Six Degrees, which didn’t have a lot of big, dramatic moments, but had six main characters about whom I genuinely cared. On the other hand, with very few exceptions, all the characters on Studio 60 annoyed the hell out of me.

Yeah, I know, still doesn’t explain the American Idol thing.

But I think the characters on The Office are great. You have the over-the-top characters (Michael and Dwight) along with the likeable, interesting, realistic ones (Jim and Pam—and yes, I do want them together!), and then all the other office people who have distinct, often funny, personalities but seem like people with whom you might actually work. The show always makes me laugh, but it never seems like it’s straining or trying too hard.

Maybe I just miss singing? I’m living vicariously through Melinda Doolittle (who should totally win)?

So, yes. I like The Office. I like a show that, at the moment, is pretty hard to disparage. Does that make up for my questionable taste in the past?

Or does American Idol just ruin everything? At least I’m not voting for Sanjaya.

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