We watch... so you don't have to.

Be Still My Remote Control

We were watching Sports Night back in November. Dan Rydell, the anchor boy next door, was draining the com from sitcom with a plot line involving the revelation that beneath his jocular surface lay -- surprise! -- a heart beating with existential pain.

"Oh hogwash," I said. "He's just reeling from the fact that I dumped him before this episode."

"What did you say?" asked the boyfriend.

"I said I dumped him. Dan Rydell was my TV boyfriend, and after he took off for four weeks without an explanation, I decided I was dumping him."

"You have a TV boyfriend?"

"Doesn't everyone?"

"No," the boyfriend shot back. "Only the crazy people."

That's not true. I am no more or no less crazy than anyone else; I just acquire TV boyfriends. It adds something to the viewing experience. I said as much.

"That's boyfriendsssssss, as in plural?"

"Well, yeah. Why should I restrict myself to just one TV boyfriend? I do have cable."

And now that my secret is out, I cannot watch television with the flesh-and-blood boyfriend without him giving me guff about my harem on television.


"So who's your boyfriend on this show -- Carter? Mark Greene?"

Ew! Give me some credit. If you must know, it's the hot Croatian doctor.

"So that's one sports anchor and one hot Croatian doctor."

No, I told you, I dumped Danny back in November.

"You still watch the show."

Only to revel in his post-dumpage agony. You'll notice he's only had second-string plot lines since I left him.

The Practice:

"Any boyfriends here?"

Nope. I never date married television characters, or engaged ones.

"That's weird."

Television adultery is sick and wrong. I refuse to stoop to that.

Once and Again:

"Let me guess: you like Michael Wiseman."

I wish. I don't believe in dissing a sister. He and his wife are still carrying torches for each other.

"How noble of you."

That doesn't discount the doctor. He likes show tunes, honey. Sound familiar?

Law and Order:

"Who would you date now?"

On this show? Jack McCoy. In fact, I may be already. I just don't know it.

"Don't know it?"

Hey, Dick Wolf never told us explicitly that Jack and Claire were having an affair. Why would it be any different with me and Jack?

"You know, Munch is single over on Law and Order: SVU."

Forget it. After Mike Logan broke my heart, I vowed never to date another detective on Planet Wolf. It's DAs or it's nothing.


"Oh God, I don't even want to know."

Relax. It's the human. John whatshisname.

"You don't even know his last name?"

Ask me if I care. He's cute and malleable. I don't need to know anything beyond that.

"You're just using him!"

He's a television character. It's okay.

"You're watching the show on Mute!"

Hey! I just told you I'm not dating him for his wit or personality.

The Sopranos:


"I'd be too scared to even try."

The Daily Show:

There's my portable news boyfriend!

"I thought you didn't date engaged men."

Well, he's engaged in real life, but not on The Daily Show.

"That's some pretty elaborate logic."

Anything for Jon. He's so cute! He's tiny! He's my travel boyfriend. What is he, like, three feet tall? I could stuff him in the overhead compartment on flights. That's so convenient.

"You're so sick. Why am I still with you?"

Freaks and Geeks:

"Don't even--"

Oh, that's just awful. I can't date minors. But if Bill had a brother, I'd--


Totally! If Bill's imaginary older brother was anything like Bill, dating him would be like taking a trip to another planet every day.

"So now you're dating the imaginary siblings of imaginary characters."

Noooo. I'm just hypothesizing.

The West Wing:

"I'm going to guess there's a Rob Lowe skeleton in your closet."

Hah. I have a thing for Toby. But I fear it would never work out.

"You've lost me."

I'm a shiksa. Oh, Aaron Sorkin, you give with one hand and you take away with the other.

"Still gloating about Danny's subpar plots on Sports Night?"

You know it. That'll teach him to disappear for four weeks without notice.

WWF Smackdown:

"Do you mind if we watch this? There's an hour until your Croatian boyfriend comes on."

No problem. Hey... who's that?

"That's the Rock."

That's the Lisa's new wrestling boyfriend is who that is.

"Oh, for--"

Why don't you just drink a tall, cold glass of shut-up?

"That settles it, I'm getting a wrestling girlfriend!"


"You're not supposed to say that."

Which triggered off a soul-searching -- well, soul-searching in between watching meaty clowns pummel each other -- discussion of what the whole point was to TV boyfriends and girlfriends.

"Look," I said. "Like it or not, we have relationships with television shows. They unfold in serial, so we get to know the characters. Couple that with my uncanny ability to guess the plot of any show in less than fifteen minutes, and I need something to keep me watching. If inventing interest in a character lets me watch the show with fresh eyes, then what's the harm?"

That's the explanation that saved our relationship. Well, that and the boyfriend's newly-developed habit of acquiring advertising girlfriends, movie girlfriends and TV girlfriends.

But I'm cool with that, I really am. Besides, I didn't reveal the biggest reason for stocking my harem with television characters: if they ever annoy me, I can change the channel and fall in infatuation all over again.


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