Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Moment I Fell in Love With TV

I was trying to pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love with TV, and I think I've got it narrowed down to a scene that aired back in 2004. September 22, 2004, to be exact. The Lost pilot.

Everyone has heard of the TV show Lost. I was an avid watcher, and simply knowing that a new episode of Lost would air each Wednesday was pretty much what got me through middle school. I lived for Wednesdays.

But back to the pilot episode. (Funny side note--at the time I had no idea that the very first episodes of shows were called "pilots," and I just thought that in the case of Lost, the first episode was titled that because of the intense scene where Jack, Kate, and Charlie locate the plane's cockpit in the jungle and the brutal death of the (actual) pilot they find still in his seat. How naive young Charlotte was!)

The moment I'm referring to, however, the moment I truly fell in love with TV, was an exchange between Jack and Kate. In one of the most stunning opening scenes of any show EVER, our main man Jack awakens to find himself a survivor of a terrible plane crash. I can just picture him running through the jungle in which he was initially thrown, following the muted screams of terror until he reaches the beach and the entire chaotic carnage of the crash is laid out before him. He jumps into action, our hero, and we quickly realize he must be an expert, a doctor of some sort, as he literally saves a dozen lives in a matter of minutes. What an EPIC scene that was, y'all. The episode was actually the most expensive pilot that had ever been made up until that point. But after the worst had been taken care of, after the initial shock wears off, Jack retreats to a secluded section of the beach to try and tend to his own wound from the crash. He had nabbed a travel-sized sewing kit, realizing he would have to stitch up a large gash on the side of his torso. Along comes our favorite fugitive, Kate, and Jack persuades her to do the stitching for him.

Kate: "I might throw up on you."
Jack: "You're doing fine."
Kate: "You don't seem afraid at all. I don't understand that."
Jack: "Well. Fear is sort of an odd thing."

Jack then proceeds to tell Kate a story from when he was in residency (further confirming our doctor theory) and his first solo procedure--a spinal operation on a 16-year-old girl. After 13 hours of surgery he is closing her up when he accidentally rips open a sac of nerves at the base of her spine. "The terror was so... crazy. So real. And I knew I had to deal with it." Tears are streaming down his face as he says this, tears from the excruciating pain of the wound and the stitches, tears from the unbearable stress and shock of the plane crash, tears from the harrowing story he's relaying to a perfect stranger. He's struggling with his words, but in such a way that you can't take your eyes off the screen, in a way that you're yearning, begging him to go on. "So I just made a choice. I'd let the fear in, let it take over, let it do its thing... but only for five seconds, that's all I was gonna give it." The tears continue to run down his face. "So I started to count. 1....2....3....4......5. And it was gone. I went back to work, sewed her up, and she was fine." Kate stares at him. "If that had been me," she says, "I would have run for the door." Jack shakes his head, "No, I don't think that's true." He pauses, and looks over his shoulder. "You're not running now," he says simply, and they share this look. This indescribable look and I knew, I just knew, that I'd never seen anything like this. I'd never felt such a feeling before. And that is the moment I fell in love with television.

Of course, it wasn't until Buffy that I realized I wanted to actually study and work with television shows as a career. I can fangirl with the best of them, from Beverly Hills, 90210 to Dawson's Creek to The OC, but as soon as Sarah Michelle Gellar went from screaming, "The signs? READ ME THE SIGNS! TELL ME MY FORTUNE!" to a second later whimpering, "Giles, I'm sixteen years old. I don't wanna die," in "Prophecy Girl," I knew I was a goner. That was it. Stick a fork in me. I'm done.

It's amazing how TV continues to surprise and amaze and teach me every day. From Felicity's Twilight-Zone-themed episode to the way I'm almost guaranteed to cry in every episode of Friday Night Lights. To the way I can laugh during an episode of Community until my stomach hurts and tears are streaming down my face, to fiercely giving it my all to get a Fringe related topic start trending on twitter. When I was 17 I started wearing lipstick every day because of Faith (and never stopped). I started taking kickboxing to get my Slayer on, not to mention be more like Starbuck. If things are getting me down, I'll be Kaylee and pretend everything's shiny. Veronica Mars is my ultimate role model. Don't get me STARTED on AMC shows (really, it would take hours). I'm not ashamed to admit that Pretty Little Liars makes me gasp out loud, and The Vampire Diaries has some kickass plot twists. If I could close my eyes and be anywhere, it would be in the TARDIS. The list goes on... and on..... and on.

And all of these things, I've come to learn, make me who I am today. They make me Charlotte. I may be a complete and total nerd, an obsessive fanatic, and a little too intense about my ships, but I'm just me. I'm all these things and more, including a student, sister, daughter, friend, writer, reader, lover, and woman. Oh, not to mention a twitter-queen! :) I love television and I love my life. So say we all.

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