I’m Almost Ashamed To Admit It, But…

I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but I have been binge-watching the TV show “ER” for a month or so now.

I have been watching two to three episodes a day, and I’m in Season 8 (of 15). I just watched the episode where Mark Greene died of a brain tumor. It brought tears to my eyes, especially the unfinished letter he wrote to the people in the ER he worked with all those years, and his never-to-be accomplished bucket list he made out just for fun at the end.

Now that ER is immediately available with streaming, and I can watch them whenever I want, I came to realize just how continuous the storylines were from episode to episode. You no longer have to wait a week before following up on what ended last week. This brought back another show I binge-watched last year. It was a New Zealand show called “500 Words”. I ended up watching it three times and could almost quote the script before I decided that was enough.🙃

What caused me to binge-watch these two shows while routinely skipping so many others of the same venue? I think it comes down to my almost insatiable need to experience “family” and close friends in my life. I got to know all those cast members so well that I felt as if I was living esoterically with them in their experiences, and when something tragic happened to one of them, it almost felt like I lost a close friend.

I won’t go into the details here, but I lament the fact that I almost totally missed out on the idea of family and close friends. Yeah, I was able to experience the large family of my wife’s but, for the most part, it was really just her and me as that family was 500 miles to the north. I am so glad that the Lord put us together. I really didn’t know love until that happened. I will never be able to fill the “family” void in my life. I simply don’t have enough life left to make that happen.

Recently, two things hit me on the same day. One was Dr. Mark Greene’s fictional death on “ER”. The other is that my dentist of 20 years died in a head-on collision. Dr. Kenfield was almost ten years younger than me, and retired just 3 years ago. These two deaths, one fictional and one real, seemed to slam me in the face and brought me face-to-face once again with my own mortality.

I am presently struggling with that, by running through the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” scenarios that we all know does no one any good, but… I know that I have made a difference in many people’s lives, especially in my “service directed” retirement years. I also have some blogging friends that I feel close to through their blogs.

Then there were the ten years of basically being in the caretaker’s mode with my wife, and having to watch her poor health choices hasten her death. That was a struggle that I really didn’t think I would survive. I am now two years on the back-end of that, and I still think about it almost every day.

4 thoughts on “I’m Almost Ashamed To Admit It, But…

  1. Becoming invested in a fictional character, whether on a TV show or a book, is a sign of artistry by the writers and actors. To not become at least somewhat attached to the characters and story arc would not make for a very memorable experience.

    Whenever a key character leaves a TV series, I check on Google to find out why. Usually that actor wants to pursue other projects and asks to be written out of the show. That makes their departure easier to accept!


    1. I didn’t realize that ER ran for 15 seasons. Like you say, a good TV show or anything artistic is to get us involved in the characters. That takes exceptional writers, especially when it runs that long. “800 Words” was a victim of Covid, so it only had 3 seasons. Yeah, I learned the lesson early on not to attach the personal lives to the part they play.


  2. I’ve always thought that the mark of a good TV series is that it allows us to experience difficult emotions in the comfort of our own homes, completely free of real-life consequences.

    Fear, loss, love, exhilaration, imminent danger: things we might literally not experience (or not care to) in our lifetime are available on demand in the form of great TV storytelling. Often with a stunning musical score to boot.

    Allowing ourselves to be emotionally manipulated is really what we sign up for when we invest ourselves in a great TV series. And, in a life in which we can spend so much time trying to suppress our feelings, it’s nice to let it all out once in a while.

    Pro tip: don’t follow your favourite shows’ actors on Twitter because they will almost always leave you with buyer’s remorse. Love the character, put the actor on “ignore”.


    1. Some wise thoughts here, Page. Although I don’t follow ANYONE on Twitter so no problem there 🙃

      The last few years, I have grown very tired of all the violence on American TV. It’s not unusual for a typical TV show to kill off a dozen people in every episode. Now that streaming is readily available, we get options from around the world. I would say about 20% of my TV viewing is from American sources now.


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