by Jess Faulk
Sunday night. Housework done. Snow shoveling done. Weekend winding down. Should be a relaxing time for most. And yet, it brings with it a very difficult question that would stress out any reasonable human being, what do I watch on TV tonight? Downton Abbey or The Walking Dead!?!
Lucky for me, thanks to the invention of TIVO, I know my answer to that question – both! Although it did make me wonder, how many others are in the same boat as me, psyched to watch these two radically different shows? I am sure it is not a coincidence that they have placed these two wonderful shows opposite each other, on the assumption that they won’t attract the same demographic.
It is possible I am an outlier, having full appreciation for the romance, drama, and history of Downton and equally loving the gore and intensity of the post-apocalyptic world of Walking Dead. However, I have a hunch that I am far from being alone in this mixed genre affection, and that my fellow blog readers are among those who can appreciate a wide range of interests.
I still vividly remember listing to NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me’s bluff the listener game in February 2009. They shared three stories about classic works of literature being “improved.” The stories were all equally unbelievable as usual. But when I heard the story of blending zombies and Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice, I listened intently hoping that that story was true. The question of whether Mr. Darcy will capture Ms. Bennet’s heart, or whether that heart would be eaten by the Zombie hordes is just too exciting for it not to be true! As we now know, it was true, and Seth Grahame-Smith published the awesome mash-up, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I felt like it was written just for me.
As a female geek I am (almost) used to being questioned when I express an interest in stereotypically different interests. Growing up, I liked playing video games and also liked playing dress up. I liked watching the Terminator and liked watching Titanic. These days, I like reading tech blogs and also like reading romance novels. And as I’ve made obvious, I love Downton Abbey and also love The Walking Dead. I have found excitement in these “contradictions” and I hope that future generations of young women feel comfortable exploring whatever interests they want to without judgment. Talking about it, normalizing it, and celebrating a variety of interests with both little boys and little girls is important. Who knows, maybe when our kids grow up, they won’t have to choose between two of the greatest shows on TV because the networks will schedule shows based on a new demographic that loves both!
Blog Prompt: What hobbies are you into that other people feel are contradictory?