By Shreya Durvasula
Nothing like a post holiday breakup to really entrench you in those winter blues. When the old standbys of whiskey, good friends, and quietly sobbing in the shower aren’t cutting it anymore, it’s time for some other form of medication. In the wise words of Homer J. Simpson, “Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover.”
Why did you guys break up?
Maybe you wanted to focus on your job? Don’t have time for silly romantic distractions? You might not be the ‘Chosen One’ but you can probably relate to Ms. Buffy Summers. Binge-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and watching her romantic trials and tribulations might help you get through your own Buffy’s never had much luck with dating, but she and you have a great excuse; too busy saving the world. So just find some broody Britisher to have hate-sex with and get right back into your 80’s training montage. Hey, your ex might not have understood why you had to work late all the time or belittled your career but at least he wasn’t a sociopathic vampire.
Suggested drink pairing: Alcoholic energy drinks to numb your feelings while allowing you to work 74 hours a week.
Did you find out your ex secretly voted for Michele Bachmann or is a Bronie? Not that there’s anything wrong with either (lies), but when you realize you have irreconcilable worldviews it’s time to gracefully let things go. Now you have two choices:
1. Try and follow him down the rabbit hole to see what truth lies that way (NOT ADVISED)
2. Throw yourself into the warm waiting arms of Aaron Sorkin.*
If you choose option 2, hunker down with snacks, hydration, and blankets because it’s time to live in a Sorkin world, where everyone uses 10 dollar words and is incapable of speaking while standing still. Escape to a world where President Bartlett reigns supreme (The West Wing), where Dan Rydell and Casey McCall are on your airwaves delivering sports news with integrity (Sportsnight), and where Will McAvoy (The Newsroom) fights corporate and commercial obstacles to get you timely and intelligent news analyses. Okay, so you might not want to be a woman in this world for very long, but just stare into Rob Lowe’s beautiful eyes and hold yourself while chanting your progressive, socialist mantras about universal healthcare and campaign finance reform. Use Rachel Maddow as a palate cleanser for optimal results.
Suggested drink pairings: Fair trade coffee, organic sugar free non-GMO smoothies, small-batch whiskey
You have no idea what happened--your relationship just imploded. All you just know is that you’re single yet again. Stop looking for answers and just return to a simpler time. If you need to be a 14 year old again, watch Dawson get dumped by Joey on Dawson’s Creek. It helps if you try to create Dawson-cryface. Watch Rory and Dean inevitably fall apart, get back together, and then fall apart again spectacularly in Gilmore Girls. Or revisit the epic Lorelai/ Luke meltdown that tore Stars Hollow apart. If you want to remember the innocence of your beautiful first sweet crush, there’s no one like Kevin Arnold (Wonder Years) to remind you. Your Winnie Cooper would never crush your heart into tiny pieces. This method alternates enormous comfort and sharp shards of grief which is a powerful yet crippling combination.
Suggested drink pairings: Hot chocolate (with rum), Hot apple cider (with rum), hot tea (with whiskey), water (with vodka)
The opposite approach would be to repress all your feelings, leaving a glorious void. This is best accomplished by avoiding shows with any real depth or human emotions. Some choices: I Love Lucy, the Three Stooges, the Honeymooners, the Dick Van Dyke show, basically nothing in color (reflecting your current gray existence) and nothing made after the Eisenhower administration. That’s when things took a turn for this country.
Suggested drink pairings: So much beer. Like when you think you’re too full to drink more beer, just pee and then drink more beer. Beer is your new water.
When you’re finally ready to emerge from your self-imposed winter hibernation, here are some heart wrenching couples that will your reaffirm faith in relationships.
Jim Halpert & Pam Beesly, the early years. While Dwight’s antics were a source of delight and Michael’s speeches were amazing cringeworthy, Jim and Pam’s quiet glances and budding romance was the backbone of The Office early on. Their relationship bought a realness to the otherwise absurd office setting and made you truly care for these characters as if they were your friends.
Similarly, Leslie Knope & Ben Wyatt from Parks & Recreation. They might have hated each other when they first met under stressful economic circumstances for Pawnee, but their undeniable chemistry and passion couldn’t keep these two nerds apart. Ben’s support of Leslie during her campaign and Leslie’s unending ability to care for Ben are just heartwarming. And that wedding! Perfection.
Finally, possibly the greatest TV couple of all time didn’t start as a “will they or won’t they”. They were already married which allowed the show to get into the intricacies of a partnership. The constant struggle of trying to balance work and family is beautifully and realistically depicted by showrunner Jason Katims. I’m talking, of course, of Coach and Tami Taylor in Friday Night Lights. In an interview with NPR, Connie Britton who plays the Tami Taylor said, "[Kyle Chandler and I] did not want this to be a marriage where we ultimately were addressing infidelity or whatever... We really wanted to deal with the authenticity of what it is to try to make a marriage work." If only we could all find a Coach or Tami to get us through this ridiculous experience we call life.
And despite what your family and friends keep telling you, comparing your life to a TV show and all potential partners to fictional characters is absolutely healthy and in no way indicative of your mental wellbeing. With those temperatures outside, it’s not like you’re going anywhere any time soon. When enough time passes, all will be right with the world. Just ride it out until spring.
*Disclaimer: his arms are probably not warm or waiting, but definitely smug and pretentious.