TV Shows Life

I would rather rewatch old shows than start a new one and here’s why

Warning: this article contains The Good Place spoilers.

“Are you still watching?”, the words on the screen ask, almost in an accusatory way. Yes, I am, and I have been for some time… the past few years even. For a while now, I’ve been stuck in a loop. I rewatch the same films and TV shows as well as reread the same books

When else do I have the luxury of knowing exactly how things will play out?  

After a long day of putting out fires at work and riding the unpredictable wave of managing relationships online, all I want to do is sit down and rewatch How I Met Your Mother. Retreating from the day, I want to watch Ted hold up that blue french horn in front of Robin’s apartment for the 765th time because I know she’ll smile and start to tear up. I find solace in this certainty. It’s almost like I share a secret with the story and its writers. As I watch Ted fumble with romance, I know where his life will inevitably take him. When else do I have the luxury of knowing exactly how things will play out?  

I enjoy the predictability of it. I’ve given Dead to Me multiple tries, but I can’t seem to get past the second episode because I didn’t enjoy the feeling of being left out. Not knowing what comes next, I struggled to become invested in the characters.

Often, when my life is a flurry of activity and I’m working on multiple things at once, I feel the least inclined to put my faith in a new show. I need to be completely sure that I will enjoy it, and how can I do that when I have no clue what’s in store? 

More than that, I like how I sometimes respond differently to the shows when I encounter them again at another point in my life. The Good Place, half a year after I initially watched it, hit me differently. After parting with college friends I had grown close to, not knowing when and if we would see one another again, I grew to understand Eleanor’s reaction to Chidi wanting to leave the ‘Good Place’. Her denial seems less like selfishness and more like wanting to hang onto someone who she cares about.

It’s almost like I share a secret with the story and its writers.

I can understand her now. I welcome that as proof that I am changing. The woman that watched the finale of The Good Place during her winter break may look similar, but she is a far cry from the one that rewatched it following her college graduation. I hope the same will be true when I eventually revisit it by the end of this year.

Another comfort I draw from partaking in this rewatching loop is that I catch the little things that I had missed before. I suppose it’s normal not to want to miss anything in your life. Every moment, once it’s over, cannot return. Given that I’m an extremely detail-oriented person, I often feel overwrought with anxiety when I feel that I’ve missed out on something; missing out often leads to a misunderstanding somewhere down the line.

With the way that we watch movies and TV shows, there are endless opportunities to go back to a moment and relive it. My roommates can attest to the crazy number of times I’ve rewatched a scene in Shutter Island, in which a patient picks up an invisible glass which reappears in her hand in the next scene. I called them all to the living room, crying out about Scorsese’s mind-blowing attention to detail more times than necessary. 

Catching things like that make me feel like I am sharing an inside joke with the director and the characters. They also quell my worries that I am overlooking details of my own life by being distracted by other things. There is also low commitment involved in rewatching, as I can pick up and start whenever I like, given that I know the sequence of events. 

At the end of the day, I want to turn to the things I can expect. I know how I will feel when I watch Elanor walk through the exit, finally content with the life she’s led. When I click ‘play’ on the final episode, that bittersweet joy is how I want to feel at that moment. Rewatching can transport you back to old feelings.

At the end of the day, I want to turn to the things I can expect.

In a day and age when there is so much content to stream that the choices feel endless, and there is a pressure to stay on top of every new release, I see that re-experiencing familiar stories can actually be incredibly comforting. So am I still watching? Yes, Netflix. Yes, I am. 

Culture Life

Why I am constantly drawn to lavender

I find that my most blissful moments remind me of the strong, calming scent of lavender. For one reason or another, I relate it to a lot of the more meaningful aspects of my life. To me, lavender is like a feeling; like the wind brushing up against your skin.

While I think that lavender is largely optimistic, I also find a certain sorrow that is comfortable, even humble, in its presence. I’ve come to appreciate it in every shape and form – the color, the flower, the scent. Its hard to place; not sweet or bitter, but rather musty. 

Lavender manages to incorporate itself into my life seemingly on a whim and in the most fleeting of moments. We have a peculiar relationship. I am stomach-knottingly anxious in the presence of many, especially when I first meet them. But, with some, I sense lavender, and I know that something great is about to happen. It is more of a feeling than anything else. Just talking to some people can be rejuvenating, and perhaps it is because our meeting reminds me of that warm, soft smell of a mid-spring day when the sun is bright and pure, and the entire day lies ahead.

Nowadays, when I am feeling an emotion that is simply beyond words, I say that I am overflowing with lavender. 

According to etymology, the English word “lavender” is derived from the Latin “lavare,” which translates to “to wash.” It is a necessary refinement – a cleanse. I am purified with every utterance of the word. 

Perhaps it’s not just me. In literature, lavender has been used significantly as a token of love. To me, it’s more like a notion of love at first sight. Shakespeare offers a bouquet of “hot lavender” in The Winter’s Tale. Cleopatra also roots lavender with love, as she is said to have used its sultry perfume to seduce both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Christians are also known to have used it as a repellent of evil. The plant is said to have been taken from the Garden of Eden and is sometimes found hanging in a cross shape above the doors of some Christian households as a means of protection. There are so many songs with the title lavender, my favorite being by The Beach Boys, and there have also been many poems written about it, too. Take, for example, this quote by an anonymous writer, “as rosemary is to the spirit, lavender is to the soul.” 

Lavender is swift, like a movement, carrying me in and out of perfectly imperfect moments. The vision of it is rather uplifting as well. It stands delicately tall among the rest, but it is not intimidating either. I adore its confrontation. In fact, I look forward to it.