Sunday, July 18, 2010

Is It All Felicity's Fault?

I've been wondering why I'm still so focused on college, even a year later. I also wonder why I had always seen it as the goal, rather than just the means to an end. Part of it has to be the fact that today's culture builds up your college years the same way it does turning sixteen and other hallmarks of youth. College is billed as "the best four years of your life." Not only does that make every crappy day you have in college feel twice as bad, it makes graduation loom more darkly than it rightly should.

No one ever tells you, "Oh, I miss those first few years after college searching for a job and slogging up the corporate ladder." So not only do you find yourself without your own personal map for your life, you don't even really have that great a social script to go by. There are some shows about twenty-somethings making good, but not many. But there was at least one television show that was pivotal in creating the concept of the epic years of college: Felicity. A cerebral (read: a little bit dorky) girl goes to New York in search of a high school crush, and finds herself in the process. Sure, there was a lot of wishy-washy romance going on (and a truly bizarre time-travel storyline near the end there), but the main point was clear, four years to decide the rest of your life. Once they graduated, the show was over. Add to the fact that most young adult shows take place in high school, with college as the goal, and if they make it to college, they very rarely make it past graduation, and you have a whole set of stories that map out what everything up to college means. After that, you're on your own.

Of course, I know what to do without TV Guide telling me. But in terms of the social script, I'm improvising more than usual. And I love a script. So I'm trying to write my own, through this blog and just in my own head. JJ Abrams might not be making a show out of it (though it would be a drastic shift after the final season of Lost), but I am.

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