Coming into your own: Shows to watch before graduation

Pop culture isn’t a merely a distraction from your day to day, it’s a part of it. Some of your most fulfilling moments of the day are when you love something you read, listened to or watched on TV.

In trying to figure out who we are at college, sometimes it’s not nearly as interesting as figuring out what we like. These are some TV shows that you may see yourself reflected in, and learn from in the process.


Six Feet Under

“Six Feet Under” is a lot like watching life, if life was more entertaining to watch. Set in a family-run funeral home, The Fishers all have dysfunctional problems encased in death. These problems unravel when the patriarch of the family croaks on Christmas. Nate, the black sheep of the family, comes home and the subsequent members of the family have to learn how to continue on living their lives. Each episode begins with a stranger’s last moments, with their funeral arrangements ending up at The Fisher & Sons Funeral Home.

Each episode reminds you of a truth that we all know and never take quite to heart. Which is, we all die. In “Six Feet Under”, it is inescapable. Amongst the deaths each episode, each member of the family deals with something that we have probably felt at one point. Each character, deceased or alive, explores relationships, religion, identity, sexual exploration, depression and life crises. All delivered in black comedy and unflinching sadness. “Six Feet Under” never lets you forget the condition of living, even in a lighthearted and light scene. It’s always there. Life can be hilarious and break your heart in the same day.

As the show goes on, you witness the very authentic growth of each character as they change lovers, careers and life decisions. Unlike other shows, “Six Feet Under” takes you through to the end with each character, quite literally. In one of the most famous TV finales, you watch each character’s last moments on Earth.

Life is confusing and it probably won’t ever not be, but with a show to expand on ideas you may spend your day avoiding, it adds a particularly useful amount of clarity. These were complex people, these were their stories and now they’re gone. Make yours a good story.

“Why do people die?”

“To make life important.”

– “Six Feet Under”



Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Into each generation, a Slayer is born. Sometimes, her name is as ridiculous as Buffy. To a lot of millennials, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is that ‘90’s show that they caught from time to time with the vampires. To the other half, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” has solidified its spot as iconic in pop culture. The show takes place in a world where there is one girl who must save the world from vampires and all forces of darkness. When they die fairly young, a new one is called. In “Buffy”, she is a 16-year-old Valley Girl who recently moved into the Californian town of Sunnydale. The juxtaposition of a superhero being a mini-skirt wearing, pun making and ass kicking blonde is half the reason the show works so well.

As the show progresses, Buffy has to take on tragic and dark things in her life. The show follows her escapades throughout high school, college and the giant scary world of being in your twenties and having no idea what you want your life to be. Buffy loses lovers, parents and friends. Besides the campy and thoroughly fun supernatural run ins with vampires, witches, werewolves, magic, monsters and sometimes an immortal Mayor, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” exemplifies the frustrating dilemma of growing up.

Each season represents a “Big Bad” that must be defeated with a take away each time. The real “Big Bad” is life. As we follow Buffy throughout the show, she becomes someone we not only can relate to but see ourselves as being. It’s not everyday your superhero of choice is a depressed, suicidal college dropout who works a fast food job minimum wage job to support her family and still continues to fight.

You’re going to run into a lot of things in college and in life. With the anecdotes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” to follow you, may you slay them.

“Strong is fighting. It’s hard, and it’s painful, and it’s everyday.”

– “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”



Parks and Recreation

We all may like to consider ourselves optimistic, but we have nothing on Leslie Knope. “Parks and Recreation” breathes life into menial office bureaucracy. Set in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana, the show follows the lives of the staff of the Parks and Recreation department. The crew, all lovable and strange, is championed by the one and only Leslie Knope. With more passion for local government than one would ever expect, she battles roadblock after roadblock each episode.

Instead of being slowed down by this, she is only every simply frustrated. The tenacity of Leslie Knope, combined with the select personalities of each of the other characters creates a dynamic played off of each episode. Hi-jinks ensues.

With most comedies, cynicism and apathy usually prevail. For “Parks and Recreation”, they are minor notes in a show devoted to passion and perseverance. Petty local government disputes over a local park are shown for what they are, ridiculous, but Leslie’s determined efforts are not. “Parks and Recreation” is earnest and hopeful. Looking like a fool and putting 100% behind something is the only option, fail or win.

When college can drag you down to indifference, having a show that works for happiness is the fastest way to recharge your mood. As the episodes develop, each character begins to feel like an old friend. Whenever succumbing to skepticism, “Parks and Recreation” will bring you back up.

“I am big enough to admit that I am often inspired by myself.”

– “Parks and Recreation”