Jane the Virgin No Longer a Guilty Pleasure

Rarely do I get to do many non-baby related activities these days, so when my mom asked me if I wanted to go to a Seattle Arts and Lectures Town Hall meeting featuring TV critic Emily Nussbaum, I jumped at the chance. As long as dad could babysit, that is.

Ms. Nussbaum started the talk with the history of television – breaking it down by genre and decade. I don’t read much criticism so maybe this perspective isn’t new to those that do, but it was eye opening for me. I never thought of TV in this way. Like most Americans, I basically watch for enjoyment.

Television shifted in the late ’90’s when shows like The Sopranos and Sex and the City broke free of the formulaic scripts they had built upon for decades. The anti-hero emerged which caused shows to get more interesting. Plot lines didn’t have to be resolved in 22 or 48 minutes – they could evolve over a season. That’s one of the things that drew me to Breaking Bad back when I was a budding TV fan. (Before that I was all about theater – anything else was beneath me. I was a snob.)

She taught me that it’s okay for me to be a fan of television – that it’s no longer considered some sort of lower art form. TV has won the right to be taken more seriously over the last several years with smart writing, great actors and intelligent show runners. That I shouldn’t be ashamed of binging Jane the Virgin on maternity leave because it’s a really good show, dammit, and there’s nothing else like it on TV.

Ms. Nussbaum made me proud to be a television actor.

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