The beauty of streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu is that we have a wealth of entertainment at our fingertips. With a click of a button we can revisit shows we loved years ago, but it also offers us a chance to watch shows we’ve never seen before. These new television experiences not only swing open the door for new conversations, but it can lead you down a road of contemplation.
Catching up on my own plethora of shows, I am fascinated with the notion that there are some shows that we weren’t supposed to see, or at least fully appreciate, until after the fact. Watching a show about freshmen in college and the confusion and drama they go through might not have meant anything to me when I was that age. Would I have been able to watch Felicity when it was on and have been able to connect to it as I am now?
I’m not very far into season one of the series, but already I am picking up on themes that I know I wouldn’t have been able to relate to before. Maybe this falls into the perimeters of “if I knew then what I know now,” that in retrospect certain topics mean more when you’re not neck deep in them yourself. It’s not that I can really relate to the situation, I never traveled away to college and never followed a boy across the country that I hardly knew. The fact is that shows like this aren’t supposed to relate in every aspect to the viewers for them to connect to, but offer a haven for those who can empathize.
Young Adult, as a genre, is geared towards the youth, the ones in that awkward age between teenage and adulthood. I’m sure there are plenty of those people who ingest these products and find solace in their teachings, but there are also a lot of people who are well into their adulthood that devour them as well. Is there really a genre of YA, or is that just a marketing ploy? It reminds me of a quote from the author Sherman Alexi, who has been classified as a YA author. I took away from that quote that what he was saying was that he is a writer who happens to have characters of a certain age, not that he’s writing down to capture the attention of readers of a certain age. He’s a writer telling stories, it doesn't matter who is reading them as long as they are being read.
Felicity, as a character, reminds me of myself. It’s an interesting character for the fact that she represents who I was to become, she’s closer to who I am now, 16 years later. I watch situations she’s found herself in, and think about how I would handle them now. In the end, the whole point is to learn from example and apply that to your life. It seems to be more meaningful when you can add real life events that are beyond the walls of the original piece to add layers.
It could be more meaningful because you are able to appreciation the topics and time period in ones life it represents. The point could be more than just the first time we ingest the product, but where we are in our lives when we revisit them. The beauty about entertainment is that you can constantly step back into these stories no matter what the age. Whether it be a song or a book, or a television show, things that mean so much to us at one point in our life will change meaning depending on what we’ve experienced. We might catch something we didn’t understand before, bringing a whole new emotional impact of the story in front of us.
I could be reading into this too much, but ultimately it boils down to what it means to you. When you're a teenager, exploring the world on your own in college and beginning the track to find your true self, one might be too preoccupied with your own emotions to see outside the box. Looking back at a freshman in college, reminiscing on your time at university, you acknowledge that sometimes you took things for granted and wish more than anything that life was that simple again. You realize, however, that your time on this planet is not over yet, and you are always in the position to better yourself.
In the end, we’re constantly learning as humans. Learning who we are, how we react to other people, and what is the proper way for us to react to a situation that is nothing more than truthful to us as people. We can’t assume we are going to react the same way as someone else, and we shouldn’t because we are all individuals. We never stop learning, and sometimes the best lessons are the ones where we place ourselves in an age long since forgotten.
Written by Lisa Mejia