Throughout my childhood, my parents constantly assured me that my wit was more mature than my peers’. While this was meant to be a compliment, I usually interpreted it as an excuse for why I didn’t have many friends in elementary school. My classmates simply didn’t get me, nor I them. During lunchtime, they recounted their favorite moments from shows like Inspector Gadget and Reading Rainbow. I would interrupt with questions like, “Do you think we’ll ever see Alan Brady’s face on Dick Van Dyke?” (The answer, by the way, was not until season four.) Most children who struggle to find a common ground with their peers would likely withdraw from conversation, but with my gregarious personality, that was never an option. I continued to share my thoughts and humor with my classmates, even though my comments were often met with the sound of crickets chirping instead of the desired laughter. I occasionally found consolation with my teachers, who reluctantly laughed at my jokes that my cohorts found puzzling. For example, my first grade teacher always cracked a smile whenever a student was caught misbehaving and I would chime in with, “You got some ‘splainin’ to do!” Most teachers, however, seemed concerned with my parents’ child rearing skills. I recall my sixth grade history teacher asking to speak with my parents because I kept interrupting his lesson plan with jokes that I had heard on Conan (keep in mind that Conan didn’t air until 1 a.m. in my hometown); I remember pretending that I didn’t understand the jokes’ punch lines because I secretly knew that they were entirely inappropriate for a sixth grade classroom.
My lack of friends in elementary school never brought about intense feelings of loneliness, probably because I had my friends on television to keep me company. I lived vicariously through their lives and maintained hopes that I would one day have similar life experiences of my own. This has been a recurring theme throughout my life. I realize that these characters are fictional and not actually my friends, but I also know that during difficult times, these television pals have pulled me out of my despair and helped me escape life’s challenges, even if only for thirty minutes. I am grateful for the laughter and entertainment that these shows have provided me over the years, and I wish to create new characters for others to turn to when they are in need of a distraction from their own lives.
This desire has fueled my aspirations to embark on a career in the television and film industry, which is why I'm moving to California at the end of the month. On various occasions, my friends and family have told me that I light up when discussing my favorite television shows and films. I spend several hours a week imagining how current shows could be improved, and I usually share these thoughts with my disinterested friends who constantly try to change the subject. I can sense them getting irritated with my incessant chatter, but I can’t turn it off. Television and films have become a part of my makeup and it only seems right that I work in an industry where my creative ideas will be valued instead of curtailed. To a certain degree, my parents were right all along. As my peers grew older and their tastes in television matured, they began to understand my jokes and we actually started to bond over the same television shows. It seems ironic that the shows that once distanced me from my peers became the catalyst that would eventually bring us together, but that’s the magic of television!