In a new monthly column for ELLE, R. Eric Thomas sounds on all things cultural. Find out what to read, watch, listen and speak thoroughly right here.
I can’t wait to tell my grandchildren about how we’ve been waiting all summer to get our new TV. I have no grandchildren, or children, so I’m not sure how this will turn out, but I’ve never seen the tyranny of reality. However, I have seen the anguish and ecstasy of the old TV schedule. The new content will end in mid-May, and the TV will tell you “Get out! Find a swimming pool! Let’s cultivate character! “Love is difficult. Ah, but then autumn will roll, TV User Manual will launch an alternate Fall Preview issue and channels will be filled NCISes in many cities, towns and unincorporated lands.
Today, TV comes to you anyway at any time of the year. Late last winter and into spring, largely due to COVID delays in production, we saw a huge wave of new shows and new seasons that resembled the traditional TV season. end. Fan favorites like Barry, Flight attendant, and Hacks are joking to get attention with the new fair like Abbott Elementary School, Heart stops beating, and Quit. That’s a lot and I got into the summer months a bit confused. The TV part is over? Is it just getting started?
I know that outside of our TV and school schedules, fall isn’t usually the time we think to start something new. But, as I will soon tell my grandchildren, I think that is not correct. I had it with the tyranny of spring renewal. As the winter months come to an end, everything from the natural world to our own inner drive is said to be infused with a fresh energy, a drive, a drive to create from the darkness and barren of the coldest season. I think the idea is propaganda — a disinformation campaign launched by Big Plant.
Yes, I love the first day when you can leave the house without a coat or drive around with the windows down. Of course I do; I am not a monster. But I don’t think spring is the right time to start over. It seems spring isn’t ready for me yet and all my “this time will be different” energy. I have to start over, bloom, bloom, reinvent, and I don’t even have a basic tan? Seems unrealistic. Spring comes in and it’s like “dusting your shelves, idiot. Get serious about your decisions. Be a different person!” Meanwhile, the sun was still setting around 2:45 p.m. and it was still sunny. Continuous rain Tends to your own home, spring.
I have to start over, bloom, bloom, reinvent, and I don’t even have a tan? “
How can I see a new vision for my life when my eyes are puffy from allergies? Ignore that for me. Spring wants to know why you don’t get up early like you said and go for that little jog, while every part of your respiratory system fails and you keep googling “Seriously, all of this is just is it because trees are having sex? “You become a humanoid Puritan. Go up to the ginkgo tree shouting, “Only abstain!”
Of course, autumn is not innocent either. It’s also not a perfect season. (The only perfect seasons are whenever McDonald’s brings back the Monopoly game, the times when Jennifer Lawrence has a movie to promote, and Happy Honda Days.) forever! I mean it! “; gaming temperatures, making you sweat while knitting your chunky; undulating for the apples is disgusting. But to me, autumn always seems to be a better launching pad for transitioning through a new leaf than any other season. Even if that leaf un feuille morte.
Think of the energy you bring in in the fall versus the energy you bring in in the spring. In an ideal summer, you’ve seen the people you care about, you’ve spent hours in the sun, you’ve dined under the stars. Maybe you were thrown. Something cute. Nothing lasting but no hard feelings. Maybe you will reconnect later. Who knows.
A carefree but charged “Who knows?” is the mascot of autumn. That’s exactly the energy of that old Fall TV Guide. “Would you like a show about a psychic DJ who solves cold cases using remixes? Who knows!” This is the wild, hopeful energy we’re building right now.
As a pop culture junkie and young future grandpa, the rhythm of the TV season appeals to me on an emotional level and on a bodily rhythm level. TV, like school, starts when the temperature is dropping and leaves are dying like the contestants above Legendary, invites you inside to explore and change. They then end as soon as the smell of the cut grass fills the air and the day lengthens, freeing you up for summer to recharge in the sun, like a crystal.
TV, like school, starts when the temperature is dropping and leaves are dying like the contestants above Legendary. “
For me, the most obvious sign is ABC’s announcement that the offensive sitcom stands out Abbott Elementary School—Quinta Brunson’s bright, edgy, and smart fantasy sitcom about a struggling Philadelphia public school — turns into a prestigious new night with new episodes in the fall, as God and some old network operators from the 60s intended. Finally, some order in my chaotic watch life!
I think the stinging of the old rhythms — of TV, of schools, of innovation in these gloomy seasons — is why. Abbott so caught my attention last spring. And that’s why I’m so happy to have it back in my life this fall. Abbott follows an old pattern of structure, prank frequency, and broadcast. It airs on ABC with a new episode every week. It counteracts the binge model that many shows on streaming platforms use, instead inviting viewers back weekly — at the same time, in the same place — to see the world of school set up. again and the hijinks start over. While it feels very fresh and present, it is also, in a sense, a pleasant relic. In a stressful spring, it is a balm. And now it is one of the gifts of autumn.
There are times when it feels like we’re living in a perpetual “present moment,” where the days blend together and even the seasons don’t really have a definite shape. But what I look forward to every year, what I look forward to most this year, is a perfect autumn day reminding me that the warmth is behind me, the natural world is silent in anticipation, the TV is working fine. back, and—who knows? —maybe for a small part of my life I have the energy to start over.
A version of this paper appears in the September 2022 issue of ELLE.
R. Eric Thomas is a columnist for ELLE.com, where he skews politics, pop culture, celebrity shade, and revolt. He is also the author of Here it is: Or, How to Save Your Soul in Americaan essay in a memoir.