Its obviously the best show on television, and I think we all want to live in Stuckeyville.
Everything I Need to Know About Life I Learned From Watching Ed
Channel Surfer by Bob Sassone
Also by Bob Sassone:
Chatting Up the Chatbot
It's Too Hot to Focus on Writing a Headline
Summer Survival Guide, Part 2
Summer Survival Guide
Turn Off "TV Turnoff Week"
Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Watching Ed
Diary of a Couch Potato Storm of the Century!
Diary of a Couch Potato Super Bowl Edition
Diary of a Couch Potato Holiday Edition
The Year in Television
Diary of a Couch Potato
Question: Whats the best show on television? Yeah, youre probably going to say The West Wing or maybe The Sopranos. Or if you are heavily medicated or your cable box is broken and stuck on CBS, you might say Survivor . But you are so, so wrong.
Let me introduce you to Ed Stevens. You see, Ed was a big New York City lawyer who had it all: the great salary, the pretty wife, the nice apartment and the fast track to a great career. But then he misplaced a comma in a 500-page contract and cost the firm $1.6 million. Bye bye, great job and salary. Then he went home to tell his wife, but she was sleeping with the mailman (or, as she put it, hes not the mailman, hes a mailman. He just happens to be one.). Bye bye, wife. What would you do?
Ed went back to his hometown, Stuckeyville, Ohio, to pursue the heart of the girl who hardly paid any attention to him in high school, reconnect to his roots and his best friends and get his life in order. And, oh yeah, he also bought a bowling alley.
Now why does the review of a TV show come with such an opening? Why does the review of a TV show come with a title like Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Watching Ed? Because it has struck a chord with me, and I figured Id tell you what I have learned from watching this show every Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
WHAT YOU DO IS NOT WHO YOU ARE
Maybe I should explain. For most of my life, Ive tied the type of person I am into the career Ive chosen writing. As if being a writer could excuse all of my shortcomings. Hey, I know I dont make enough money to pay the bills or go out and do anything, and I know I dont have a car, but hey, Im a writer! I have to suffer for my art. Or something like that.
One of the running jokes about Ed (played with effortless charm and skill by Tom Cavanagh) is that many people, especially rival attorneys in the courtroom, refer to Ed as the bowling alley lawyer. As Ed says, It suggests that I specialize in bowling alley-related cases. Not so. I own a bowling alley, and I am a lawyer. Two separate things.
I cant tell you how much of an eye-opener this piece of dialogue was to me, even at age 35. While Ive spent so many years writing, either freelance or on staff for several publications, Ive often had to take other jobs to pay the bills (one of the realities of wanting to have a writing career). Ive been incredibly scared of not only not finding enough writing work to pay those bills and have money for myself, but also that if I wasnt writing full-time and had to take other jobs, that people wouldnt call me a writer.
Where the hell did this thinking come from? Actually, I know where it came from. Too many how-to-write books, too much focusing on my favorite writers who did make a living just from their writing, and writing so much that I sort of lost track of how the real world operates. As if some not having some full-time title could make me less of what I am. I mean, so Im not a full-time writer. Big fucking deal. As if having a full-time or a part-time job would negate or lessen the actual writing that comes out of me. As if most writers dont have other jobs anyway.
Now, obviously, if youre a dictator or a pimp, than, yeah, what you do is probably pretty representative of who you are. But you know what I mean.
c o n t i n u e . . .