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Judge not, lest ye not be judged (except when it comes to TV)

Cassie Belek | Wednesday, October 17, 2007

There’s no question I dread more in the world than, “So what kind of music do you like?”

That single question takes away any hope I have of looking “hip” or “down with it.” My answers are inevitably the Spice Girls, Mariah Carey and Broadway show tunes. After a brief, awkward pause filled with judgment, I add, “You know, I like the Beatles too. And Kanye.” Everyone likes Kanye.

I even got my own WVFI show sophomore year with the hope that I could diversify my musical tastes and be able to ramble off all the super hip and super unknown indie bands I listened to. Instead, I relied on my co-host to choose the proper underground music, while I played a show tune of the week and talked about Britney Spears. We did re-enact scenes from “Walker, Texas Ranger” and “The O.C.” one time. Our five listeners enjoyed it.

But even though I hate being judged on my love for Christina Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson, I have a nasty habit of judging others on the television shows they watch. Just like some believe that musical tastes reveal everything about a person’s personality, I believe that television tastes tell me whether we’re going to be best friends, or whether you’re going to be that person I sometimes say “hi” to on the quad.

For example, if you tell me that you don’t have a lot of time for TV so the only shows you watch are “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Desperate Housewives,” we’re probably not going to be “besties” off the bat. I’ll admit that I don’t watch these series myself. I try to watch “Grey’s” occasionally, but Meredith is too much of a floozy and I’m still freaked out by Izzie going all crazy during that whole Denny storyline.

So when Miss North Face 2007 tells me that she only watches “Grey’s” and “Desperate,” my heart breaks and a single tear runs down my cheek.

“She doesn’t know what she’s missing,” I say to myself, and I leave her in peace as she picks up her hot pink iPod and goes for a run around the lake.

But then there are those people who fill my soul with joy when they tell me their favorite show is “Arrested Development.” We’re instant friends, and we talk about “Bob Loblaw” this and “Mrs. Featherbottom” that. Or if you tell me you absolutely love “The Office.” Bonus points if it’s the BBC version, and double bonus points if you know all the words to “Free Love on the Free Love Freeway.”

Then again, everyone watches NBC’s “The Office” now (except for those unfortunate people who choose to watch “Grey’s” during that time slot), so my new test of instant friendship has expanded to shows such as “30 Rock” or “Friday Night Lights.”

Maybe I have a special place in my heart for those underdog shows that flirt with cancellation year in and year out. Everyone can quote from “The Office,” but not everyone can sing along to Tracy Jordan’s “Halloween Bar Mitzvah” on “30 Rock” with me.

Impress the heck out of me, future friends.

But even if our television tastes don’t line up right away, I can still become friends with someone who watches “Private Practice.” It just means we can’t have meaningless hour-long conversations about “Ugly Betty” and “How I Met Your Mother.” Once I’m done judging you, I’ll be able to move on and see the real you.

At least meet me halfway, though. If you watch even one episode of “Freaks and Geeks,” I’ll probably fall in love with you.

Or we can just put in a Spice Girls album and have a dance party.

The views expressed in Scene and Heard are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Cassie Belek at cbelek@nd.edu