Last fall my sister moved in with us for a few weeks until her studio apartment was ready. She was broke, homeless, and slightly depressed (because how can you be broke and homeless without some depression?). We cooked gluten-free meals so she could eat, tiptoed around her lying on the couch in the mornings so she could sleep, and fronted her cash so she could live a somewhat normal life.
In return we (well, I) got Criminal Minds. And it was so worth it. In the beginning I was a little (okay, a lot) annoyed that she'd be up until three in the morning watching back-to-back episodes and that every time the tv was left unmanned, she'd dive into an episode and not come up for air for two hours. And then one day I didn't have a looming deadline and the kids were still at school and it was nasty out, so I watched. Really watched.
And I've been hooked ever since. I haven't seen seasons in order and the episodes skip back and forth across time and I'm not watching the current season just yet. But I feel a rush of pleasure when Gideon pops up in an episode and a resigned sigh when it's just Rossi. I cried a little bit during one episode when Gideon had a heart-to-heart with Reid that ended, "I'm proud of you." I was angry right along with Hotchner's wife when he put his job before his family time and again. My inner child always dreamed of growing up to be Prentiss. I roll my eyes when Garcia answers the phone with yet another self-serving and narcissistic one-liner.
I just love this show. I can watch it all day long and have to pry my eyes away from the screen if I hope to get anything accomplished (like, you know, living). I realized I have a problem when Javi came in from school one afternoon while I was watching an episode and said, "Oh, sweet! I love Criminal Minds! Can you put this on my list?" (Yes, the nine year old has his own list of DVRed shows.)
I'm not totally ashamed of my obsession, though, because I have learned valuable pieces of information. For instance, I know a telephone repair person could peer into my house from the top of a light pole and then kill me. Or that my grief counselor could decide to put my out of my misery by killing me. Or that the frustrated doctor at our local hospital could have a hero complex and want to save people but has to shoot them first, only he could kill me. Everything I've learned ends in a killing -- but I've learned it!
You see the problem? Everyone's an un sub (unidentified subject) and I'm by no means a profiler. That makes everyone suspect. I'm walking around the neighborhood with the kids and a man opens his door and then closes it again. Un sub! The guy behind me in line at the grocery store has shifty eyes. Un sub! The librarian seems a little more erratic and snippy than usual. Un sub!
I can't say there aren't drawbacks, but I also can't say that I'm walking around bracing for an attack. I feel slightly thrilled and on the attack. Like maybe I'll spot (and therefore avoid) the un sub, thanks to the school of Criminal Minds. It's sort of how I spent most of the time when I lived in Houston memorizing license plates and noting out-of-the-ordinary vehicles just in case they turned up on the evening news. Crimestoppers has nothing on me!
So if you need me, don't be surprised if it takes me a minute to remember my world is safe and easy. And if you come to visit, be prepared to spend some quality time with some of the smartest writing on tv. (Or convince me to get out of the house. Obviously, I need it. It's been a cold, cold winter.)