A site for Gen-X men, by Gen-X men, about the stuff in life that really matters.
The Arrow Logo - SVG
Oh no!
It looks like you aren't logged in to the Arrow community. Log in to get the best user experience, save your favorite articles and quotes, and follow our authors.
Don't have an Online Account? 

How Your Favorite TV Shows Formed You

From Happy Days to The X-Files, the television you loved as a kid was a blueprint for your adulthood.

Animation of an old television with video stills of the television shows Happy Days, X Files, The Cosby Show, and Threes Company
Paul Spella

Television shows never really die, they merely depart the mortal world and then continue to live on inside the people who watched them. Like parasitic ghosts. 

If you are among the generations raised on TV shows, before TikTok, before YouTube, those shows you loved the most are still part of you. Consciously or not, you studied them, you identified with them, and they imprinted upon you.

Of course, different shows had different effects. The more you liked the following shows, the more they formed your identity. That’s just science.


You have a strong urge to disappear from society. You’re convinced there are sinister forces acting silently upon your world, showing up only in special effects and strained dialogue. When you die, you’ll be annoyed that so much of your life was never explained and that no one seems to care.


You buy into traditional images of cool (leather jackets, motorcycles) and have a friend whom you insist on calling “Potsie” despite his complaints about that. You apologize to people in bathrooms for “barging into your office.” Your home office is decorated like a diner bathroom. Your brother Chuck disappeared, and you are never to speak of him.


Disagreements and conflict are a natural part of any family situation. But as long as there is plenty of love and support, and you never ask any questions about what became of your second original parent, you can work anything out.


You’re an enigmatic truth-seeker, not a conspiracy-obsessed weirdo. Just keep telling yourself that.


You're funny! And caring! You embrace life wholeheartedly and mourn death with the aid of emotional monologues! You like to think of yourself as a drinker with a surgery problem instead of the other way around.


You have an enlightened and progressive view of sexuality, gender and Santa Monica, and this serves you well. The main complicating issue you sometimes run into is the outsize role your landlord plays in your life. Also, you are constantly falling off bicycles on the beach, and those injuries are starting to add up.


You often feel stranded by and stuck in your circumstances with no viable path of escaping. Creativity is your gift, but it has certain unusual limits in that you can build a radio out of coconuts but can’t seem to build a boat out of trees. When you finally do devise a perfect way to bust out of your situation, you accidentally sabotage it every time, leading you to chase yourself into a lagoon and beat yourself with a hat.


In liking things, you do the best you can with the information you have at the time you have it.


Your high school days were full of romance, drama, suspense and misadventures. Like the actors on the show, you were in your late 20s to early 30s when this “high school” period was going on. Unlike the show, no one was filming you and nothing got resolved within an hour, legally speaking. 


Possessed of a keen intellect, an inquisitive mind and a rakish charm, you really thought you could rock the mustache-and-Hawaiian-shirt look. Unfortunately, the effect was less “Tom Selleck at the peak of his powers” and more “Dennis Franz has a hangover.”


You are surrounded by murderers.


You are a murderer.


You have been murdered.

(Source imagery: Masterfile; ABC/Everett Collection; Fox Network/Everett Collection; NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Follow Article Topics: Inside-Dope