Saturday, June 28, 2008

My Husband's Secret Pop Culture Life

I don't know how it happened. We've been married for over 15 years, been together as a couple for more than 20. But somehow, my husband has developed a secret life that I never knew about.

I discovered this while perusing through a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly, one of my favorite magazines that I revere for its smart, clever take on film, television and books. The editors had compiled lists of what they called the "New Classics," films, TV shows, music and books that have been released in the last 25 years that the editors believed made in impact on American popular culture. (Yo editors, no Alias? Have you taken leave of your senses? But I digress. . .)

Convinced I'd crush him with my affection and knowledge of TV and movies, I decided to read the lists aloud to see who'd seen more shows and movies. (I didn't bother tabulating the book list because my husband doesn't read books. Not that he can't of course, but I don't think he's even gotten through my book yet. It came out last year.)

My bubble was burst as I was going through the film list and he said he'd seen several movies I hadn't, movies that came out after we'd been together, like Dazed and Confused and Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.
"When did you see those? I never saw them," I asked.

"I don't know," he replied, "maybe you were asleep and I was just flipping through the TV stations late at night."

By the time I got to the end of the list, I found that I'd seen 54 of the top 100 "new classic" films, and he'd seen 60 of them. This did not bode well. However I didn't start to become truly troubled until we got to the TV list. Here, he kicked my butt, seeing 87 of the 100 TV shows to my 61. ("Am I too picky? Too snotty in my viewing habits?" I thought as he racked up the numbers and I had a crisis of TV watching confidence.) Among the shows I never knew he watched was Baywatch, number 50 on the list. He didn't directly admit to watching it but got a you-know-what-eating-grin across his face when I said, "Please don't tell me you watched Baywatch."

Among the other shockers, he'd seen Saved by the Bell, Jackass, Felicity and Xena: Warrior Princess. "How could I not have known that you've seen all these things?" I said incredulously. Maybe it's that I just talk and overtly analyze what I watch more than he does so he knows what I've seen but I don't know what he's seen because he's pretty quiet about it. But for a guy who doesn't seem to care much about discussions about pop culture -- with the exception of Lost which we watch together and dissect at length -- his tally of 87 shows stunned me.

Next thing you know, he'll be telling me he watches The Real Housewives of Orange County long after I've fallen asleep after watching a Lost DVD hunting for more clues. My husband, apparently, has a secret pop culture life.

Image credit: Entertainment Weekly.

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