A love letter to television

This article first appeared on Medium on March 29, 2018. 

Dear tv,

Thank you for the joy you bring me.
Growing up as a poor, only child of a single mother in the south of Italy, I had you as my best companion, preferred hobby and close friend. I figured if it wasn’t for you bringing me all the way to Italy images of happy, wealthy and gorgeous American people, I wouldn’t be in America either. I decided to write you a thank you letter even if I’m pretty sure you won’t reply but hey, biggest loves are always unreturned after all.


Thank you for the ‘80s movies, the sitcoms and for introducing me to the only funny Republican in history, Alex P. Keaton.
I thank you a lot for SNL, Kate McKinnon, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer, all the funny Amys on TV, and for John Oliver, even if he bashes any country other than his – and his country did the most moronic thing of all, Brexit, so there’s a lot to bash it for, right there. But I love him anyways, verbal diarrhea and all.
Thank you for Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, Van Jones and a special thank you for Stephen Colbert on that night back in November 2016, when things stopped making sense altogether and his silences were the only thing that did actually make sense. I could hear his pain even while I was throwing up in my bathroom.
Thank you for Bill Maher, because he’s a history major who makes the right arguments when interviews his guests – and people who criticize him should just get a life because we have way bigger issues to worry about.

My dear TV, I thank you for HGTV and the Property Brothers, and I forgive you for the Kardashians. I can’t forgive you for Honey Boo Boo though, and for making fun of a child, but we have all collectively moved on from that and even her mom now looks great and lost a ton of weight so it’s all good, right?

I thank you for all the movies that meant so much to me – but maybe that’s cinema that I should thank in that case – and for Oscar nights who remind us that dreaming is never a waste of time, unless you don’t win anything.

A huge thank you for Sex and the City, a true revelation in times when unmarried women in their thirties were considered losers. Can you believe we were still there in 1998? (And for that matter, I was always a Miranda. Spending all my money on shoes and not having a real job would just give me severe anxiety).

Since we are talking about cable TV, thank you for Tony Soprano, the first 3 seasons of Homeland (not worth watching after they killed Brody), The Young Pope, Insecure, the lovely Smilf and the most badass, the strongest female character of the last 10 years, Fiona Gallagher – Queen of South Chicago in Shameless, because she’s a true survivor in an age of paleo, gluten free Instagram idiots.

Not sure what kind of fortunate series of events allowed you to give me Atlanta but I bless the day that show got picked up by FX. We are all smarter just for watching it. How many things can you say the same about?
Thank you for international channels too, especially BBC America. If you are not watching Graham Norton you’re missing out big time. That is what funny used to sound like before we all got worried about anything sounding racist/sexist/remotely mean and removed the fun from all things currently said on television.

I hope all this doesn’t sound pretentious or blindly foolish, especially because there are yet so many things I don’t like about you. I’m still trying to figure out how many Real Housewives shows are out there and even if I did that I still would think they are, at best, really boring if not harmful to human intelligence. I also profoundly dislike the fact that you don’t seem to be able to represent immigrants outside of silly ethnic-related characterizations – but I know you’ll get there. Life doesn’t really solve its problems by the end of the episode, like it happens on TV, but it’s not hopeless either. Television has always moved faster than reality, so I have great expectations you’ll keep doing so for many years to come.

With love,
Your biggest fan – Ilaria

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