Sometimes, when I’m thinking about how best to describe a show, or my relationship to a show, or my feelings about a show, I find it easiest to think of the show as being a person. I’m aware this makes me sound like a crazy person who has relationships with television instead of actual people, which is probably true but not actually the point. The actual point is that when you’re thinking about a show as a body of work, it is best to personify it. For example, if were talking about Parks and Recreation, I could attempt to describe all the detailed plot nuances and delights and why you watch it, or I could explain that the show is your class president over-achiever best friend. You know the one. The one who always organizes every party with amazing baked goods. And they kind of make you feel bad because you’re the kind of person who signs up to bring napkins knowing that you’re going to forget to bring anything, and napkins are okay to forget because either everyone will use paper towels (or, more likely, your friend will remember them and tell you not to worry about it), and have you tried the cream cheese brownies? And you will love this friend, because this friend loves you even though you are a slacker douche and that friend is so perky and awesome and with it. And that is Parks and Recreation. Didn’t I just make the show ten times clearer? I thought so.
I was reminded of this technique while I was wrangling with how, exactly, to explain the season 2 premiere of Hawaii Five-0 in a cohesive manner and coming up empty. It was just so big. And so much happened in so many directions. I could easily write a column on about five different things and still feel dissatisfied with the result because I had left out something really, really important. And then I thought about Parks and Recreation, and my tendency to anthropomorphize everything, including television shows, and then it hit me — Hawaii Five-0 is another friend everyone knows and has had before: the friend who tries too damn hard.