Pop Culture Makes Me Jealous…I Know I’m Not the Only One

By Julia M. Washington

The way we interact with Pop Culture has changed and sometimes I wonder if it has created more space for us to feel lonely and isolated. Some of you may remember a time where we gathered around the television and watched the Thursday Night Lineup on NBC or TGIF on Fridays and the next day we talked about these shows like they were the national must experience  event.

Now with streaming services that regularly increase their costs, the national conversation has shifted into smaller micro-talks wherein a select few can participate.

Remember the episode of This Is Us where Jack accidentally records over the Dallas episode with a sports game? And Rebecca is distraught for so many reasons, one of which being now, at work, she will be the only one who won’t know who shot JR. She spent days avoiding office chatter so she could sit and enjoy the show and eventually participate in the conversation.

In our streaming world today, there is far more diversity and options in what airs, but nothing truly being the mass gathering event that Network television once did. I often find myself having been the only person who watched a certain show on Netflix because it didn’t come up for anyone else in my social circle as a recommendation. 

With the streaming services pumping more and more energy into original content, these micro-talks are becoming part of the norm. Everyone who bore witness to The Crown, gather to the left so we can dissect what Charles was feeling as a young man in Season 3. Everyone who couldn’t get enough of Lovecraft Country and is devastated it won’t be back for Season 2 head right so we can mourn the loss of this brilliant show together. Ted Lasso fans? Raise your hand you lonely Apple Plus subscribers who only joined because of the free access when you purchased your new iPhone, and step to the back of the room and discuss why Roy Kent is just the best.Haven’t seen any of the aforementioned because you don’t subscribe to HBO, Netflix, or Apple Plus, too bad, you don’t get to participate in any of these group projects. 

Remember when we all gathered around for the season finale of Friends or MASH, The Cosby Show, or Cheers. Remember when we all watched Denise decide she was going to Hillman and how proud Russell was that his granddaughter was following in his footsteps?

While I do miss the camaraderie that used to come with watching television on a national scale that network tv provides, I do oh so love how streaming is striving to create space for the many narratives and intersections that exist within being human.

Pop Culture and more specifically here television can  give us language we didn’t know we needed, especially when we’re living in the margins and in my discussion with Megan Morgan on her podcast MYA – My Yoga Audio, we dive into what motivated me to launch Pop Culture Makes Me Jealous as a podcast and how my time with Future Thought Leader informed my decisions for season 2 of my podcast and creating space so we feel less lonely. 

I love Pop Culture. I love dissecting it. I love getting into the feels about it. I love it when television shows and films are so beautifully crafted you discover a new part of yourself. 

Listen to the full interview here: MYA – My Yoga Audio – On Being Mixed & Pop Culture with Julia Washington

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