Rewatch and Reboot

Smiling, brown-haired guy (Joe) sits with his face partially obscured by white dog (Chase) in his lap

By: Joe Wolgast, Aquatics Coordinator


Are you still watching "The Office (U.S.)"?


Yes, Netflix, I am! Now please let me continue to enjoy my shows in peace as I attempt to distract myself from the craziness ensuing throughout the world.


As an introvert, one of my favorite activities involves a quiet night to myself. Well, not entirely by myself; I usually have my dog, Chase lying by my side to keep me company as I recharge my "social battery."


Before COVID-19 forced all of us to distance ourselves from one another socially, these quiet nights to myself (and Chase) often occurred during the weekend. After a long week of managing the aquatics department, taking night grad school classes, and finding time to exercise daily, I cherished the downtimes that would come my way by week's end. I viewed these quiet, relaxing moments as a reward to myself for all that I accomplished throughout a busy week, full of many human interactions.


I would begin these much anticipated nights by throwing on a pair of comfy sweats and allowing Chase to pick what part of the couch we should sit on during our night of isolation from the outside world. Then, I would sit back and travel to Scranton, Pennsylvania, or Pawnee, Indiana, and see what storylines the fictional characters living in these areas are getting into tonight. For those who may not know, Scranton is where the television show The Office takes place, and Pawnee is the hometown for the show Parks and Recreation. My once quiet weekend nights would involve catching up on or, in most cases, rewatching my favorite shows.


These two shows in particular, along with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl, and Boy Meets World, are the shows I often find myself returning to even after the first hundred or so times of watching them. It’s not only because they’re all masterpieces, in my not-so expert opinion, but also because they always provide me with some much needed distraction and a good laugh.


Yes, Michael Scott can be awkward at times, and Leslie Knope's relentlessly cheery attitude can get annoying, but in the best possible way! I agree that New Girl is a bit of a knock-off of Friends, and that Brooklyn Nine-Nine is just another workplace sitcom (i.e., The Office, Parks and Rec). I am also aware that Boy Meets World is now an old 90s TV show, and a lot my lifeguards have probably never even heard of it.


But the beauty of TV shows?


It’s that no matter what is going on throughout the real world, or the ups and downs you may be going through personally, the characters that you invest many hours into binging will always be there for you to comfort you.


Throughout quarantining, my quiet nights to myself (and Chase) are no longer taking place just on weekends, but rather every night during the week. No longer am I socially distancing myself from others to recharge, but to support the efforts in rehabilitating the world, as we know it.


However, my quiet nights are not as satisfying as they once were. I no longer sit back and relax, but rather sit up and reflect. I reflect on all that I miss - from the face-to-face conversations with coworkers and lifeguards, to the fun nights being around friends. I think about the gym and going on hikes without wearing a facemask. I wonder how many home runs Bryce Harper would have right now and if the Flyers would have made a run to the Stanley Cup finals. I get down thinking about all of these thoughts. The current state of the world makes me sad. The uncertainty of the future gets me anxious.


But when I get all of these pessimistic feelings during my (revised) nights to myself, I know I can turn to my trusted TV shows to lift my spirits back up. In a matter clicks, I can get a life lesson from Mr. Feeny (Boy Meets World), watch Jim prank Dwight (The Office) or sing along to Andy Dwyer's classic, "5,000 Candles in the Wind" (Parks and Recreation) to distract me from all the bleakness. 


Now more than ever, I am relying on my shows and the characters I adore to help me through these times. Yes, I know all of the plotlines to these shows and how each of them ends. In my opinion, knowing when the funny episodes take place during these shows is meaningful, especially right now, as I find myself needing a pick-me-up more than usual.  


Maybe I should hope for a reboot of these shows so that they can provide me (and Chase) with something new to watch when my regular, relaxing weekend nights return. But truthfully, the only reboot I am clamoring for is the reboot of normal life for us all.


I hope that it is soon.