Watching tv boxed sets is such a guilty pleasure. It’s far more guilt edged than reading fiction as reading is a noble pursuit; it’s generally educative and it expands one’s thinking and world view. TV viewing on the other hand is passive, utterly relaxing and not really requiring one to be contemplative about the world’s big issues. I do find myself when binge watching, questioning whether having just watched three hours of say The Americans, was the best use of my time. But a girlfriend of mine assuaged my guilt by stating that we must nurture ourselves before we are able to effectively nurture others. (Sounds like she’s binge watching too.)
At the Sydney Writers festival last year, Annabel Crabb described escaping to read novels as like having an affair. I venture that metaphor is more apt for watching TV: like an affair (and I’m just assuming here), it’s never going to end well – you’ll feel nauseated you devoted so much time and energy to something of so little lasting merit and the rush of adrenalin by being exposed to something so tantalising and illicit leaves you wanting more. So it got me thinking – who are the characters on TV with whom I’d consider a dangerous liaison?
I’ve always been attracted to influential men, men who are highly intelligent who at the same time can empathise, be kind to those surrounding them and not take themselves too seriously. Good looks also never go astray. So who fulfils these attributes on TV – here are my top five:
- Kit Harrington who plays Jon Snow
He quite possibly has all the qualities I could want in a man: compassion, loyalty, wisdom, a leader, not to mention gorgeous. Indeed he may be too perilous a candidate for an affair as your real life partner might not be able to compete with someone this perfect. Regrettably too he took a vow of chastity, so an affair is actually looking doubtful, however he did yield to temptation once – can he be enticed again? There’s the minor detail of him apparently being killed off in the last season but GOT has proven those hitches can be overcome.
2. James Spader who plays Raymond Reddington
Who can forget James Spader’s seminal role in Sex Lies and Videotape? Like an old lover returned from your younger, long forgotten days, he appears decades later in The Black List. Helping the FBI capture elusive criminals and terrorists (aided because he’s a master criminal himself), he’s intelligent, acerbic, funny and oh so suave. Surely you’ve wondered like I, what a previous boyfriend might be up to, how their life has turned out. Who hasn’t done a search on Facebook for a long lost lover? A dalliance with Red Reddington can allow you to relive those magical lost moments.
3. Benedict Cumberbatch who plays Sherlock
Arrogant, provocative, astute and able to find solutions that elude everyone else, he’s also a high functioning sociopath incapable of guilt or empathy. You protest – an affair with a sociopath? I’m not suggesting a long term relationship – just a bit of fun! Sherlock is your safe candidate; he’s far from perfect so you will always want to return home. He sets you a challenge – can you make him overcome his ego, his self-centeredness because he’s fallen madly for you? I do love a challenge!
4. Jeff Daniels who plays Will McAvoy
The Newsroom received a lot of criticism as did its anchor, Will McAvoy. Will was sanctimonious and rude to those he deemed ignorant and ill-informed. Those with a platform who espouse strong views will always polarise- often they’re meant to do just that. I found him passionate, articulate, and deeply loyal to those for whom he cared. He’s so crazy for Mac, leading him astray will be quite the task. I might put to him a dalliance with me might be just the thing to bring Mac home to him. Fingers crossed.
5. Martin Sheen (The President), Bradley Whitford (Josh Lyman), Rob Lowe (Sam Seaborn)
My final pick is hard, too hard in fact. It’s a three way tie but justified as they’re all from the same extraordinary show so they can count as one…anyway, didn’t you juggle a couple in your earlier years? The dialogue was so rapid there could be no multitasking while viewing. Each of them wanted to do good, to make the world a better place. They’re ambitious, self-deprecating, witty and handsome. So if you can squeeze a word in edgewise and suggest a little downtime from their manic schedules, they may be available for just enough time to indulge without becoming needy and troublesome.
The road not travelled always tends to looks greener than the one trodden down. Getting older, our imagination has a way of skirting over the irritations of past loves and illuminating all the best times. But the great thing about the imagination is that it lets you travel far without betraying the ones closest to you. So who would you choose for your affairs of the imagination?