Being Noah Tesfaye #24: Living in Shondaland

You know when you pretended to be that cool teenager who watched primetime shows on TV, but actually just recorded them to watch it on Saturday mornings? That was me. I remember back in the summer of 2014 when I saw a commercial for a show that was about a group of kids who got into some trouble and I did not know what it looked to be, but it sounded amazing. I mean, the title had a ring to it: How to Get Away with Murder. Catchy, isn’t it? I watched the premiere of the show on September 27th, 2014, two days, of course, after it aired. And I haven’t missed a single episode yet.

About two winters ago, one of my friends told me to watch an interesting show about some doctors. At first, I thought the show was stupid. I thought to myself, “Who the hell would watch a drama show about doctors and their bizarre relationships as residents in a hospital?” But, that February break, I gave the show a chance. So I plopped on my couch that first Friday of break and opened Netflix. And I watched all of seasons one through nine of Grey’s Anatomy in one week. And caught up to the season finale of the current season at the time by April.

I became obsessed. These two shows were amazing to me because I had never watched a show in my life that depicted characters with more nuance and stronger emotions. Granted, I had yet to watch other shows at the time, but for some reason, these shows meant so much to me growing up and still do today. So with this connection, I began to research about who could have made these shows and created something that truly changed my life. So I was finally introduced to Shonda Rhimes.

The first major African American female lead on network television in decades. The first openly gay doctors, a second powerful African American female lead, and more. What Shonda Rhimes was able to do with her opportunity at ABC was to share the stories of people who may have never been real, but were able to showcase how different types of people can thrive in America.

I’m writing this post with nearly five days left to the final episode of perhaps the most important show in Shondaland’s catalogue, Scandal, which almost nearly predicted lunatics winning the presidential election and election fraud. Is it a bit salacious? Sure. Is it overdramatized? Absolutely. But it was a show and is a show that I appreciate for its originality. I love Shonda’s originality and her personality is driven through the narratives of the main characters. She made television cool for having all types of people in roles of power.

I’m watching the second to last episode right now and I still cannot believe how much this show and her shows have changed my passion for politics and pursuing law. It gave me the slight interest in looking at politics, which led me to finding constitutional law and political theory. So thank you Shonda for everything. Maybe I can become a real life gladiator one day too.

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