As an avid History Channel watcher, I would never deny the power of educational programming. We can learn about important world events, rare species of animals, political platforms and even happenings from other planets beyond our own just from tuning into the right television stations.
That is not to say that documentaries and news programs are the only television shows capable of teaching us a little something about the human condition and the world we have lived in or the world we currently inhabit.
We can learn a lot about friendships, and even ourselves from the characters we have grown to love and the shows we love (or should be) binge-watching.
A Positive Attitude Makes All the Difference from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015-present)
As millennials looking around at the world we have inherited — a crippled economy, a rough housing market, political upheaval and widespread violence — we may be overwhelmed by sensations of panic and distrust.
Kimmy is a woman who has lived her life for more than a decade as part of a bizarre cult before she is finally rescued. Instead of wallowing in her trauma, Kimmy escapes to the Big Apple and adjusts to her newfound freedom with childlike wonder and amazement. She brings joy and oddity to the lives of the family she works as a nanny for, her struggling-actor roommate and her new friends. Kimmy takes a horrible circumstance and turns it into a brand new life for herself.
Every Person You Meet Has Potential to Change Your Life from How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014)
As young people, we are only just beginning to realize the impact our relationships with our co-workers, friends, family and of course romantic interests have on our lives. How I Met Your Mother is a show that proves every decision we make, every hand we shake, every date we embark on brings us a step closer to where we are meant to be.
Ted Mosby struggles throughout the series to find true love, spending hours confiding in his best friends in their favorite bar and pining over women he believes to be his soulmate. Narrated by an older, wiser Ted, he relays the story of how he finally found the woman he would marry to his two teenaged children. The truth is, you never know who will become important to you and what you can learn from spending time with them.
Embrace Change from Everwood (2002-2006)
Our generation has always celebrated technological advances, social growth and scientific discoveries. We are the generation that changed the internet forever and seeks to change the world through it. But on a personal level, change can sometimes be difficult. Millennials are deciding where to spend the rest of the working lives, moving out on their own and finding love and sharing that with their partners. Millennials are finding themselves and enjoying being single and saving money by staying at home a few years longer than their parents.
Change is happening all around us and it is whether or not we run from it our decide to let it turn our lives into something unexpectedly wonderful that makes the difference. For a big city brain surgeon and his two children, moving from New York to the small mountain town of Everwood, Colorado — following the sudden death of his wife and their mother, respectively — seems insane. The picturesque town with its conservative values is precisely the change that is needed to bring father and son closer together, and bring closure to a grieving family. Just as in this family drama, we must give the opportunities we are provided a chance to shape us.
Life is Often Our Best Teacher from Boy Meets World (1993-2000)
Corey Mathews is just your average kid — he makes average grades in school, lives in a nice home, has a mischievous best friend and lives next door to his teacher and later principal and eventually college professor. While Mr. Feeny is a well-respected educator, the lessons Corey learns in the classroom pale in comparison to the real world education he receives from his teachers, family and friends.
He learns about falling in love and heartache, about saving a friend from themselves and supporting them during the processes of grief and change. Millennials are learning new things every day — about living on their own and the responsibilities that come with a career and venturing into the world of dating, marriage, parenting or singledom. You simply cannot put a price on the school of life, and you don’t even have to take out a loan for it!
Childhood Nostalgia Should Be Cherished from The Wonder Years (1988-1993)
Now that we millennials are real, living, breathing adults, it is only natural for us to look back on the years that have passed and smile… or cringe. We remember the clothes we wore and the adventurous hair cuts we tried, the music we blasted from our CD players and the television programs we stayed in to watch. But of course we are not the first generation to do so.
The Wonder Years is a series dedicated to the fond memories of an adolescence lived in the 1960s. Full of music from that era and warm narration from adult-Kevin, the television classic discusses the effects of important world events (for the time period, JFK’s assassination and the Vietnam War) and the importance of family. Although the freedom to rent a car, drink alcohol, vote and buy property is an amazing privilege, why shouldn’t we occasionally long for the days when all we had to worry about was whether or not we would be home in time to watch TGIF programming?