My friend Colleen posted a comment to my “Hit and Run” post of several days ago. Since I think her point is an important one, I thought it worth bringing to greater attention:
I had opened my post with an almost-apologetic nod to the fact that I watch NCIS. Colleen began her comment by saying that although she had long enjoyed watching Criminal Minds, she wondered at her attraction to the show, since she didn’t care about serial killers and found the crime drama part of the show “cheesy.”
The explanation she offered is this:
What I do love about the show, though, is the relationships. I love the characters (I still do): and wanted what they have–to be an integral, indispensible, part of the team. Being “part of the team” on that show means being celebrated for your unique gifts; having unique gifts put to use for important work; having an interesting important job that you can obsess about; and having all these great, priceless friends who really, really love you.
Perhaps my devotion to that show, and, indeed the almost universal popularity of shows with “teams,” says something about a certain longing common to many people these days–the longing to be part of a community where you are loved, cherished, and appreciated for the unique qualities that make you you. A place of joy, fun, laughter, goodness.
I think Colleen is right. What attracts us to shows like like Criminal Minds is not the gory killings. (As my husband will tell you, I close my eyes at all of those parts.) It is precisely that each member of the team has a unique gift. And if that makes the episodes a tad formulaic at times (e.g., we know that when Abby is upset that Gibbs will say or do something to make it better; when the team is stumped, Abby will always come up with something from the lab; etc), we don't really mind.
And I think Colleen is right that we all have a longing to be part of a “team”, a “longing to be part of a community where [we] are loved, cherished, and appreciated for the unique qualities that make us [who we] are.” For me, part of the value of her comment is helping us to explicitly acknowedge that longing, recognizing it for what it is.