Women on the Fringe of a Nervous Breakdown

A few years ago, a co-worker recommended the TV show Fringe. She said that since I liked Lost, I’d like this new show also created by J.J. Abrams. She even filled me in on some interesting plotlines about parallel universes and someone stealing a boy from one world to make up for his own dead son…wow, sounded interesting, but I limit myself to one or two shows a season…I can never remember when they are on otherwise and I end up missing crucial moments. That’s probably why I love DVD’s so much.

My family has gone through untold episodes over the last six or seven years of shows like Perry Mason, Columbo, Monk, Remington Steele,  Moonlighting, Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Miss Marple series’, and other similar shows. My kids and I also like science fiction shows and have watched Earth 2, Life on Mars, V, and others. So, this past summer when I saw the first two seasons of Fringe for only $15 each, I snatched them up. After my son had gone off to college, my daughters and I decided to watch them.

Season one was very gruesome and CSI-like. My younger daughter first resorted to hiding behind her hands, at which point I told her she should leave the room since the content was too mature for her. She wouldn’t budge and the next night she “watched” from underneath a blanket. Again I told her that she shouldn’t watch since it might give her nightmares; she claims never to have nightmares, wiping that excuse out. Eventually, though she “lost interest” and just my older daughter and I continued with the series, usually later in the evening or when my youngest was not home. The season concluded with only a hint of things to come and just the start of an inkling that all the odd “Fringe” events were somehow connected.

Season two is the one that got us hooked. We watched as the plot developed to match the character development. We couldn’t wait for a free evening to “catch up” on Fringe. Meanwhile, we knew that Season Four was airing and it drove us nuts to miss it, but we wanted to watch the show in order. Pretty soon we neared the end of the season. I had put off buying Season Three due to the cost, but the day after we finished off Season Two, I realized I had a coupon for 40% off of a DVD set, plus I get 10% off at the same store through a membership. I went out at lunch and procured the prized set! My daughter was thrilled when I showed it to her that evening and soon we were off on another jag of Fringe watching.

By this time, it was Thanksgiving week and we had more time on our hands (i.e. she had less homework), so we did a marathon weekend and finished off the season. By then we were crazed! We HAD to watch the fourth season! We could NOT miss an episode! We could NOT wait until re-runs in February! We were WOMEN ON THE FRINGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN!

We looked on Hulu only to discover that several episodes were already taken down. I told my daughter that if we could get the new Blu-Ray player to connect with our Wi-Fi I would get the one-week trial to Hulu+ so that we could watch on the TV. We spent two frustrating days trying to get things to work, to no avail. We got the Blu-Ray to talk to the router…but it would time-out each time we tried to get to the internet. Then we tried to hook up a computer to the TV (we wanted to watch together, not separately on our computers). We didn’t have the right cord.

Then my younger daughter said we should just buy the episodes from On Demand…we didn’t need a wireless hook-up for that since it comes right through the cable. Brilliant! We discovered that the episodes were free. Fabulous! But they only had the last three…missing the first five. Back to being disappointed.

Well, we gave up temporarily as my daughter had lots of homework and I came down with a sinus infection and didn’t have the energy to figure things out for a while. But, then one day, I bought a VGA cord while out Christmas shopping. We waited until school ended for the semester and hooked up my daughter’s school laptop to the TV with the VGA cord and her iPod audio line. I signed up for the trial membership of Hulu+ only to find that it offered the exact same episodes as the free Hulu! We contemplated starting with episode 3, but no, we couldn’t do it. So, my daughter signed into iTunes and we bought those first two episodes…only to find that it was going to take anywhere from 5 to 50 hours to download them!

We did it, though, downloaded the first two shows and watched them. We were able to watch all the rest of the episodes for free and now we are ready…too ready! The next show doesn’t air until January 13th! Oh well, we had a lot of fun obsessing together and enjoying the shows together. Now we can just anticipate together as well!

Find the Joy in the Journey, especially with your children, no matter what quirky path it takes you down. And, a nod to Pedro Almodóvar for my title.

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