27 years ago, my life was changed forever by “The Baby-Sitters’ Club.” I was 12, and it had been nine long years since I fell in love with Little Women, two years that felt like two decades since Anne Shirley had graced my life, and three years since SVH #13: Kidnapped! taught me that life as a teenager was not going to be a bed of roses!
I’d lived in my imagination for as long as I could remember. Not that it kept me from interacting with the world at large; I’m more ambivert than intro-.
But man, can I be an introvert insofar as I love hanging out at the computer – talking to people, but not being seen. So on and so forth, to quote Vonnegut and prove that my time as an English major was not spent entirely on YA novels.
Because I spent that college time reading Television Without Pity, née Mighty Big TV.
The first time I was alerted to the presence of such a wonderful site was in 2000 – late to the game, for sure, but at that point it was pre-social media, and so I spent my time fighting and bonding with fellow “Buffy” fans over at The Bronze, Buffy.com’s early answer to conversational satiation.
“New MBTV recap up!” someone/s would post, every week. Finally, I checked it out and fell in complete, immediate love. At MBTV, there was a smarter sort, filled with knowledge, yet/therefore, focusing it all on television. The hilariously ANGRY description of Buffy’s outfit in “Buffy vs. Dracula” sealed my like for this site.
Not sure how long it took for me to edge away from The Bronze and cleave to MBTV, which became TWoP not too shortly after. But I do know that MBTV/TWoP changed my life forever.
Within the site itself, I spent countless hours GOL (guffawing out loud) at the observations from the recappers, and later at the smart people on the site’s forums.
For the first time in my life, my love of imagination collided with my love of snark, a word that I do believe was officially coined by TWoP, though I’m not positive.
From that, I found Tomato Nation, the personal site of Sars, one of TWoP’s co-founders. As I’ve said before, Ms. Bunting helped save my life at a time when I was super listless, and lacking for hope.
Years went on, and I kept falling in love with TWoP in sometimes unlikely places. When I moved back to my parents’ after the ex-husband left, I had access to a computer but not in my temporary bedroom, so I’d print out Stee’s “Newlyweds” recaps, and read them in bed, just for a bit of a laugh during a tumultuous time.
After that grief started to wane, I recouped and found a job, but the depression didn’t flee, and once a week, I’d settle in with a coffee and Jacob’s “American Idol” recaps. Every single time, I knew that no matter how shitty I felt at first, by the end I would laugh and truly learn more about life.
Not gonna lie – I didn’t like TWoP as much after Sars and Wing Chun sold it to Bravo. I didn’t blame them in the least – what an amazing thing to be able to do, create a funny site for funny people, then get a paycheck for your efforts.
Still, it broke my heart into a million pieces when I heard the site was shutting down. TWoP still had aforementioned Jacob and myriad other writers filled with brilliance. And the site still had so many individuals hotly debating the intricacies of characters, plotlines…the “Degrassi” forum will stick with me as time goes on, because it’s helpful to know at 38 that you are not alone in caring about what happens with Maya and Zig.
TWoP closed shop on April 4th – yesterday, and a day after the birthday of Stacey McGill, my favorite of the BSC as a tween.
“Why don’t you free up the space in your mind that remembers BSC members’ birthdays?” one might ask, and one would be correct. But for nearly 15 years, that’s been the exact beauty of Television Without Pity – finding people who won’t just know that April 3rd is Stacey’s birthday, but who will discuss the intricacies of everything that means.
I won’t say that were it not for TWoP, I wouldn’t be alive. But I will say that it and everyone involved with it has saved my life and always-fragile mental state via its awesomeness. IMO, the world is less rich today, for lack of this amazing site and every writer that’s kept it running all these years.
Rest in peace, TWoP. Though I haven’t given up on a Dawn-in-“Forever” spell to bring you back, if yesterday was truly your last resting place, then all I can say — such small words for everything you’ve given me — is thank you.