I work full-time and have a toddler who sticks to me like spandex.
But, every night, after I've tucked him in and cleaned the house, my husband and I curl up on the couch and settle in for two hours of television. It's a glorious time free of toys, laptops and smartphones. I prep for it like I'm going on a date. But not a date with my husband -- a date with my shows.
Between the barrage of new fall shows and the return of old favorites, breakups are imminent. I'll have to end my relationship with some shows to make room for others. Do I take a chance on a drama's buzz? Is a stellar pilot enough to merit a swap? What if the show fizzles? Will a former show take me back?
For strength, I look back to my breakup with ABC's "Lost." I severed the cord sometime in Season 4, back when John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) located the wheel by which he could steer the island. Really? I have no regrets. I feel the same way about leaving the "The Office." Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) was unbearably awkward, and not in a funny, Louis C.K. way.
Another trigger -- this time, excessive violence -- is ending my current fling with FX's "Sons of Anarchy." Until recently, I watched it for Charlie Hunnam's biceps and Ron Perlman's evil Clay Morrow. But I refuse to watch children being tortured. In this month's Season 5 opener, when a gangster set fire to Tig's (Kim Coates) daughter in front of him, I was done. Sorry, Jacks. It's over.
That should open up
Naturally, the mom in me can't get enough of "Up All Night," which returned to NBC two weeks ago after a strong first season and first year of parenthood for Reagan and Chris Brinkley (Christina Applegate and Will Arnett). Truth is, our kids are the same age. I love watching baby Amy's progress and will rely on Maya Rudolph's shenanigans to pull me through potty training. This play date's a keeper.
We all need an escape, and up until this month mine was the campy drama "Revenge." I used to hold my breath each time Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) got one step closer to avenging her father's untimely death. But because they seemingly killed off her ice queen nemesis, Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe), at the end of Season 1, who knows if the show, which returns to ABC tonight, will keep me hooked?
If it doesn't, I'll have to get my dose of back-stabbing on "Nashville," an ABC drama set to country music. Connie Britton plays Rayna James, a country legend who is forced to tour with teen sensation Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) in order to save her career. Can you imagine the clothes? How big will their hair be? Will the actresses sing their own music? Unfortunately, I have to wait until Oct. 10 to find out.
One thing's for sure: I better not get attached. When "American Idol" returns Jan. 19 for its 12th season, it's possible that even the most calculated courtship will cease in order to clear the way for the next Phillip Phillips.
Now that's a relationship I will never forget.