About two years ago, I came home at 4 in the morning from a long night of work and turned on the television to help me get to sleep. An hour and a half later, I had just finished watching the third episode in a row of a previously unheard-of sitcom called Black Books, and was aching for more, my eyes pasted-open and dry. I turned off the television, and within 30 seconds I was asleep. When I woke up a couple hours later, I searched the TiVo for the words "Black" and "Books" and came up empty. No such show airing on any channel.
Had I imagined it? It seemed rather elaborate for a dream. And I wasn't clever enough, even in my subconscious, to come up with jokes that funny and well-conceived. I told the jokes to my friends. I described the show. "There's this real misanthropic guy, and he owns a bookstore, and he smokes and drinks a lot and acts like a curmudgeon and has this really crazy sort of bum working for him in the shop, but I don't know what the crazy guy actually does there, and he has a female friend who stops by all the time and in this one episode she thinks the walls are closing in on her, but they really are you see, and . . ." The description had no effect. They'd never heard of the show. Perhaps my TiVo was Gaslighting me.* Still, I had faith. That night I entered "Black Books" in my TiVo as a wish list.
Years passed. I looked back nostalgically at that sleep-deprived, addled hour and a half and wondered if Black Books had really been that funny after all. Perhaps I had been so tired that anything would have seemed funny.
Well, three weeks ago, my TiVo came through. BBC America just started running the show, and new epsiodes are streaming in weekly. (Well, not new, exactly, but new to me.) Now I can say with confidence (having slept amply) that this is a damn funny show. I know now, through the wonder of Internet research, that it has received decidedly mixed reviews from American audiences, but there's something about it that routinely makes me laugh out loud several times per episode. And I don't usually even like sitcoms. Either I'm out of touch or this is seriously funny stuff. I make no warrantees about which it might be.
Aaaah, sweet, sweet television. The opiate of the Ellinor.
I wanted to draw some elaborate moral out of this story, about patience or about trusting your instincts, or something, but the real moral is just to give this show a try if you have access to it.
*note: There are no rubies hidden in my house and even if there were, my TiVo would never try to make me think I was insane just to get at the rubies. First of all, my TiVo can't move, much less carry rubies. Second of all, my TiVo loves me and would never betray me like that.