Ah, the walk of shame down Memory Lane.
For as good of an influence as the The Show was on me, there were times when it didn't exactly bring out my best side.
(And no, I am not talking about the time during the second season when we had to go to dinner at a family friend's house and my mother said no, I could not set the VCR, because it could burn the house down (?!), and besides, we'd be home long before The Show started ... and we weren't. You'd think the world had ended, and wow, was that an icy ride home, mid-May weather aside.)
No, I'm talking about the long, hot summer of 1996, also known as my most infamous, irrational action as far as The Show is concerned. While TDH and RS cavorted around the Midwest (Alone? Together? Your call.), their fans were left in turmoil over The Show's third-season cliffhanger. You see, this was long before spoilerfix.com, when you can find out what's going to happen on your favorite show before the cast is even finished with its table read. Nope, these were the days when you were living on a prayer that TPTB weren't going to screw with your night, your show -- and your emotions. The Show (or more accurately, The Network) had already put us through hell that winter, and as a result, the fans were understandably wary as May sweeps approached.
And lo and behold, the sky came crashing down on our beloved duo. She cried, I cried, he left, she cried more, I cried more ... it wasn't pretty. (Damn scene still makes me cry to this day.) And when the dust settled, I was pissed. Being a typical teenager, I was in the midst of an emotional upheaval as I prepared for the big show: High school.
The ensuing months had been really hard for me, and I looked to The Show for some form of stability -- and proof that people, namely my hero, could be happy. But, to my utter chagrin, the reassurances vanished as fast as RS's curves. (Hmm ... Now that you mention it ... maybe I wasn't the only one who wasn't happy ... Wait, no, that wasn't possible. Drama was reserved for teenagers such as myself, not beautiful, successful actresses who got paid to kiss TDH, and had an adoring husband waiting at home to rub their shoulders.)
So I did what any (ir)rational person would do: I went on strike.
The Show had abandoned me, so I was abandoning The Show. The tapes went into a drawer, the drawer was slammed shut, and from the day after the third-season finale aired until the day before the fourth-season premiere, me and The Show had an acrimonious split, with me playing the role of the wounded party. High-school zoning boundaries had already taken all of my friends away, and now The Show was messing with my emotions, too?
The irony was, I couldn't escape The Show. What had started out as The Little Show That Could had become a Nielsen powerhouse in its time slot, and RS and TDH were everywhere. And I mean everywhere -- from commercials (I can still remember the rug burn than I got racing -- and sliding -- into the living room when my friend hollered that RS was on TV at that moment) to talk shows to People magazine's Star Watch to movie posters to the cover of TV Guide. (And back then, that was a big deal.)
And even though I was beyond furious with The Show, I couldn't help but be proud of what it had become, and how it was influencing my life.
And all too soon, summer -- and my strike -- was over. The Show's fourth season was starting, and order had been restored to my universe. High school was going to be just as awesome for me as it had been for RS's alter-ego. Hell, she wrote the episode herself! I needed no further proof that anyone who wanted to be just like her was going to lead a blessed life, and like The Show, I would become an invincible force.
Or so I thought ...