Connecting the Disconnected (or “Am I in love with DJ Tanner?”)

fullhouseWhen John Stamos broke the news over Twitter, there was much rejoicing.

Yes, Danny Tanner was back in the family and Netflix?s Fuller House keeps on getting more familiar?

Strangely, they?re not alone either. In recent years, there seems to be a ton of interest over the increasing number of classic shows as they find new life. Like Fuller House, networks are scrambling to reach out to long time fans of retired series, hoping to regain the magic and popularity. For instance, series like Girl Meets World, Dallas, Melrose Place, and 90120 have recently found new life by building on the nostalgia of their audience. Add to that list such returning projects such as The X-Files, The Muppet Show, Heroes: Reborn, and even Coach, and you?ve got a full-on epidemic. (If they reboot Alf, I?m outta here? Wait, no. I loved that show.)

What?s more, it?s not as though these projects are simply adaptations of another property. Rather, these series are continuations of projects that were cancelled long ago. Fuller House, Coach, and Girl Meets World all follow the lives of the original cast members years in the future, usually as they deal with their own kids.

The question is why?

The obvious answer for this is a lack of creativity of studios and, yes, laziness. After all, if this is truly the ?Golden Age of Television? as they say, shouldn?t we see more original projects? In truth, the answer is simple.

We crave them.

90210 NewStudios generally don?t invest in projects if they don?t think that there will be a response from the public. Studios have realized that, for some reason, a solid portion of the fans still remains interested in these characters and their exploits.

For some reason, even though these characters aren?t real, we care. And the studios know it.

In reality, the relationship that can grow between character and viewer that is created is a strange one. Whether it?s Keeping Up with the Kardashians or The Big Bang Theory, the longer we watch a show the more connected we feel with them. In many ways, they can begin to feel like a part of our family or vice versa. This taps into the very real part of our created selves that yearns for community.

Seriously, it?s built in.

Just looking at Scripture, we see that, as God created Adam and Eve; he didn?t just set up a ?marital relationship?, he established community. (After all, doesn?t he say that it isn?t ?good for man to be alone??) From there, God continues to put a heavy emphasis on community by establishing a Kingdom in his name and a Body through Jesus Christ as well. (Heck, one of the first things Jesus does is grab twelve guys to follow him?) Even God himself exists in holistic Trinitarian community as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Truly, Scripture emphasizes the idea of ?life together?.

And this is where long-term relationships with our televisions fail us.

While we thrill at the journey with these characters over the years?after all, we are definitely also looking for our place in the larger story of life?we find ourselves in a relationship that is only one-way. While we feel connected to the ongoing saga of Uncle Jesse and Auntie Becky, we?re not really connecting with anyone. What might feel like ?life together? is really a life of isolation, emphasizing consumption instead of brokenness.

Don?t get me wrong. I?m interested in Fuller House and most of these other shows as well. I?ll even likely binge them. (Curse you, Netflix.) Still, in the midst of this ?nostalgia craze?, we need to remind ourselves that these networks really are seeking to fill a God-created need with distractions.

Now, what else is on?

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