Paula Abdul, American Idol

Ever since I wrote a PopWatch post about the Three’s Company episode that I still can’t discuss without getting misty — and 998 comments followed naming the TV moments that made others cry — I’ve respected the power television has over my body. It’s really a beautiful thing, the way good or “good” TV can move us physically.

Take Paulagate. Our Idol expert Michael Slezak said he immediately pressed pause on his remote after Paula Abdul critiqued a song that Jason Castro hadn’t actually sung yet. Time had to literally stop while he processed what he’d just seen. (I, myself, opted to hit mute, as I tend to do when anyone on a reality show says something mortifying and my instinct for self-preservation kicks in. As I’ve mentioned before, I practically wear out my remote during the first episode of any Bachelor season, when the ladies attempt to make “memorable” first impressions by singing or reciting an original poem.)

What visceral responses has TV provoked in you, and in what moments? In addition to the standard talking back to the television when a plot line doesn’t go my way (oh, don’t even pretend like you’ve never yelled a belligerent, “No!”), I’ve also been known to:

burst out in a spontaneous, two-second fit of rapid applause when a scene is so emotionally satisfying that it makes meappreciate the television medium as a whole. (I did that yesterday, in fact, while watching the final moments of this Sunday’s Brothers & Sisters. You won’t want to miss it, that’s all I’m saying.)
forget to breathe when my mind apparently can’t allow anything to distract it from watching how a scene plays out. (That’s rare, but the best Buffy and Angel episodes still have their way with me.)
force myself not to close my eyes or look away when a crucial moment of a sporting event is about to unfold live. Why? Because I’m making a deal with God that IF I experience this excruciating tension head-on, my suffering will help earn the team or individual I’m rooting for the win. (I believe this is in direct response to my mother, who gets so nervous that she has to leave the room.)

Your turn.

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