“I’ve Been Rewatching the Same 3 TV Shows for the Past 20 Years.”

A cozy evening. I have completed all my chores and I’m snugly wrapped in my cherished threadbare pajamas. In my hand is a piping-hot cup of coffee emanating comforting warmth. While the outside world remains chaotic and unpredictable, within the confines of my cozy place, I discover ease in the inviting glow of my familiar laptop screen.

Pondering what to watch tonight, I consider a multitude of options. And yet, I am irresistibly drawn back to the same three TV shows — ones I’ve indulged in far too many times to count over the past 20 years.

Rewatching TV Shows: The ADHD Explanation

So what are the three TV series that have captivated me for two decades? Drum roll, please!

  1. Friends. As Chandler would say, this iconic sitcom is my lobster.
  2. Charmed. The series cast a spell over me that hasn’t faded over time. I even started making my own Book of Shadows, which got lost when I moved out of my first apartment.
  3. Grey’s Anatomy. I dreamed of becoming a surgeon because of this show (a nonsense dream now). Either way, I still love the show and learning all about strange diseases.

You might be thinking: What kind of sane person would watch the same handful of TV shows over and over? It’s a reasonable question that has even crossed my own mind. For me, it has just about everything to do with ADHD.

Tuning into a New Show Is a Chore

Diving into a brand-new TV series is difficult — even exhausting — with a brain that wrestles with attention and focus. The tiniest distractions are enough to pull me away from understanding the plot of a new show. I’ll decide to quickly scroll through Instagram before realizing that I missed a whole episode.

[Read: I Like TV the Way I Like Big Projects — In Small Chunks]

But with familiar TV shows, none of this is an issue. I can zone out and still know exactly what’s happening. I already know the twists and turns that lay ahead. I am spared the burden of memorizing character names and keeping track of complex storylines. I can fully engage with the story without constantly feeling like I’m missing something.

ADHD Needs Predictability

I already know your next question: Doesn’t watching the same shows get boring? Sure, novelty can be thrilling for those of us with ADHD. But it can also be overwhelming. That’s why a dash of predictability can be so soothing. Returning to my favorite TV shows gives my restless mind the sense of comfort and familiarity it often needs. They’re my escape from the wild world outside. When everything else spirals into a mess, at least I know that Ross and Rachel will survive their rollercoaster romance.

Decision Fatigue in the Golden Age of TV

Especially in today’s fast-paced world where new shows are released at astonishing rates, sticking to the same three feels like a no-brainer. While there’s so much great new content out there that teases the senses, it’s also a minefield of decision fatigue and mental exhaustion. I’ve caught myself aimlessly scrolling through streaming platforms for something new to put on, only to be overwhelmed by the minefield of choices just about every time. I’ve seen endless trailers for potential shows and have read countless series descriptions, but in the end, I usually give up and watch nothing.

If I stick with my tried-and-true series, it’s akin to choosing vanilla at the ice cream shop. I know it’s delicious, and it’s probably better than going for that weird flavor hiding chunks of bubblegum or Swedish fish.

[Read: “How a TV Show Helped Connect Me and My Teenage Son”]

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Of course, my unwavering devotion to these shows goes beyond ADHD. For one, they are shows that are just too good to let go. But they also hold a special place in my heart because they stood with me during some of the most challenging times of my life. They offered a much-needed escape when the weight of the world felt unbearable, and they provided a form of companionship when solitude threatened to consume me. Watching these shows over time has reminded me of where I am on my own journey, and the profound role these characters and their stories have played in shaping my own narrative.

Watching the Same Show Over and Over: Next Steps

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