I came into Frequency totally unprepared. I’d never seen the movie that inspired it, didn’t know any of the actors, and was totally devoid of 90’s nostalgia – or so I thought. My only interest in the show, and in the premise, really, was that the trailer said the magic words: 96 World Series. And, of course, that it focused on a father-daughter relationship.
My father passed away a while back, not so long that I can say I missed all my life with him, like Raimy, but not so recently that I can’t talk about it. Although maybe that last part is a lie. Not so recently that people assume I can’t talk about it, at least. Because truth is, I teared up when I typed the words ‘my father passed away’ and I teared up again when I re-read this finished piece.
I get the sense, however, that it won’t ever change. That’s just my new normal and I have to learn to live with it.
Back to Frequency. I watched the Pilot episode at San Diego Comic-Con, with a close group of friends. I wasn’t the only one tearing up – wait, no, straight up bawling. But, in a way that television, when it’s well done, sometimes manages, I felt totally alone in a packed room and watching the show on a huge projector.
It wasn’t my story, not really, but it was speaking to me. I was the only one who could understand it.
That’s a lie, of course. I’m far from the only person who’s ever lost someone else, and my connection to the show is anything but unique. But that’s the rational side of me speaking. Watching the show, however, I felt like it had been made especially for me.
Maybe because baseball was my thing with my Dad. And the Braves were our team. The 1966 World Series hit me – us – hard. I remember crying myself to sleep for nights. Sports were my first fandom, and though I’ve gotten better at controlling my disappointment, back then, they truly broke my heart.
As an aside, I asked Jennifer Gwartz and Jeremy Carver if they could change the results of the World Series at SDCC – sadly, the answer was no.
So, imagine me, fresh from losing my dad, sitting in that packed auditorium watching a show about a woman who gets to talk to the dad she lost ages ago – the same day my team screwed up their chance at a World Series, aka, a day that will live in infamy in my mind.
Then imagine about a thousand other people crying with me.
Back then the show was a beautiful promise. Many other shows have done good pilots only to falter, and though I had hope, I promised myself I wouldn’t get too attached. I’d give the show five episodes and then make a decision about whether this was a good hour of television that had touched a nerve or a transcendental show that I would be talking about for years to come.
Verdict is in. It’s the second one.
Because Frequency is not just a tear-jerker, no, though I can’t promise you won’t’ shed a tear or two every episode. Frequency is a smart show, one that doesn’t dumb down its plot for the audience, one that doesn’t downplay the complications of knowing too much, one that doesn’t promise a happily ever after – it just wants you to enjoy the journey.
Sometimes that’s even more important than the destination.
Maybe that’s what makes the show inspirational, for me. Good shows are not as rare as they used to be, good writing and good acting combine in many other products that we see on TV. The ability to make us feel things, however, the way the show pushes us towards living our lives a particular way, that’s something huge.
It’s not just about sending a message. It’s about presenting a window into the what ifs of life.
What if I don’t tell my dad I love him and he’s suddenly gone. What if I never let my mom know how much I appreciate her. What if I never tell this man that he’s the love of my life and tomorrow he’s no longer by my side.
What if I’m too afraid to be what I am, say what I feel, think what I think.
There’s nothing worse than a what if. Raimy Sullivan knows that better than most. And, through her journey, we can hopefully learn the one thing that will make our life fuller, happier, more meaningful.
Cherish the time you have. Tell the people you love that you love them. Don’t be afraid of being who you are. Today is your day. Today is a certainty. Tomorrow might not even happen.
So make today great. You owe yourself that.
Frequency airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on the CW.