I love TV like I love an ever-evolving list of items (peppermint tea, salted cashews and heavy blankets) that make me feel safe and comforted. Perhaps as I grow more adept at comforting myself in other ways (meditation? yoga? naps?), TV will lose its luster as my psychic pacifier, but for now, I've got it on a goodly chunk of the day, Judge Judy, King of the Hill, The Simpsons. And now, Monk.

This tidy little detective series has all of the elements that make a TV show comforting to me, predictible outcome, earnest characters, great theme music, and lots and lots of episodes. While I still love previous comfort shows, Dragnet, Mary Tyler Moore, Columbo, The Brady Bunch, I make it a policy to rotate my TV crack to avoid comfort show burnout.

Of course, I allow myself the occasional comfort binge, too. Every once in a blue Monday I'll indulge in an L&O jag and in my first cable days, I'd hunker down for a Labor Day switch-a-thon between Jerry Lewis and The Twilight Zone. New Year's Day is a notorious putter & butterâ„¢ day for me, one of the few times a year when I'll allow myself unfettered, guilt-free indulgence in whatever makes me happy that doesn't harm anyone else.

I must not be the only one who finds comfort in immersion; the episode that just ended (which, coincidentally, features two fine actors with whom I've worked in the past, Patrick Breen and the magnificent Jane Lynch) is part of a 24-hour Monk marathon on USA Network. So all the other addicts and I can watch crazy Adrian Monk set the world to rights in 60-minute increments and not do anything else. Except maybe move the party to the bedroom.

Lots of heavy blankets in the bedroom.

Happy New Year!

xxx c