Many years ago, when I was doing my A-levels, I developed an obsession for a US teen drama called Roswell High. It was on BBC 2 at 6pm on Wednesdays and during season one I didn’t miss a single episode. At the end of every show I would sit on my Granny’s living room floor (because she had a bigger television) refusing to avert my eyes from the screen, hoping that if I stared hard enough it would magically fast forward to the next episode.
My appetite was fuelled largely by the on-off relationship between an alien, Michael, and a human, Maria. Unlike the full-blown, starry-eyed love affair between Max (alien) and Liz (human), there was something honest and real about the budding romance between this emotionally stunted extra terrestrial and mouthy waitress. No hormonal seventeen-year-old was as soulful and sensitive as Max but every boy I liked at school reminded me of Michael, only he was a much better kisser. And was better looking. And the actor Brendon Fehr was probably not a spotty teen but a Hollywood actor in his twenties. These were all minor details though. As far as I was concerned Michael was a boy, the same age as me, who had the ability to be passionate and poetic and fall in love. Surely there had to be at least one moody bad lad in my History class who could be as deep and meaningful? Alas, by the end of season one the whole alien-human thing had ruined the romance for Michael and Maria whilst the boys in History continued to ping the girls’ bra straps and throw rubbers at the backs of our heads.
When I started university, I became so consumed by my own, real life romantic traumas that I didn’t have time for the likes of Roswell anymore. Fast forward ten years and my brother, possibly as a joke, possibly not, gave me the DVD box set for my birthday. It was a thoughtful gift; he had remembered my old infatuation when I had long forgotten that the show ever existed (probably he retains mental scars from being forced to watch it week in and week out for half a year). I promptly put the box on my shelf to collect dust next to Pretty Woman and the Peep Show. I once took it down and momentarily considered putting on the pilot episode but I couldn’t quite go through with it. Then, last Sunday, a friend and I lay curled up in my bed after a reckless Saturday night out in Nice. The first disc was missing from my Grey’s Anatomy box set and we weren’t in the mood for a movie. Roswell was all we had left.
My friend and I settled down and got through four episodes. The next night we watched five. I was seventeen all over again and as soon as the credits rolled I immediately wanted to go on to the next one. After my friend returned to London I did consecutive nights propped up in bed: two episodes, three and then another two. I eked out the last disc and had an additional session dedicated to the extras. This morning, when I woke up and realised that it was over, that there would be no Roswell tonight, I felt bereft. I got out of bed and immediately ordered the second and third seasons on Amazon.
I hadn’t been expecting to love Roswell as much now as I did the first time around but, if anything, I think I may love it more. I laughed out loud when Michael and Maria bantered like Hepburn and Tracey, was breathless when Max strapped his biceps around Liz and kissed her for the first time, and was a weeping mess when Maria comforted her distraught boyfriend after he’d had a fight with his abusive foster father. And he may be seventeen and an alien but Michael still makes me swoon. To think that all these years I’ve been hell bent on having a human boyfriend, when what I actually need is something extra-terrestrial.
In all seriousness, I have found it slightly disturbing to discover that my dreams and desires haven’t developed that much since my adolescence. You’d imagine that my experiences with men over the years might have taught me that such intense, absurdly romantic relationships don’t exist anywhere but in American teen dramas. Well apparently not, because I’m still holding on to the slender chance that there’s a Michael out there to make me his Maria. On the flipside, the fact that I’ve clearly not progressed mentally or emotionally since I was a teenager is helping me to view my infatuationist ways in a whole new light; suddenly my fantastical imagination, irresponsible behaviour and short attention span are making perfect sense.
Does this mean then that I am destined to spend the rest of my life snogging boys behind bike sheds? Probably. You never know my luck though, I may happen to stumble across a tortured, poetic, desperately handsome alien on the Promenade des Anglais…or, better still, Brendon Fehr.
Until that day - or until I grow-up - I’ll just settle for a poster.