After an intervention from Shawn and the kids who were in a desperate state of hunger and dirty socks, I decided to only watch television at bedtime to help me sleep.

A couple of weekends ago I got Hulu, and it was not the best life choice for me.

For those who haven’t heard of it, Hulu is basically another Netflix but without the mailing option. This means everything I wanted to watch on Netflix but didn’t want to bother to wait at the mailbox for, was suddenly at my fingertips.

And I immediately knew it was a mistake.

As a recovering addict of Grey’s Anatomy, Parenthood, Gilmore Girls, and that one-season-in-a-night binge of The Next Food Network Star (I don’t remember a lot but woke up covered in chocolate and flour) — I should know my television limitations.

Netflix streaming kept me sober — because what to watch required me to put an actual DVD into an envelope, walk it to the mailbox, and put up the little red flag. That is why the first four episodes of The Middle sat on my stairs waiting to be returned for six months (it’s still there — I’m looking at it right now).

Because who has time for that?

After an intervention from Shawn and the kids who were in a desperate state of hunger and dirty socks, I decided to only watch television at bedtime to help me sleep — and these shows require a careful balance between interesting and boring.

From Property Brothers and House Hunters International, to the same episodes of Undercover Boss so many times that I know the exact moment the lady from Boston Market is going to freak out and blow her cover — it’s just enough to keep my mind occupied from stupid things I said twenty years ago, without sparking an eight-hour marathon.

Hulu, however, has all the TV shows that have been whetting my appetite with Facebook two-minute clips: American Housewife, The Voice, and Connor’s new favorite, The Goldburgs. For about an hour each evening, we all sat together and watched for some family time. It seemed perfectly healthy and I continued resisting the temptation to fall back to my TV junkie ways.

But each time I selected another show to watch, I scrolled right by the very show I knew I should never watch. But it just kept popping up on my screen.

For the first week, I withstood the pressure. Refusing to be in the same room with the show, I took it off my watch list, and even un-liked the Facebook page (gasp!).

Soon enough though, old friends came around peddling episodes like candy.

“This show will blow your mind.”

And then, after an especially stressful day, I held my phone in my hand and slowly typed the title into Hulu while trying to talk myself out of it.

“This…”

Don’t do it.

“Is...”

Think about the kids. They need a mom. They need dinner.

“Us.”

Hours later, I sat bawling into a pile of laundry, waiting for the next episode to start, and hollering at little whatever their names are to get mommy’s credit card out of her purse and call for pizza.

Total relapse. What have I done?

Something about this show totally struck a chord with me (and basically everyone else in America). I tried to figure out what got me hooked so fast. Maybe it’s because I can identify with Kate’s unhealthy relationship with food and her childhood struggles with confidence and friends, or maybe it’s the compelling love story of the not-so-perfect but perfect for each other Jack and Rebecca.

Ultimately, I realized it’s that one special word that makes this show.

Us.

It’s a short yet impactful word always indicating a relationship of some kind.

Husband and wife.

Mother and daughter.

Father and son.

Brother and sister.

A family unit.

A group of friends.

Coworkers.

Americans.

Humans.

No matter who you are or what your life is about — you are part of an us. And this show zooms in and out of one relationship to show how everything around it relates to who they became. It’s fascinating, totally relatable, and completely addicting.

Thankfully though, I have reigned in my obsession and only allow myself to watch it on my phone while folding laundry.

Now excuse while I change my shirt again — it’s the third one I’ve spilt coffee on today. 

Meg Duncan has lived on the same corner in Hannibal for most of her thirty-something years. Raising two boys and one husband, she writes about real life because it is far better than fiction. The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Courier-Post.