We Can Rebuild Her
Better than she was before… Better, Stronger, Happier. A Breast Cancer Journal

How A Sitcom Saved My Life

Today was my first Toastmasters speech.
My icebreaker
, if you will.

The goal was to introduce myself to the group….

Now the story of how a sitcom saved my life.

When I was a kid, there was no need for daycare, summer camps or after-4 programs.

We had TV.

Ours was minute, black and white, with an aerial on top and 2 fuzzy, fuzzy channels. But we’d rush home from school for Flintstones at lunchtime. And we’d get up for cartoons so early Saturday mornings that we’d have to stare at that black and white test screen for ages – and the sing along with Oh, Canada when the station finally started up for the day.

Eventually, my parents splurged. They bought a Jetsons-style colour-TV. With a huge 12” screen. And cable.

Now we could watch everything.
And we did:

  • I Dream of Jeannie
  • Gilligan’s Island
  • The Brady Bunch
  • Laverne and Shirley
  • Mork and Mindy
  • Donny and Marie
  • The Gong Show
  • Charlie’s Angels
  • Magnum PI
  • Chips
  • Dallas
  • The Love Boat


Then – boom – University.

No Time. No TV.


When I finally did have access again, I realized I despised TV.
And, that was that.


Fast forward to 2006.

Mark ran out to rent a movie and – like Beanstalk-Jack – came home with something else.
A TV show.

I turned up my nose.

We popped in the DVD and I prepared to give it a gong.

It was the story of a wealthy family who lost everything
And the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together.

It was Arrested Development.

Jam-packed with family dysfunction and subtly placed laughs.
In no time, we were hooked.

With two young kids, two full-time jobs, two sets of crumbling family relationships and the production of at least two demanding podcasts, Arrested Development became our sanity.

We’d work like dogs ‘til midnight or so then pop some popcorn, slather it with olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper, pour ourselves some red wine and enjoy an episode or two of non-stop laughs.

Instant, dependable entertainment.
Fee-free, effective therapy.

Night after night, we’d make our way through the two-and-a-half seasons.
Then we’d start again.

We soon spoke in AD quotes.
And bonded with others who did the same.

We realized that there weren’t too many situations in life that didn’t have a relevant quote.
And the more aggravating the situation – the more the quote made us laugh.


Then came cancer.

Life turned upside down.

The tests, the surgeries, the injections, the scans.
The nausea.  The pain.
The chemo-induced roller coaster of emotions.

The baldness.

And at night we’d watch Arrested Development.
And laugh.

Arrested Development was a taste of our old, innocent lives.
It was the craziness that made our craziness bearable.

And when the going got really tough,
And my thoughts were dark and my outlook was bleak,
A well thought-out blog post and a perfect AD quote lightened my load in a way nothing else could.

And I survived.

And thrived.

And that’s how a sitcom saved my life.

Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

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Andrea Posted by Andrea November 24, 2010

November 24, 2010 at 4:18 pm.

8 comments

  • http://www.markblevis.com Mark

    Fantastic speech, and a great way to circumvrent your fear of public speaking — the old reach around.

  • Rcantrell

    You broke the ice @ Toastmasters in FINE STYLE! Congratulations on a wonderful sharing.

  • Andree O’Donnell

    Great idea for a speech! Would have liked to have heard it. I still remember my ice breaker speech. Congrats.

  • janice

    Never heard of Arrested Development before I read your blog. Now I own it and LOVE it and now I can get your jokes. Great speech – wish I could have heard it, too.

  • Jay

    Love it! Very well written and well delivered I’m sure!

  • http://www.WeCanRebuildHer.com Andrea Ross

    Thanks, Jay. Not so well delivered, I’m afraid. But it’s a start….

  • http://www.WeCanRebuildHer.com Andrea Ross

    Thanks, all. It was a fairly pathetic delivery but have to begin somewhere.nonward and upward!

  • http://www.markblevis.com Mark

    Let the great experiment begin! (I couldn’t help myself)