I love television.

I know many of you automatically arrive at the notion of how vain and ineffectual television programming is when you hear a statement like that.

But you're wrong.

After spending yet another would-be peaceful Sunday evening vice-gripping a bowl of popcorn, unable to even eat its buttery contents because I could not bare to waste my precious attention on anything other than my television screen, I had to call into question this sweeping generalization of television as some form of cultural black hole disguised as entertainment.

Our generation has been berated for our entertainment dependence on television; many blaming our affinity for lowbrow entertainment on spending hours plastered to a spot in front of our respective glowing screens. Frank Lloyd Wright once said that television was simply, "chewing gum for our eyes."

Despite the fact that networks are still finding ways to put Snooki into weekly programming, we have come leaps and bounds from "Steamboat Willie" and even from the not-so-distant past programs such as "Friends" and other similarly terrible comedies of the past two decades.

Television has stepped out of the mold of mindless spectacle, filled with asinine catchphrases and cookie-cutter rating appeal writing, and has finally begun approaching the pantheon of the greatest writers and dramatists in our recorded history.

"Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men" are the 21st century's Shakespearean tragedies. "Game of Thrones" will be reflected upon as our quintessential epic. "Arrested Development" will be our archetypal comedy.

Hundreds of years from now, college students like us will begrudgingly SparkNote the season finale of "Dexter" in their 21st Century American History class.

Even as a not-so-secret (and perhaps excessive) Shakespeare fan, no play has ever made me spend a day of my precious summer binge reading for nearly 14 hours straight like the spree Breaking Bad elicited from me when I finally learned it was on Netflix two summers ago. I spent actual days of my leisure time engulfed in the visceral, poignant yet still incredibly profound transformation of meek Walter White to the millennial Macbeth.

No painting has ever thrown me into Westeros and made me feel so attached to characters with whom I share no modern conveniences or cultural aspects with, nor has one ever made me shed tears and lose my breath like watching the notorious "Red Wedding" episode of Game of Thrones last season.

It is time to no longer hold onto the notion of TV being the great American scapegoat. The aforementioned shows are a testament to the validity of television as an art form on par with the compulsory "classics" that are pushed on us in the classroom.

Put away your cultural jadedness and realize the shows we have marked on our calendar are not just obtuse jabbering accompanied with pretty lights. Stop describing TV with the pejorative. Omit idiot box, babysitter and boob-tube from your vocabulary and start seeing TV for what it really is: our era's contribution to the greatest works of art.

Chase Parker is a junior in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology. He can be reached at sparke23@utk.edu.