I like Just Shoot Me!, now, in a different way than I like anything else. Maybe everyone gets to like one thing this way, one piece of the world that collided with him or her at the precise right time and formed an uncomplicated connection. This like is liking distilled to its essence. I don’t like the show for its importance or cultural relevance, its ability to carry me through conversations. I don’t like it as a continuous presence; it has been a long time since I’ve seen an episode. I don’t even like it as an under-recognized classic. In high school, at the lunch table, I argued on occasion for its superiority to Seinfeld but was never serious; it has probably slipped into the mass-memory slot it deserves, where even in an era of heavy pop-culture nostalgia it doesn’t receive any Internet slide shows or 12 Things You Didn’t Know…

No, the liking comes from this: I know that, if I were to happen upon an old episode right now, away from Kansas City and my family and the bulbous white kitchen TV, it would make me laugh and feel good. It is as simple, and as rare, as that. Just Shoot Me! got to me before I understood it, a mess of allusion and innuendo just beyond my reach, and stayed around—in my living room and kitchen, in the half-hour between when I came home and split again to join friends in pursuit of illicit beer—until I understood it entirely. It is the one cultural product at which I will not and cannot direct criticism. It encoded itself on me, and an episode now leads to a laugh as plainly as a gulp of water produces an ahh.