Friday, January 29, 2010

Don't Tell Me I HAVE To Watch Your Favorite Show

True confession time: You know how they call television "the boob tube"? I'm the boob. Give me any list of the best shows on television, and the odds are that I don't watch any of them. Don't get me wrong; I love TV. I just don't love good TV. Is the plotting shoddy? The dialogue laughable? Is it on the CW? I'm there. Unfortunately, my poor taste in entertainment often leads to problems when I'm talking TV with friends and aquaintances. Inevitably, someone says something like, "You watch Lost, right?" And I go, "No, I watched a season and a half and it never really grabbed me."

Most of the time, the asker will pause and look at me like maybe I recently fell to Earth, then move on to another show. (We usually find common ground in reality shows, where my taste is less embarrassing.) But the other times are the topic of today's post: Don't tell me I HAVE to watch your favorite show.

"Oh it's so good! You can catch up on the DVDs." I know. No, I don't want to borrow them from you. Or Netflix them. Did you miss the part where I said I tried it and quit?

"But, listen, this is what happened..." Wow, that's amazing. A bunch of stuff I don't care about happened to a bunch of characters I didn't like. You're really winning me over.

I should point out here that it's not just Lost - that's just the current show I can't escape from. It's previously been Battlestar Galactica, The Sopranos, 24, Glee, and Heroes (remember how much you loved that first season?).

At least with Lost there are twenty billion other people the pimpers can talk to who actually watch the show. If it's a cult show on the verge of cancellation? Oh lord. Look, I didn't like Pushing Daisies! Stop trying to make me feel guilty that it got dropped! And Dollhouse held no interest for me and, apparently, 99.5% of the rest of the world, which is why it got cancelled - not because I can't recognize Joss Whedon's brilliance. I went to see Serenity on opening night, so step off.

Wow, I'm more annoyed by this topic than I thought. Which brings me to another point: pushing your favorite show too hard not only doesn't help your cause, it can actually hurt. So many people told me that if I didn't watch Veronica Mars I was a complete philistine that I switched over to contrary mode, embraced my, um, philistine-ism and started actively rooting for VM's cancelation.

I can see you thinking, Yeah, but I've never been annoying like that. Yes, you have. You know how I know? Because I've done it too. I harassed people about Alias like I was on Bad Robot's payroll. I made my now-husband watch it with me on our third date. And I too have known the pain of a show canceled before its time, having loved Freaks & Geeks beyond all rationality and reason. But here's the thing: no one has your exact same taste in television. Friends who watch all the same shows as me told me I would love Glee. I watched two episodes and wondered if they were playing an elaborate practical joke on me.

When my husband discovered Firefly (on his own; I lost all pimping credibility when Alias went to shit), I got all excited that we could now watch Buffy: The Vampire Slayer together. He said, "Yeah, I don't really like vampires." And while I could have given him the ten minute lecture about how Buffy isn't really about vampires, I realized that, actually, not liking vampires was a perfectly reasonable excuse. Especially when I considered that my reason for not watching Mad Men is, "I find my mother's stories about the 60's more entertaining."

So the next time you're about to launch into a ten minute treatise on Lost's brilliance to an unbeliever, please stop, think about that other show that everyone loves that you just don't get, and see if they share your love of Antiques Roadshow instead.


  1. I used to be a Lost Evangelist. I still love the show and am really excited about it starting up again next week, but it's to the point now where it has gone in so many different directions that I can't even begin to try getting people into it because I wouldn't know how to explain it. I mean, what would I say? "It's kind of like Twin Peaks on a tropical island, except weirder, and with a guy who cries a lot"?

    Mad Men does have great writing and acting and everything, but I would be lying if tried to pretend that at least half of the reason I stick with it is for the completely shallow reasons of: 1) fashion porn, and 2) watching Jon Hamm be all broody and hot.

    Interestingly, Heroes sounds exactly like your kind of show now.

  2. I think Heroes was always my kind of show. It just managed to fool people for a season. I'm sure I'll end up watching the entire run in syndication at some point.

  3. I have never seen a single episode of Lost, Battlestar Gallatica OR Heroes. Or Alias, come to think of it. But ask me any question at all about Law and Order: CI or SVU, and I'm your gal.

    And this:
    and 2) watching Jon Hamm be all broody and hot.

    is the most perfectly acceptable reason to watch.

  4. Hell, I got to that same point with Veronica Mars, and I even watched the show (well, the first two seasons). The evangelists drove me crazy.

    And please, let's not speak of Friday Night Lights.

  5. should totally watch Better Off Ted!

    Just kidding. :)

  6. I hate the people who pimp out Arrested Development because I remember watching that show when it was wedged between Simpsons and King of the Hill and remembering it's not as funny as everyone makes it out to be.
    I'm sorry, except for Malcolm in the Middle starring the brilliant Bryan Cranston, I've never found those one-camera comedies to be particularly interesting. For those that say sitcoms are one note, I've got news for ya, Always Sunny, 30 Rock, The Office and all that? They're all pretty much one note, too.

    I know I have what people consider suck-ass taste in TV (I love the hell out of old shows like Night Court), but screw em. I'd rather enjoy watching TV instead of watching something all the way through because someone forced it upon me.

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