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Breaking Up is Hard to Do

December 15, 2010

I think it's time I see other shows.

Being a fan of a tv show is a lot like being in a relationship. You put in the time to give an hour each week of your time plus bits of your memory and attention span that could certainly be put to better use and in return you’re entertained and in rare instances inspired to look at the world differently than you did before.

Sometimes you’re set up on a blind date with a new show you’ve never seen before. Maybe a friend tells you that you two would get along, or perhaps a certain actor’s attachment piques your interest. Then you sit down over a frozen pizza and a PBR and find out you two have nothing in common. Sometimes it doesn’t even get to that point if your friend has led you astray before. Oh really, you think I’d like “Mike and Molly”? Weren’t you the same person who set me up on that disasterous evening with “‘Til Death”?

It’s easy to forget about and move on from those quick flings, but it’s something else entirely to break up with a show that you’ve actually invested a good deal of time and emotion into. When you stop being a fan of something you’ve told friends to check out, or that you’ve purchased on DVD, you are not only realizing that the show you once loved has become something else, but you begin to question if you were dumb for liking it in the first place.

Sometimes the answer is easy. I bought “Entourage” on DVD based on hype and a number of people I knew who liked it. I watched the first season and apparently liked it enough to buy the second season, which I also enjoyed. Somewhere during the third season I realized I had made a terrible mistake. What once seemed funny and charming now seemed smarmy and sexist. I realized that the show wasn’t starting to suck, but had in fact always sucked and somehow I had been blind to these faults. I stopped watching it and sold my DVDs. When I run into mutual acquaintances at parties I ask how Entourage is now and laugh in my head that the show is the same crap now as it was then.

Occasionally the separation hurts a little more. When “Heroes” first debuted I was reluctant to get on board. A number of people were comparing it favorably to “Lost”, my favorite show of all time, and it made me resentful of a seemingly inferior show getting lavished with such praise. Eventually though I sat down and watched the first few episodes and though they were certainly not on par with Lost, they were really fun. I watched the first season online, finishing the penultimate episode the evening that the first season finale was to air. I was excited to see what would happen to Peter and Sylar, excited to be watching Heroes as it aired for the first time, and excited to talk about it with friends the next day. Then I watched the episode and it was terrible. It looked cheap, the writing was bad, and the ending left pretty much all of the show’s fans wanting. I tuned into season 2 hoping for better, but the show proceeded to get worse. Eventually I stopped watching. I checked in at the beginning of season 3 and the same thing happened; after a few episodes I had to check out. Heroes and I were through, and a year later the show was put out of it’s misery as most everyone had come to the same conclusion I had. Unlike Entourage though, Heroes and I had some legitmately great moments together. Unfortunately the thrill of the chase vanished and left us with a couple of heroes with nearly unlimited powers (Peter and Hiro) and a villain with unlimited power (Sylar) and a bunch of silly garbage to justify why we should still care.

Occasionally it may become prudent to break up with a show that you’ve spent a good deal of time with because it just isn’t the same entity you fell in love with. Years ago I had to say goodbye to “24” after it proved that the weight of its central gimmick was simply too much to bear. Many of us longtime fans of “The Simpsons” have broken up with the show to some degree, there’s hardly anyone over the age of 25 that considers it a must-watch show each week.

And most recently I found myself at the end of the road with my relationship with “Dexter.” When it started it was dark and mysterious. It felt like Dexter was a half step ahead of being caught by someone he loved and that sooner or later the other shoe would drop. The show kept getting better, the fourth season featuring a frightening turn by John Lithgow was the show’s best. But the recently concluded fifth season showed that the staff is out of ideas. The show needs to radically change (have Deb discover Dexter’s secret!) or die, but Showtime loves the money the show brings in too much to do either. Every episode of the show makes the flaws that have been there all along (the implausibility of Dexter’s constant use of police resources to find people to kill, the show’s terrible supporting cast) bubble up to the surface, and a recent string of dangling plot threads have left me frustrated and, worse, bored. Dexter, I’m sorry, but I don’t think we can see each other any more. It’s not me…it’s you.

And then, as with the end of any relationship, it’s back out into the market to see what else may attractive. Or maybe I’ll just be satisfied that my old fling “Parks and Recreation” just showed up at my doorstep, boozy and ready for some laughs.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2011 7:40 am

    Battle Star Frakkin’s Galactica


  1. Reading Digest: Block Quote Filler Edition « Dead Homer Society

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