Dear Gurus –
The new TV season is upon us, and I’m finding that I am running out of time to watch all my old shows while also giving new exciting shows a try. I fear that I watch some of my old shows purely out of habit despite them not being all that good anymore. How do I determine when it is time to give up on a TV show, and how do I get over the guilt of doing so?
Fear of Lack of Commitment
Ah, giving up on TV shows — a pain we all know all too well. Except for those of us who live on our couch and never sleep thus giving us a full 24-hours to watch TV (which reminds me that I ought to move to a different spot on my couch so that my current spot can be vacuumed). What you should do is run an experiment. Record a show that you watch out of loyalty, even if you normally watch it live. Wait a few days. Do you feel a burning need to watch the recording? Or are you okay with saying “I’ll get around to it.” If you find yourself really wanting to watch the recording as soon as possible, then it’s not time to give the show up. You still feel fully invested. If, however, you are okay with waiting a few days, then perhaps you are right to question your investment. Next time wait a few more days. Eventually you’ll realize that you just don’t care enough to watch the episodes piling up on your DVR and you can give it up altogether.
There is a flaw in this plan, though, depending on how popular the show is. You must always take into account how much ridicule you’ll endure for not being current. Has it been a topic of wide and lively discussion with your friends and/or anonymous people online? Will you be shunned forever more if you fail to get a reference to the latest episode that a friend makes, to general amusement? Will you feel like you’re back in middle school when you were chosen last for the kickball team for not being one of the cool kids? If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of those, then you are stuck watching the show, trading in a bit of your time for the sake of your entire social identity and self-worth. All you can really do at that point is make sacrifices to the TV gods, begging them cut the season short, or even cancelling it, thus alleviating you of the responsibility of watching it.
As for getting over the guilt of dropping a show, I look to my colleague, as all the staff here at Geek Speak know that I have no feelings whatsoever and thus can’t speak to this particular question. A? What say you?
First of all, K, I must compliment you on providing actual relevant advice (at least for the first half of your answer). But to you, Mr/Ms Fear, I think your real problem is you watch too much TV. Is this a first world problem? Or a need a hobby problem? Or an old people problem, because what person under 25 watches TV anymore? Damn millenials.
Of course, I shouldn’t be judging because I’ve noticed all these previews during football games, and thought, “Hey i should DVR that” but now its too late. Those seasons have started, I’ve missed the pilots, and life moves on.
So here is my final verdict. Stick with the show if its been announced as the final season, like currently with Bones, or The Vampire Diaries. (I don’t know what you like.) Otherwise ditch it for something new.
A, I am confused. How can too much TV be watched? Seems like that breaks the laws of physics or something. Either that, or a challenge. Should we coordinate a good ol’ fashioned Geek Speak Watching-TV-Off? But your answer, A, does bring up another good point — FOLOC, if you watch TV, then perhaps you also read recaps of TV shows. So what you could do is stop watching the show(s) in question, either live or recorded, and instead rely on witty recaps found on the interwebs (such as this fine site right here). Perhaps finding out what happens on the show will help assuage your guilt at not watching whilst freeing up time to watch others. Problem solved!
So now the real question becomes: A, what should the prize be for our ‘zine Watching-TV-Off?
K, Obviously the prize should be a gym membership, some stuff from the Pokémon GO store, or a staff position here at Geek Speak. I mean, Mr/Ms Fear, if you watch that much TV, you might as well put it to good use.
Also, this means you could help alleviate another’s guilt at dumping a show, because then he/she could read your witty recaps here. Win. Win. Win.
So, there you have it, Commitment-phile: You wrote in wondering about dropping TV shows, and suddenly you now have a new career writing recaps. Not bad!