watch your step
by Liz Davies
CAUTION: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR Glee, The Office, and Grey’s Anatomy
When it comes to television shows, I’m a serial monogamist. I don’t drift in and out of shows, watching an episode or two. I either watch the entire series or none of it at all. But lately I’ve been thinking a lot about why I do this. There have been numerous times when I’ve caught myself thinking, “this show just isn’t good anymore,” and yet I keep watching. First, let me give you a few examples of what I’m talking about.
I jumped onto The Office train a little late. I didn’t start watching the show until it’s third season. I saw one episode, fell in love, and immediately rented and watched the first and second seasons within a matter of weeks. I’ve watched the show religiously since.
Similarly, I began watching Grey’s Anatomy well after its premier date. I rented the DVDs because several friends watched it, and caught up by the third season. I’ve seen doctors and surgeons drift in and out of Seattle Grace/Mercy West Hospital for almost a decade.
I started watching Glee after I heard their version of “Don’t Stop Believing” on the radio (insert eye-roll here). I was a drama-geek in high school so I gave the show a chance and liked it enough to keep watching. I even bought a couple of their albums and listen to the music from the show on a regular basis.
All of these shows have something in common: I’ve grown tired of them, and yet I continue watching them. Maybe it’s because I’m a loyal person. Most of my closest friends are people I’ve known since elementary school. Or maybe it’s because I respect my elders. In human years, Friends ended at like, 140 years old. I obviously watched every single episode and continue to watch reruns. Was I excited that Ross and Rachel ended up together? Well, I’m not going to say that my 13-year-old self cried, but my Good Charlotte t-shirt was covered in mascara.
I’m a total TV junkie, and there are so many shows that I want to get into, but I honestly don’t know if I have the time to commit myself to Dexter, Breaking Bad, or Games of Thrones. I know myself, and I would immediately become invested in all of these shows and drop everything else to watch them. But if I could stop watching some of the other shows that I’ve become so involved in, would I have time for shows that I actually enjoy?
Watching the Glee finale the other night really sealed the deal for me. As I sat rolling my eyes during every scene and predicted the entire outcome of the show within the first several minutes, I realized that it might be time to break up with the show. Sure, the music is good sometimes, but for what other reasons am I still hanging on? The only major and valid reason is so that I can silence the people who told me that the show sucks. But do I really think that by watching the show I’m proving them wrong? This is a show that drops complete story lines and characters with no mention or reasoning, and also casts 30-year-olds as high school sophomores.
I’m not saying that I believe that this is a bad show. It’s obviously doing something right, because it’s stayed on the air for three seasons with another planned and gains a lot of attention. But I’ve definitely outgrown it, and I’m okay with that. In the past I probably would have clung onto it in the hopes that it would get better just so I could finish the series. But now, I think I’m finally ready to walk away with no hurt feelings. This could be the cleanest breakup ever. I feel like I’ve finally progressed to a new, more mature viewer stage.
I’m obviously not going to quit watching all the shows that I’ve been a loyal viewer of, because there are still some great gems out there. I’ve watched almost every new episode of Saturday Night Live since I was thirteen and have no intention of stopping. How I Met Your Mother continues to hold my attention, despite the infuriating nature of not actually knowing who the mother is a full seven seasons into the show. And don’t even get me started on Conan O’Brien. I followed him from three shows and two networks, and would watch any TV show featuring that ginger swoop of majestic hilarity.
It’s time for me to move on from the shows that I no longer enjoy without feeling guilty about it. I hate to be someone who thinks Steve Carell carried The Office on his own, because there are some incredible players in that team. Rainn Wilson can make me laugh with one look. But lately the show just hasn’t made me laugh like it used to when (agent) Michael Scott led the team.
And can we talk about how ridiculous Grey’s Anatomy has become? Seattle Grace hospital has always been plagued with some pretty dramatic situations, but a plane crash involving the hospital’s top surgeons? And this is preceded by: a bomb getting stuck inside a patient and then going off upon removal, ghosts returning to haunt their loved ones, a jilted husband of a dead patient going on a shooting spree, a bus crash maliciously killing one of the most beloved surgical interns, a syphilis outbreak among the doctors, innumerable combinations of hookups, a musical episode, and surgeons dying and coming back to life (three times). Obviously most drama programs have a certain amount of outlandish situations, but I think it’s safe to say that Seattle Grace Hospital is the worst in the country. At some point I was able to embrace the absurdity of this hospital, but I think I’m ready to move on.
I’d like to keep the memories of past episodes rather than grow more infuriated with new ones. Sure, I loved Grey’s Anatomy and The Office at some point, and they will probably continue to be some of my all-time favorites, but it’s time to jump ship before things get worse. So thank you, Glee, for making me realize that no one is forcing me to watch shows that I don’t enjoy anymore. And may your post-graduation lives be as ridiculous as your high school ones were, blinding rock-salted slushies to the eye and all.