My conversations about TV go something like this:
“Hey, what do you think about True Detective?”
“I don’t know, I don’t watch it.”
“Oh. Well, this season has been weird. But the first one was Breaking Bad-level good.”
“I never watched Breaking Bad either, actually.”
“What?! But it’s so good!”
“Yeah. I watched the first season. I liked it. I heard it gets even better. I’m sure it’s great. I just… you know, I’ll get to one day.”
“Did you watch Mad Men?”
“Have you tried Steven Universe? It’s really good.”
“But it’s sci-fi. You love sci-fi.”
“Yes! Yes, I watch Hannibal. I’m a little behind on it, though.”
“How far behind?”
“Like… two seasons?”
“OK, but I know you watch Game of Thrones.”
“Used to, yeah. First four seasons, part of the fifth.”
“I feel you. Did you quit because of the Sansa rape scene?”
“No. I got lazy.”
Pajiba readers, it’s time for me to come clean. If there’s a watercooler TV show from the past 15 years, it is very, very likely that I have not watched it. I have not watched The West Wing or Six Feet Under or Homeland or The Americans or Sons of Anarchy or Orange is the New Black or House of Cards. Going further back, My So-Called Life is a so-called mystery to me, though I know Jared Leto can’t read in it. I started Lost and Fringe and Boardwalk Empire, liked them all, and petered out after a few binge-watch sessions. I love Twin Peaks, except for the part where I haven’t actually finished it. I followed Dustin’s advice and watched the pilot of Mr. Robot, which I enjoyed! I have watched one episode since. I fully plan to catch up on it, likely after I’ve finally finished The Wire (I’ve been stuck at four episodes in for about a month and a half) or several decades down the line, when I’ve finally retired and/or died. Whichever comes first.
Yes, I know we’re in a TV Renaissance. I know that I will probably like Orphan Black if I ever get off my ass and watch it. I don’t know if it’s a lack-of-attention thing, or what. It’s possible, considering the shows I’ve managed to catch up on—Veep, Silicon Valley, Transparent and The Spoils before Dying—are all half-hour comedies. The hours and hours of television pile up in daunting season-long blocks, making me feel guilty every time I log into my Netflix account. Who’s my favorite Doctor Who companion? Donna! Just don’t ask me how broken up I am at what happened to her, because I never got around to watching it.
Yes! I know, I know.
My low-motivation TV watching habits never used to be a problem for me. Back in the early aughts, before keeping up on whatever the Internet’s into on any given day was part of my job description, I would spend my days reading fanfic and posting in all probability very embarrassing updates to LiveJournal, and if everyone was losing their shit over Lost, it didn’t really affect me. But now, every week sets off a new Twitter stampede of Mad Men theories and “Why does True Detective suck now?” bitchery, and I just feel a little…. distinctly unhip. I’ll watch True Detective one day, I tell myself. One day, I will know who Stan is.
This post is not meant to gripe about TV today, or the social media habits of others. I’m not one of those “I don’t have a TV, you rubes. *sniff sniff*” people. This post is a catharsis. It’s a declaration of freedom, and a call for others of my ilk to do the same.
I AM NEVER GOING TO WATCH BREAKING BAD.
(I mean, I might, one day, watch Breaking Bad. Who knows. It is a thing that I might get around to.)
I AM NEVER GOING TO WATCH MAD MEN OR ADVENTURE TIME OR THE SOPRANOS.
I AM GOING TO CROSS THEM OFF MY TO-DO LIST AND FEEL OK ABOUT IT.
I AM NOT PUTTING (UN)REAL ON MY TO-DO LIST IT ALL.
THE INTERNET AND EVERYONE YOU KNOW ARE GOING TO FALL IN LOVE WITH ANOTHER SHOW A MONTH FROM NOW, AND I’M NOT GOING TO WATCH THAT ONE EITHER.
GOD GRANT ME THE SERENITY TO ACCEPT THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE.