Dear TV Show: Here’s Why I’ll Cancel You

Welcome to Scarlet Thread Sunday, the day I share something I’ve learned in the labyrinth of life.

Microsoft Word Clip Art
Microsoft Word Clip Art

Today I’m thinking about television–why I watch the shows I do and why I stop watching. Networks periodically decide to cancel some series; perhaps the series can’t give the network a sufficient return on their money, the story has run its course, or the network has completely lost its mind (Jericho? Firefly?). But each week, viewers have their own opportunity to cancel a series from their playlist.

So I started thinking about my own algorithm for tuning out a TV series I’ve been watching. And, dear TV show, here’s why I’ll cancel you:

You’re too far-fetched. I will follow you into the deepest abyss of imagination, but I will not believe the utterly ridiculous. When people do things they would never do in real life, when the laws of science and physics are stomped and shredded, when plot holes grow to the size of canyons, I’m out. This is why I left Heroes several seasons before its end. I had too many moments of yelling at the TV, “Oh, come on! Really?”

You’re yanking me around. Plot twists and turns are a given in any drama or suspense series, and even in sitcoms with romantic relationships: Will they or won’t they? I accept that. I expect that. I enjoy that. Except when it starts to feel like I’m on a bungee cord being yanked back and forth, over and over, until I’ve got a case of whiplash worthy of a phone call to a billboard lawyer. This is why I stopped watching How I Met Your Mother (“For goodness sake, stop showing me the yellow umbrella and meet her already!”) and why I’m considering a personal cancellation of Pretty Little Liars. I did return to HIMYM this season, because I was assured by others that it was worth catching up on last season and jumping back in. (But they’d better not do something stupid like break up the wedding at the last second.)

You keep running over my values. I have a personal set of values I live by, but I don’t expect TV characters to have that same standard of morality. I’m not a prude, and I can filter through quite a lot. That said, if a TV show bashes my values over and over, I’m out. Sorry, y’all, but I couldn’t watch more than one episode of Sex and the City or True Blood. These shows were simply so at odds with my own personal values that I couldn’t continue.

You bore me. Perhaps, the worst thing to say about a TV series is “Who cares?” And sometimes I watch a show for a while and then realize I no longer care what happens to the characters (The Mindy Project, for example). If I’m invested, I’ll give the show a few episodes to re-hook me, but if I can think of numerous other things I’d rather do with that time…ba-bye.

Hopefully, my writing progress report for A Round of Words in 80 Days won’t bore you! It didn’t bore me. I had a good week.

ROW80 Update

Finish YA contemporary novel, SHARING HUNTER, by completing three chapters each week. 1 1/2 chapters. Halfway isn’t perfect, but it was decent progress nonetheless.

Take Short Stories 101 course from Young Adult RWA. I finished the first draft of my short story: Exorcising My Sister, a young-adult tale of a somewhat geeky 15-year-old girl who must rid her older sister of a mischief-making demon.

10 6 fiction books and 2 1 nonfiction books. I’ve so far read Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers, Dangerous and Unseemly by K.B. Owen, and Taking Chances by S.J. Maylee (all fiction) and Breasts by Florence Williams (nonfiction). This week, I started Haunted Spouse by Heather MacAllister, who spoke at a recent Bay Area Houston RWA meeting.

What causes you to tune out, or cancel, a TV show? How was your week?

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18 thoughts on “Dear TV Show: Here’s Why I’ll Cancel You

  1. Julie, l like funny tv shows like Seinfeld and Gilmore Girls. lf a show’s not clever and tries to be, l won’t watch. l love the new show, The Goldbergs. Not only is my maiden name the title, it’s clever and touching at the same time. l loved Desperate Housewives when it first started, but then they lost me.

  2. I gave up on Two and a Half Men for all the reasons cited above. I’m surprised I hadn’t done it many years ago, really. I’m enjoying the final season of HIMYM so far. Let’s hope it lasts.

    1. I also quit with Two and Half Men. It bored me that they never, ever learned anything or grew as people. (This was before Charlie Sheen left, by the way.)

      I’m also hopeful about HIMYM!

  3. All your reasons for quitting a show resonate with me. I had an ‘I quit you’ moment last week with one of my favorite shows, Supernatural. There were several instances where I kept thinking “that’s a lazy way to write that scene!”. Time to give up and move on.

    Best of luck with your ROW80 goals this week!

  4. It used to take a lot for me to stop watching a show. Now it takes a lot for me to even watch a show. Times have certainly changed. I’m seeing progress each week, Julie. Good for you. Here’s to a nice week ahead.

  5. Great progress Julie. And I agree with your reasoning for quitting TV show. If they bore me, I simply drift away and then suddenly realize one day that I stopped watching. I also don’t like “stupid” shows. I love humor, but not stupid humor. Those very few shows I make sure I don’t miss (and there is truly just a few) are my keepers (Bones, NCIS (the original) and Criminal Minds.) Everything else, I can skip a week (or two or three), and not be bothered by it.

  6. All good reasons, Julie. I don’t watch too much tv anymore. I just realized that the other day. There was a time when there’d be several “can’t miss” programs but not now. I do like Castle though when he gets to write his best selling books beats the heck out of me. And this season his daughter seems to be out of character from when she was a teenager. She was much more understanding and grateful then and now she’s a a moody B.
    I like the Amazing Race and seeing different parts of the world and a little of their culture.

  7. Julie, as one of your fellow #ROW80 crew, I can’t believe I’ve never visited before and I’m sorry! (I’m virually impaired and have a neurological condition that is just now being treated. I’ve been around for a while, but mostly on the peripheral of the main action.) I stopped because this is the sort of thing I wondered about; is it me? I don’t watch shows on TV, but stream them.

    I gave up on “Lost” into mid-season 4 or 5, I think. It’s been a while. The “time-travel” thing became for me, a whole bid bunch of lazy, because ultimately, a major character would die. then the following episode would find the survivors going back to “fix” the previous incident. What for me, started out as something exceptional, mysterious and vastly intriguing, disintegrated into a series of “do-overs.” I probably should watch the whole thing again; it’s been a couple of years.

    I enjoy shows that explore the darkness within, “Buffy” and “Angel” being 2 very good examples of this. “Grimm” looks to be another. For me, “X-Files” is the magnum opus in dark and funny and very emotional. Any show that has a run of 5 seasons or more, is bound to have some clunkers, but the overarching plot line, as in the breath-taking “Breaking Bad,” resonates with me.

    I also appreciate witty shows like “Psych,” (I so want to on that show, because I’m that big a ham and idiot) “Burn Notice,” and “Chuck.” “Psych” can be gut-bustingly funny, but has been more serious and it has relied on parodies and in-jokes, which puts off viewers. I find that “Burn Notice” more, rather than less relies on a pretty standard formula and seldom deviates from it. Because I binge-watch, this may be more noticeable to me. I’m still “learning” “Chuck” so we’ll see. For some reason, I’m getting whiffs of “Pushing Daisies,” in some of the loopiness of this show. But, thanks Julie, I appreciate this.

    P. S. I noticed no one said anything about “Twin Peaks,” which was awesome until about the middle of the second season and then went completely bonkers. I still look at it for the music, mainly. As a professional musician, I can say that the music, all of it by Angelo Badalamente is superb.

  8. Not having the time to catch up on the DVRed recording. Seriously, the only show I watch live is Doctor Who, and even that sometimes is via DVR. I’m so outnumbered in TV interest I hardly ever get the TV in the first place, LOL.

    You are doing great with your goals Julie. Way to go!

  9. I agree with you about Firefly and Jericho. So far I have watched the first two episodes of Firefly, but am taking my time with it since there is so few episodes. I stopped watching HIMYM for the exact same reason.

  10. I ditto what you said about How I Met Your Mother. I don’t like when shows start dragging things out. That happened on Lost too (but I can’t talk about Lost after that finale). And I’m with Nancy (above), I love Gilmore Girls, still watch the repeats–and so far The Goldbergs is a funny show!

  11. I’m with you on the boring factor. If a show and it’s charactors don’t grab me right away I lose interest after a few episodes. I do like Big Bang Theory as it always makes me laugh. Still, too much junk on the boob tube lately.

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