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?