We invest a lot of time and energy in our favorite shows, but when that passion is no longer productive, watching the show in question is doing more harm than good. The blowup after the Glee finale, with miles of the “This episode was terrible!” and “Then don’t watch the show!” exchange that never goes anywhere, is a perfect example.
Here are some warning signs that it might be time to drop a show before you go cray-cray.
This first warning sign is disinterest. You may find yourself checking your watch to see how much longer you have to sit through this episode. Soon, you’re checking your email or favorite social media sites rather than paying attention to what’s on the screen.
To be fair, most shows are victim to a bad episode here and there. If checking your watch or email isn’t a common occurrence, it’s one thing; but when this is happening on a weekly basis, there’s probably trouble on the horizon, Captain.
Good stories will evoke strong emotions in an audience. A well-executed death scene should have the audience bawling, while a particularly good joke means laughter. But if you’re angry when the show wants you to be laughing, then there’s a disconnect that means trouble.This was common in much of Glee’s third season; the writers were clearly trying to evoke one emotion but would leave a good chunk of the audience on the other end of the spectrum.
But emotion of any kind is better than boredom. If you can’t connect to the characters or their stories, there’s no point in tuning in. This was a common complaint after the latest Glee finale, when the writers were going for something poignant. Not good.
Think constant angry tweets and Facebook statuses, seeking out episode reviews and leaving scathing comments, blogging about how bad the show is, telling anyone who will listen how much you don’t like the show and that they shouldn’t watch, and so on.
Basically, if the energy you were once expending in a productive manner has shifted into something particularly negative or destructive, it’s time to back off and assess whether the exhausting negativity is worth it. This might happen after a particularly bad episode or because of a particular plot point you don’t like – that’s normal and is completely different than something happening week in and week out when the constant negativity must be seriously disrupting your chi.
Now, you might have a perfectly legitimate excuse as to why you have six weeks’ worth of unwatched episodes on your DVR, like, a job or school. Obviously you’d rather be watching, so you’re excused. But when you have the time to watch and you just don’t, well, Houston, we have a problem.
You might build up a backlog of episodes and then marathon them over a day or two, only to start the cycle all over again. But disinterest is clearly mounting when watching the show is one of the lowest items on your To-Do List, so why bother?
The last, and most obvious, sign is dreading the show. This goes beyond a lack of anticipation — that’s a neutral reaction, common to the average viewer. This is realizing that it’s [insert day] and groaning as X o’clock approaches because the show in question is on.
This is having the same feeling about watching the show as you would about going to a dentist appointment. If you’d rather be having your teeth pulled than sitting down to watch the show — whether live or getting into that backlog of episodes you’ve got going — then it’s probably time to make a clean break.
How about you, dear readers? How do you know it’s time to break up with a show?