Saturday, August 13, 2011

Stop Telling Me I Need To Watch Your New Favorite Show | A Form Letter

Dear Friend,

I know you just got into it but you're already on the third season. I know you think it's the [funniest/most dramatic/best ever] [insert genre] show ever.
Yup, the dour, sarcastic one on the right.
I understand that you really, really like this show now. The characters are incredible and the writing is so much better than [that other show that came first you tried to get me to watch three years ago].

That's cool! I've heard it's really good! I like [that thing I see every few weeks over dinner and find amusing], and I'll freely admit I adore [actor on show]; [s]he is just too cute. I would marry that [girl/guy] in a heartbeat. Not even kidding.

And yeah, I hear the writing is really good and I like how they did [that thing that's been done to death but they do somewhat more originally]. I'm not usually a fan, but they make it work. I even appreciate how hard that is to do. Honestly, I think I'd really like the show if I ever sat down to watch an episode.

I have, in fact. I've seen bits and pieces here and there. Maybe not more than 20 minutes of one episode and a few clips of others, mostly tags right before the show right after came on, but I liked what I saw.

And of course I know the basic gist of it all and who most of the characters are. I made sure to look it all up because I wanted to see what it was about.

Here's the thing: I don't care.

Really. I don't know how, but as much as you love it, [TITLE] just isn't a show I feel compelled to watch. Ever, really. There's no draw to it. It's like looking at the pretty [girl/guy] your friend's been crushing on all year and saying, "Okay, yeah, [s]he's really cute, I guess."

There's just no attraction there, I'm sorry.I'm not disinterested in the things you like, I'm really not. And I've already told you it's not an issue of style or actors or genre; I'm into [previously mentioned similar titles]. I just don't feel like seeing this is something my happiness is contingent upon.

I dunno, maybe it's a commitment thing.

When I start a new show, I'm usually in it for the long-hall, and that means giving up a good portion of my prime time weeknights for a few weeks every year, so I really gotta watch what and how many commitments I make.

Yes, I understand the first [NUMBER] seasons are on [Netflix/Hulu/other streaming service]. And thank you, I appreciate that you're willing to lend me the DVDs. That's not an issue. But when I sit down to watch a whole show like that, it's worse than the hour a week I'd lose watching it live. I lose weeks until I've seen everything. I look up Wikipedia pages; I find the fan Wikia; I got to bed and wake up dreaming the theme songs and original story plots. I just don't have the kind of time to lay out for every show people tell me I need to see, alright?

And before you say it–I know! I know this show is different. I know I'd love it. Because it's so good and you don't normally tell people they "have" to see or do anything, but [FAN-ABBREVIATED TITLE] is just so good and as soon as I see [MINOR SPOILER AND YOU'RE AN ASSHOLE] I'll be hooked.

I'm just not willing to make that commitment, alright? And I'm not going to watch your show. Truthfully, I'm more turned off from it by how hard you're pushing for me to watch it than I am at just the idea of the show I had in my head before you started this conversation. Frankly, if I'd wanted your opinion about [your new favorite show] or any show in particular, I'd have asked you specifically about it. Except now, after all this, I think I respect your taste in television shows even less, so I won't be doing that.

Maybe before I've entertained the idea of giving [your obsession] a shot. Maybe I've even watched an episode or two while cooking a meal and thought, "Hey, this is pretty [funny/good/cool/badass]!" Maybe I even watched the first [x-number] seasons but gave up after [ridiculous plot twists reduced the show to a formulaic nightmare unsalvageable by even increased graphic nudity].

But now I don't even want to hear about it. Because I know that it's all I'm going to hear about for the next [number weeks until conflicting sport season/returning show you liked last year]. So if you have any hope of me watching this show and having us talk about how great it is, your best chance at this point is to stop telling me every six seconds how great it is and how I need to see it. I still love and respect you and your opinions both, but I'm tired of hearing about [show] and I just need it to stop.

Thank you for your patience, and I am sorry if I offended you in a any way, but it was the only way I could see to communicate my feelings to you.

Best Wishes!

[Your Name Here]


  1. you should watch community, but actually what tv shows have you recommended to friends? because everybody does it, right?

  2. Actually, I typically don't recommend shows to friends unprompted. I definitely geek-out with friends who watch the same shows I do, and I'll tell people when I find a show that could be up there ally, but I specifically try to avoid telling people that their lives will be less for having not seen a certain show simply because I think it's amazing.

    Except for Clone High, Daria, Freaks & Geeks, and Undergrads. Everybody should watch those.

  3. If you're worried about wasting your time, you really shouldn't watch TV shows on a TV. There's ads and you can't pause anything and there's no search function.

    Pirate them or watch them on youtube. (fun fact: you can disable youtube video ads with the plugin Adblock Plus)

    Listening to somebody whine, passive-aggressively, and at great length, about people wasting their time, a few posts after admitting that they sit around watching HP cell phone ads at 3am, is rather annoying.

    If you think the show isn't worth watching, say so, and say why. Yes, that's argumentative, but what you're implying in this essay is that you trust my artistic assessments, but that it doesn't make sense for you to watch it, because your time is more valuable than mine. This is insulting.

    Incidentally, I wandered onto this blog through a google image search for '"out of context" vlcsnap'. Now I'm wandering out again.


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