Please Stop Telling Me To Watch Your Favorite TV Show

Dear well-meaning friends who want me to watch your favorite TV show (you know who you are):

I’m insanely passionate about TV, but I’m also a rebellious kid by nature. As such, please allow me to respectfully demand that you stop telling me about TV shows that I just HAVE to watch. Because you know what? I don't have to watch them!

That's right, you heard me. I’m tired of hearing about Damages, I don’t care how life-changing The Wire is, and I don’t want to hear another word about Battlestar Galactica or its super-awesome ending. And no, it’s not because my life is too rich and fulfilling that I can’t possibly be bothered with television; I may or may not stayed home from a party one time just to catch up on Project Runway. I'm simply fed up with being judged for skipping the shows that changed your life. I'll even give you five good reasons why:

1. The more you hype something, the more disappointed I'm likely to be
Has anyone ever described how hilarious a situation was, rather than just telling you what happened? After a certain point, it becomes useless to actually tell you the story because it’s been so built up that it can't possibly live up to your inflated expectations. This is how I feel about every HBO show I’ve missed. I get it—[insert show name here] was highly praised and amazingly portrayed. But at this point, I know everything about True Blood except the plot of the show itself, and there’s no way I could ever enjoy it as much as you want me to enjoy it.

2. All the world's a spoiler
I actually recently started watching Breaking Bad after someone literally brought the first season to my house, and even though I am loving it completely, I’m about three years off. Every time I start to talk to people about the show, they start giving me spoilers from Season 3. In my world, Walt just told Skylar he has cancer; I don't want to hear about anything beyond that! Plus, when you’re just getting into a show that’s been on a while, you'll never escape the people who smugly say, “Oh, you’re only on Season 1? Just wait!” Well hey, guy, I've got some news for ya: You’re not a trailblazing psychic, you were just less busy than I was when the show first started.

3. If it’s that popular, it probably sucks/If it’s that unsung, it probably sucks
This complaint can go in either direction. If a show is wickedly, hugely popular, like Mad Men, I assume that the masses, in their infinite inferiority to me, don’t know what good TV is, and that everyone is just brainwashed. If a show is a critical success but a ratings flop, I assume that people are just championing the show because it looks cool to root for an underdog.

4. Catching up is a huge time commitment
When someone insists that you watch a show that’s already been on for a few seasons, they’re basically saying, “Hey, you’re not doing anything for the next five weeks, are you? Because have I got a plan for you every single night! It’s Weeds!” Even if I end up loving the show in question, it can sometimes feel like a chore to binge on episodes, racing to catch up to where the show is today. This is no way to enjoy television, people!

5. Why would you peddle addiction?
When a show gets you, like really gets you, you find yourself thinking about it constantly, looking for ways to fit in an episode between meetings, talking about it even when you’re not watching it—and these are all signs of addiction. You want to what else has this effect on people? Heroin use. No one bullies you into trying heroin at parties, and yet Dr. Who gets a free pass. There are 769 episodes of that show! I have bills to pay!

So to all the well-intentioned TV bullies out there, give me a break! I know you want to change my life, and maybe one day I’ll take your advice and start watching the show you can’t live without. But until then, know this: It’s okay if you've haven't seen Freaks and Geeks, or Mad Men, or Sports Night, or even Inception. You are good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like you.

(But seriously, you have to see Freaks and Geeks.)

Comments (51)
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This is kind of a b**chy post... sort of a step down for a TV.com writer.
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You really should see Freaks and Geeks. :D
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you should watch Stargate Universe...it's really good
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wow, you love yourself too much. It looks like you think everything revolves around you hah! Sad! It's TV man, really.. its TV
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You can always just say no thanks to your friends as opposed to writing a five point mini-essay about the situation. I feel sorry for your friends, if they are met this sort of negativity for trying to give you some advice.

Additionally, comparing the enjoyment of a television show to a heroin addiction is belittling and ignorant.

On the flip side, any person that is trying to push the ENTIRE catalogue of Dr. Who on anyone should be ignored and/or have a mini-rant written about them.
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Wow. There are some really mean people here at TV.com, some of you commenters. Stop being so sensitive. Free speech and what not. Personally, I kind of agree. I only like certain kinds of show, and won't watch something just because it's popular or critically acclaimed. I hate spoilers as well. And to all those who said this, just because she's a staff writer for a site about TV, doesn't mean it has to be all positive. I mean, really.
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I've discovered most of the shows I'm watching because I was told about them by my tv.com friends. There are some shows though, I don't intend to watch even though they have a huge fan base among them. Do I have to watch everything my tv.com friends tell me to? No, I don't, I still can decide for myself! Do I have to get rude about it and tell them that they are some kind of morons for telling me what shows they like? No, most definitely not!
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I have to agree with you. If I want to watch a show I will and if I don't I won't so don't bother telling me what I should or shouldn't watch. To be honest many times I'd rather watch an older show than most of the stuff on these days (or a kid's show. I swear the characters are more intelligent than most characters in adult shows). And just because you write about tv doesn't mean you have to watch everything. I work at my job from 6 til whatever time I am scheduled for. After that it is forgotten.
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While there seems to be less and less on TV that I truly enjoy, part of the fun of watching is sharing with friends those shows that we do like. Knowing what my friends like on TV gives me some insight into who they are just as my likes and dislikes shed a little light on my inner life. I would hope the author wrote with her tongue somewhat in her cheek!
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I seriously disagree. It's all about sharing the TV love, and I've got about 10 shows that I'm completely addicted to. Smallville, Numb3rs (SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN CANCELLED), Supernatural, the CSI's, House, Chuck, Torchwood, Dr Who...And on the episode binging thingy, you just have to find time where you can and try and protect yourself from spoilers as much as possible until you're done. I waited until the start of the summer holidays to finally start watching NCIS, and I've been watching every episode online from the pilot. I'm currently on the Season 6 finale, then I've got about a season and a half left to watch by the time I've caught up. It's taken me weeks, but it'll be nice to come home to some epic entertainment after a long day at school when it starts again :)
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I totally disagree! I watch very little TV but when I work with a technically savvy person or someone with a strong science background, I always suggest "Big Bang Theory" and they have thanked me for it!

Also because I live in Hawaii, I tell everyone to watch the new "Hawaii 5-O"
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I couldn't DISAGREE with you more!! I don't watch much TV and neither do my friends, because we have busy lives, HOWEVER, if I work with a tech freak or someone with a strong science background, I always suggest "Big Bang Theory" and they have thanked me for it!

AND living in Hawaii, I tell everyone to watch the new "Hawaii 5-O" coming soon!
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But really, you HAVE to watch MAD MEN....and BURN NOTICE...and THE CLOSER....and .....
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@ buildam2005 : thanx for the suggestion but i am already a big fan of FNL i still at s04e08 and waiting season 5 to be near the start so i can watch the rest of season 4 ,as for Dollhouse its brilliant and has a remarkable end, also i am a huge fan of buffy for me one of the greatest moments in tv history was when buffy sacrificed here self for her sister at the end of season 5 episode"The Gift", and i still miss firefly and angel to this day i re-watch them every now and then,also i love lost and i really enjoyed the end it was fantastic i didn't really want to know the island secrets only the story of the characters that interested me, if you have any other shows that you want to recommend please do
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I agree with everything! While I'm bullied sometimes, I also do the bullying a lot! But all of the above is true!!
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I thoroughly agree with you! Just because one person loves a show does not mean I will and just because I can't live without my Doctor Who and Chuck doesn't mean that person would even get it. And if I'm big enough to respect the fact that everyone has different likes than me, why can't other people give me the same respect? Frustrating people! But then again, if the show is really really really good, I will nudge the person to just give it a shot when he or she has a chance to fit it in. There's nothing wrong with nudging. ;)
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@ aloyoon: anything by Joss Whedon is ridiculously good (well, I can't speak for "Dollhouse" as I never watched it). Buffy the Vampire Slayer is arguably the best show ever made, is easily the most thematically complex, and spawned the successful spinoff "Angel." "Firefly," though only in existence for a short season, was also good.



And though not Whedon, you should check out "Friday Night Lights." I don't care about the hullabaloo surrounding Mad Men and Breaking Bad; if you watch one episode of FNL, you'll keep watching. It's ridiculously good.
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Also, I love the good wife and it may piss me off that one of my favourite shows is in danger of cancellation(damages) because it is so criminally underwatched. I may need to vent my spleen online from time to time but if i meet some someone who doesn't watch it, I'll tell them its really good and leave it at that. I won't verbally assault them for being busy or having a different taste in tv to me
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I totally agree. It is so annoying when people look at you as if you are insane just cos you don't watch true blood or breaking bad or whatever. Personally true blood is a sadistic, seedy and perverted show and the books are not much better. I don't even know what breaking bad and mad men are about.
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i wanted to watch Freaks and Geeks for along time now but i have to know first does the show have a good ending or not,also if any one want to recommend good shows please do
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Absolutely crazy that someone who works writing about television would refuse to watch some of the most critically acclaimed shows in recent years. How does she justify her paycheck?
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I agree with IndianaMom. You say you have bills to pay? Well then you should probably start watching the shows you're paid to watch. If its too much trouble, don't stress about it because I am free to take your job. And Freaks and Geeks ended 10 years ago. No matter how good it is, it is a dinosaur. Do you still have a tv with an antenna?
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um isn't it your job to watch tv?
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If you are writing as if you are just another TV fan I would agree completely. However, knowing you watch and write about TV for a living completely ruins it. You should be expanding your horizons and watching shows you aren't familiar with. And how can you not have time to watch TV when that is part of your job?
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i agree. i remember when everyone was pushing grey's anatomy, ncis, and prison break on me and i just wanted to say, "um, no. not interested. end of story." instead the words that come out of my mouth are, "that's nice. i'll check it out sometime. (never)" and yes, i really want to watch MI-5 and Doctor Who but that'll take way too much time. and that's an understatement.
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chill out, damn so someone wants to introduce you to a good show, remove the stick
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Another TV.com writer who thinks she's better than everyone else. That's just getting boring.
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well... for me it's one of the best parts about watching movies, following TV series, reading books, listening to music, attending plays; introduce others to it - and to have people around you introduce yourself to their favorites. It's also one of the main reasons why to buy DVDs (and soft cover books, for that matter) - to be able to have others borrow it from you. But of course - if the recommendations are limited to something like "You have to watch 'Fringe' because its SOOOOOO awesome, Peter is SOOOO hot", I'm just as good without it. A recommendation worth the name should have some sort of valid backup :)
To get to know what other ppl like to watch/read/listen to (and the reasons why) is a great way to get to know them. And a straight out question to you, Emily: If no one were to talk about what they like to see, how the heck would you know what to start seeing? Zapping around randomly? Watching through every trailer, hoping to spot the diamonds among the trash? Only watch shows with a specific actor/writer/director/creator (and thereby largely missing out of new experiences)?
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A good example of this is Lost, people can get so nuts over it. It was a great show, but admittiedly, not everyone's cup of tea. And recommending is not the same as badgering. A statement my 80 year old Italian old school neighbor says to me, "You a dunno what you a missin', John." - talkinin' about some squid-based pasta dish, drives me nuts. But he's a nice guy, so whadda you a gonna a do?...
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there's nothing wrong with hyping shows that are underrated. you should watch supernatural if you don't. and Weeds while your at it.
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How does feel to be the one hired to stir up more S@*t than Tim?
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Wait all 3 of the shows in your picture did change my life! You have to watch them! :)
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Hahaha I think there are just two different types of people in this world. People obsessed with television shows (myself being one of them) and people who aren't obsessed with television shows (though that doesn't mean they can't still enjoy them) I have absolutely no problem starting a show that already has 5 seasons or even 7. The more seasons to catch up to the better! That means more of the show I get to enjoy at my own leisure! The second I catch up I'm going to have to actually WAIT to see the next episode! Torture! I guess tv addicts should stick to advertising to other tv addicts and stop bothering the sane ones who have a life :p
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I agree totally. I love TV, and I don't have the time to watch everything I'd like, but the more hype something gets, the more you're let down by it. Most of my life I've heard that Buffy is the TV equivalent of Citizen Kane (not in those exact words, but we have all heard the hype). I resolved to watch it and, four seasons in, I'm thinking it's good but I'm not blown away. Same with Battlestar Galactica, although that's more because it's the most depressing show I've ever seen. BG is like Blade Runner - it's quality programming, well written and acted, but not incredibly entertaining. (Just my humble opinion, I know I just pissed off a thousand different ppl with this)
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you sould really watch V then , Just kidding very nice points :)
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Wooooow. This is like the best article I have ever read on tv.com. You are so right. Even though I think you should have included Two and a half men :)). I mean BRAVOOOO Emmily :))
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hey your the idiot that picked the job deal with it. Every job has its flaws and yours is about tv and dealing with comments. Although I have to admit that would be quite annoying
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Wow. TV.com has the worst set of staff writers I've ever seen on a website. All you people seem to do is complain about one thing or another. I'd kill to get paid to watch TV and write about it.
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I guess there is no real tv news to report on today?
I think I'd rather have the old recycled stories show up on the site rather than this.
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A person who's job it is to write about television (both new and sometimes old) complains about having to do it...okay then. Freaks and Geeks is pretty great though.
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Lol. She's not the joke, you guys are. First of all, just because she's a woman doesn't mean it's her time of the month. It's such an overused thing to say when you can't think of anything clever. Second, just because it's her job to write about television doesn't mean it's her job to spend all her time on her couch and keep up with every show out there, just like it's not an algebra teacher's job to teach geometry. And third, with most shows you can't just hop in on the fifth or so season. That's like telling someone to hop in on the middle of Lost and they'll totally understand what's going on. Everyone on this site is so hypercritical. TV isn't a science, it's all a matter of opinion. She has a right to rant, I would too.
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This would all be well and good if it wasn't this writer's JOB to WRITE ABOUT TELEVISION. This is like a math teacher complaining because someone approaches him or her with a question about algebra.
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Why bother to catch up? Just throw yourself at the nearest season premiere and see if the show can capture you. If it can, you follow the rest of the season, if it really can, you'll WANT to catch up on the rest of the series. That's what I do all the time and it works perfectly. As for show's that have ended, I don't bother, they are dead and gone and I missed the viewing experience.
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The only shows that I try to get people to watch are 24 and Avatar: the Last Airbender, both of which are over. I tried other shows, but I got my friend into Heroes, which turned out to be a major waste of time since he stopped watching after the season 3 finale despite my insistence that season 4 was picking up. I learned my lesson, so I am only sticking with those two shows.
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article FAIL
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You have some issues woman!
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Wow, this is so the opposite of how I feel about TV. I love turning people onto new shows - in fact, I consider it something of a specialty of mine - and I love it equally much when people tell me about shows they love. What show it is tells me something about them, and the fact that they're doing it tells them that they're thinking enough about me to recommend a show they've decided I might like. I love nothing better than chatting with my friends about TV shows we have in common - why would you want to stop that?
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Wtf?
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Do tv.com journalists get a free pass like once a year to just use up space on the home page to tell their friends ( WE don't know who they are) how annoying they are? Must be great working there
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"I don’t want to hear another word about Battlestar Galactica or its super-awesome ending."

What friends have told you that? Everyone I know, including myself, thought the ending was garbage.
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