Why I don’t watch TV anymore

Am I the only one who’s really annoyed by Lexus commercials? I just find them painful to watch. They seem to follow two different styles. The first style obviously involves the use of half-second clips spliced together to eyeball-wrenching effect, as if their plan is to use nausea to sell expensive cars. The second style uses a kind of twisted capitalistic sense that tries to normalize the idea of giving Christmas gifts that cost upwards of $50,000. Because that’s realistic…

Anyway, on to the point. Which is that I find it difficult to enjoy television shows. In a sense I blame my studies of writing, but the problem started before that. I’ve always been good at spotting patterns. (That’s why I’ve always been good at picking out plagiarized papers, but that’s another post.)

So the problem I have with TV is that I can’t look past the formula. All shows follow a formula. The formula might vary just a bit depending on the genre, but it never varies far. I’ll use cop shows as my example: intro to the crime, gather some info, accusation #1, disprove with more info, accusation #2, disprove with more info, revelation/discovery of obscure(ish) info, final accusation and arrest, a bit of character interplay. That’s it. Change a word or two to fit whichever genre you prefer, and it never ever changes. It even works for sitcoms; trade out accusations for sexist jokes and you’ve got every popular sitcom on the air right now.

And I just can’t stand to watch it anymore. People tell me that there’s more to see than that, but to be honest I don’t want to spend the energy required to analyze it that hard. I’m okay with mindless entertainment, but if I have to work for it to be entertaining, it’s not really mindless, is it? And the pattern bothers me because it turns the structure of the story into a constant, and not even a particularly interesting constant.

Okay, rant over. Needless to say, this makes watching TV even less fun for those around me than it is for me. I recently annoyed Mrs. Geek by pointing out the killer in an episode of one of her favorite shows at the 24-minute mark (of an hour show). She laughed about it afterward, but I could tell it ticked her off in the moment. And to make it worse, I wasn’t even watching the show. I was in the room, but I was reading a book at the time.

So between having to fight to enjoy it and having to fight to not ruin it for everyone, I just don’t watch anymore. It’s better this way.


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