As I was happily going about my day yesterday morning, sitting down at the table to enjoy some breakfast while reading the newspaper, I encountered an article in the Chicago Tribune that really got under my skin. It was an opinion piece written by Mary Schmich, called "Breaking bad on that TV show." You can read it here. In it, Ms. Schmich cops to having never watched Breaking Bad, and then speaks to others who have never seen the show to offer assurances that they are not alone and that maybe it's okay not to watch the show that we will hereinafter refer to as THE GREATEST TELEVISION SHOW OF ALL TIME. She also offers up a set of representative excuses for why it's okay not to watch.
Well, let me offer a kindly rebuke. It is not okay. I've heard these excuses time and time again. They don't just apply to watching THE GREATEST TELEVISION SHOW OF ALL TIME. People use these excuses to avoid all sorts of television that they should otherwise be watching. We could just as easily be talking about why that close friend of yours still hasn't seen The Wire or Friday Night Lights, even though you've wholeheartedly recommended both shows time and time again. The net effect of these excuses is to suggest, in no uncertain terms, that great television is not worthy of one's time, and serves to belittle those who think otherwise and do spend their time on it. In other words, "What, you think you're better than me?"
Television is art and entertainment. It is an important facet of a well-rounded individual. Yes, you should work, exercise, hang out with friends, play with your kids, walk the dog, travel, read, sleep, all that. I'm not suggesting that people all become couch potatoes. That's not healthy. Most television is junk. No, what I'm saying is that you should carve out the time to watch great television, especially THE GREATEST TELEVISION SHOW OF ALL TIME. Otherwise, you're just not living a full life.
So, why aren't people watching THE GREATEST TELEVISION SHOW OF ALL TIME? Ms. Schmich presents a few excuses - let's address them.
1. I Don't Have Time. I call B.S. Absent medical demands, you do have time. Stay up 45 minutes later each day. Put off cleaning up the kitchen tonight - it'll just get dirty tomorrow. Watch it on your commute. Whatever. You have time. You just need to make it a priority. If you can spend 3 hours of every Sunday watching a Bears game, you have the time, trust me.
2. It's Too Violent. Okay, fair enough. You don't like violent entertainment. Not your bag. The show is not all violence all the time. Close your eyes during any parts you can't handle. Otherwise, man up. I remember foolishly picking Scream as a family movie during Christmas break back in '97. My Grandma, god bless her, watched the whole thing. Why? She liked the mystery, and that allowed her to get past all the violence. Be more like my Grandma.
3. It's Too Popular. Wait, what? You don't like to hop on bandwagons? Stop being such a hipster. Note to self: if you're not watching THE GREATEST TELEVISION SHOW OF ALL TIME, you are not hip. Fact.
4. I'm Already Hooked On Too Many TV Shows. This one's easy. Dump some of those other shows. They aren't as good as, well, you know what. Don't make me say it again. You're probably watching too much reality TV if you say this.
5. I See Enough Meth and Other Drug-Related Dysfunction in My Job. Okay, I kind of buy this one. I'm a lawyer by day. I hate lawyer shows. Even the reputable ones on right now, like The Good Wife and Suits. But, at least I gave them a try and decided they weren't for me. Don't pre-judge the show. I'm fairly confident you've never seen anything like it in whatever job you have.
6. I Don't Have Cable. Welcome to the '90s, Mr. Banks. All prior seasons are currently streaming on Netflix. A subscription costs about $7.99/month. Or buy the episodes on iTunes, or Hulu. Buy the Blu-Rays. Hell, you can even borrow my copies if it means you'll watch it.*
7. Trying to Catch Up Is Too Daunting. Who cares if you're behind? You have the rest of your life. Watch an episode a week, and you'll get caught up in under a year. Granted, you're probably not going to be able to only watch just one a week, but I digress. Also, you'll probably want to steer clear of all social media come September 29, when the series finale airs. I have a feeling it's going to be spoiler central on Twitter that evening. Tread lightly.
8. I Don't Watch Any Television. Did something happen to you as a child? You may need psychiatric help. I don't understand how your brain works.
9. I Don't Own a TV. Okay, now you're just being creepy. I'm going to call you Buffalo Bill.
Did I miss any excuses? Why aren't you watching THE GREATEST TELEVISION SHOW OF ALL TIME? Fulfill your destiny. Become the well-rounded human being you were meant to be. No more half-measures.
*You cannot actually borrow my copies.
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