The Art of TV Recapping or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Little Mistakes

I've been recapping TV shows since January of 2006. It all started with American Idol. I didn't have kids. I didn't have a job. All I had was time, time to watch each show twice, sometimes three times, time to sit there and write down (verbatim) every word that came out of Randy Jackson's mouth.

But still, when it came to recapping the show itself, I was all about speed. That's how this game is played. You watch the show and you get your shit out there as fast as possible in order to beat the glut of people also racing to get their recaps up before everyone else. Many reviewers are lucky to get screeners of most episodes, but not me. I'm like the celebrities in Us Magazine. I'm just like you. I watch the shows live or DVR them, and, without having much time to think, I vomit out my thoughts and press publish. I can't dwell on it. I can't worry that every word, every comment, is perfect.

My process is basically this: 1) Watch the show live, take notes. 2) Check Twitter during commercials. Note what people are talking about. Add my own comments as I see fit. 3) Write the recap. Despite the fact that I do take notes, pages of notes, during the show, I rarely, if ever, check them while writing the recap. If I do, it's usually just to make sure I got a quote right. Most things stick in my head, or I'm painting with broad enough strokes that I don't really care if Michonne was the one who gave Carl the candy bar or vice versa. 4) I read through what I've written once, maybe twice. Then I hit publish, and read it one more time before sharing it.

Yeah, I miss stuff. Sure. I'm sitting there with a computer on my lap, watching live, trying to record everything that happens, every decent line of dialogue (thankfully there's not much of that in The Walking Dead). I don't have the time (or, frankly, the desire) to go back and make sure I missed nothing. Maybe that's problematic. Maybe that's poor journalism. Maybe what I'm trying to do is more about capturing the feel/arc of the show than proving that I know everything about every little thing. I'm always more focused on the big picture -- What does this say about the characters? What does this tell us about where these people are going or where they've been?

I used to get all bent out of shape when folks would call me on the things I missed or correct errors, but now I'm all, whatever. People are always looking to nitpick. Sometimes I deserve a little ribbing and I know it, like the time I had a few glasses of wine and fell asleep during a Breaking Bad episode, but still recapped it anyway. Yeah, I had to own up to that, and I did.

But as far as whether or not the watch chain was the catalyst for Rick figuring out Glenn and Maggie were trapped in Terminus? Well, I just can't give a fuck.

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