I‘ve written about how I’ve pretty much given up TV. This is nothing new. I haven’t started watching a new show, or continued watching an existing show for two years now. When the Internet explodes with some spoiler bombshell about a television show, I generally have no idea what its about, although I may have heard of the show.
Sometimes, however, the brain needs a break, and by break, I mean something completely mindless. This has occurred more frequently in the last month. I don’t know if this is because of all of the mental energy I spend reading and writing, or if is the result of daily stress, or just a side-effect of getting older. Whatever the reason, I find myself needing to tune out for a while. And so I’ve turned to television.
After the kids are asleep, Kelly and I will watch a show or two. It is almost always one of three shows, always a repeat, and always a comedy. Usually it is either The Big Bang Theory (no real surprise there); How I Met Your Mother; or Modern Family. We laugh together, and I feel relaxed and refreshed afterward.
One thing that I can no longer take, however, not even for two minutes are television dramas1. Even hearing a drama on in the background will force me to relocate, or fish out my noise-cancelling headset. Comedies release tension and allow me to relax; television dramas do the exact opposite. I was thinking about why this should be and I came up with a few possibilities:
- There is enough drama in real-life so that I don’t need it seeping into my relaxation time.
- I no longer find dramas entertaining. These days, it seems that almost all dramas have been forced to become serials, as opposed to series. Story lines last entire seasons and some are designed with multi-season story arcs built-in. Gone are the days of Magnum P.I. when you could be entertained by any single episode, without having to first watch the 50 that came before.
- In the effort to get the highest ratings, dramas up the melodrama to the point where it is just unbearable. Story lines seem to be based entirely on edge-cases these days, with no happy middle ground.
It’s too much for me. There is enough drama in life. Add to that the drama I experience in my reading, to say nothing of the drama I create in my writing, and I think I’m pretty much finished with television dramas for good. This trend of binge-watching seasons of dramas on NetFlix and other streaming services fills me with cold dread.
I recognize that I might be missing out, but I just can’t take the drama. As interesting as the Internet made Breaking Bad sound, I’ve never seen a single episode, and I’m almost certain I never will. On the flip side, the time that I would spend watching these dramas has been filled with other things; more time to hang out with the family, and time to write every day.
While I usually avoid making sweeping assumptions, it seems to me that I can’t be the only one who feels this way about this trend with dramas. Perhaps I am now in the wrong demographic, but it seems to me that the pendulum has to swing back at some point. I wonder if it ever will?
- Which, for Puckish reasons, I’ve taken to pronouncing in such a way that its rhymes with “gramma.” ↩