Most people gaze neither into the past nor the future; they explore neither truth nor lies. They gaze at their television. – Radiohead
Yeah, that can wait until later. I’m going to watch TV. – Nathan on just about any given day of the week
Ever since I was a child, I have been obsessed with TV. I remember getting up early on Saturdays to watch the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles attack various enemies with weapons that no aquatic freshwater reptiles should have access to. My first exposure to opera was from Bugs Bunny, a fact that would cause great confusion while listening to Ride of the Valkyries many years later in a college fine arts class. I would soak in every second of DuckTales until my brain could no longer differentiate reality from animated ducks getting into all sorts of mischief and/or shenanigans.
If one of these shows was not on, it did not matter. I would watch whatever was on. I would watch it until my father would come and politely tell me it was now time to watch sports and that meant he needed the remote.
This theme carried on throughout my teen years, through college, and up until very recently. I have watched every episode of Scrubs. Yes, I am even including the ninth season when Zach Braff had departed. I jammed 58 episodes of Arrested Development, 201 episodes of The Office, and unknown episodes of hundreds of other shows into my brain.
Then abruptly, I kind of stopped.
I have no idea what happened. In the midst of runs of some of my favorite shows, I just suddenly stopped caring. Yes, I have continued to watch TV, but for some reason my number of shows that I follow has dwindled down to near nothingness. For the most part, this has been a good thing, I suppose. I have had time for all sorts of activities. At other times, though, it can be a bit of a burden.
Last year, my wife began watching a show called The Following. The show follows a guy who is trying to catch a serial killer that has a following, hence the title. She has become obsessed with this show, anxiously awaiting the next murder-filled blood fest every week.
For the better part of a year, she has been trying to get me to watch this show. It has become like a Public Service Announcement about peer pressure in my home, the only difference being that my wife is pushing television programs, not drugs. If I sat down on the couch with nothing to do, it was as if a weird instinct kicked in. Before I knew it, she would be next to me.
“You know what you should watch?” she would say.
I knew the answer, but I would ask anyway. “What?”
“The Following! You should watch The Following! You would like it. I think you would really enjoy it. Watch The Following! Do it! Watch The Following!” This would proceed for the next 45 minutes or so until she would get bored and move on to the next thing.
Despite her gentle suggestion, I had not watched a single episode headed into this season. This would not be a problem except for one thing: my wife has not forgotten that this show exists.
For the past few weeks, any time TV is brought up, I can be sure the next thing she says will be, “Oh, I really want to catch up on The Following. Let’s watch that.”
The problem with this is I have no interest in watching. It has nothing to do with the show itself. I am sure it is a fine show. If you ignore Quicksilver, The Air I Breathe, Loverboy, Trapped, Death Sentence, The Air Up There, Hollow Man, White Water Summer, or a handful of others, Kevin Bacon has only been in great projects. My hesitancy has to do more with my lack of knowledge in the particular area. Kevin Bacon has spent an entire year hunting a serial killer and I have no knowledge of any of it.
Today I arrived home to find my wife in the midst of an episode. I sat down with her. The following is a conversation that happened while watching:
“Who is that?”
“That’s the girl that killed her mom.”
“Because she lived out in the middle of nowhere and was never able to leave, so she always resented her mother for that.”
“And now those people are going to kill her?”
“Why doesn’t that serial killer guy go save her? He seems to really like her.”
“You know, you have ruined this part of the show for me.”
“Yes, I know.”
Perhaps someday I will catch up and be able to enjoy an hour of tension filled serial killer hunting with my wife. For some reason, though, I doubt it. If I have not started watching it yet, it will probably never happen. I guess I am destined to spend the rest of my life lost whenever I walk into a room where my wife is watching TV. We will begin to drift apart, her to a world filled with fictional serial killers, me into a world without. Our relationship will greatly suffer and we all know who will be to blame.
Thanks a lot for ruining my relationship, Kevin Bacon.