Thursday, May 31, 2012
Breaking Up With Your Favorite TV Show
But just like real-life romances, not all TV relationships are built to last. So how do you know when it's time to cancel your Season Pass and break up with a series that you once promised to love forever? Here's a look at the TV shows I broke up with this season, my reasons for ending things with each of them, and why I might still booty call one or two after a wild night out.
1. You Broke My Heart
It would be nice if all relationships ended mutually with kindhearted platitudes about remaining friends. But plenty of love affairs flame out in crushing heartbreak, and so it is with TV shows. During its first two seasons, Gossip Girl was a silly little slice of guilty pleasure fun that was filled with dishy OMG moments. The past few seasons have been less good, but I stuck around because I cared about the characters; I wanted to see them grow up and succeed. And that's exactly why this year's season finale was so heartbreaking. When the characters weren't doing things that were completely out of character, they were acting like real jerks and rehashing tired relationship plot lines.
"Why are we doing this again?" "I have no idea." (CW)
Gossip Girl fans love to debate the show's romantic pairings, but at this point in the game arguing against a Chuck and Blair reunion is a moot point. They are, for better or worse, the show's most iconic couple and there's no way that Gossip Girl will end its run without the scheming Upper East Siders together. But why cram that reunion into the last few episodes of the currrent season? Why have the Dan and Blair relationship (which the writers had been building to for at least a full season) end with barely a goodbye? Why have Chuck spurn Blair for what felt like the millionth time? Why have Serena become impossibly unlikeable by making her sleep with her best friend's boyfriend AGAIN? And why, oh god why, have Lily choose the jerky husband who pretended to be dead over the husband she spent years pining after?
I love dramatic twists and soapy shockers, but when the credits rolled on the GG season finale I was left hating pretty much every single character on the show (except poor, sweet Nate, who might as well be furniture for all he contributes at this point). So fare thee well Gossip Girl. We'll probably fall back into bed at some point when they start airing your reruns on SoapNet, but for now we're through. Don't call me.
2. I Can't Handle The Commitment
You guys are SO needy. (Fox)
In today's busy world, it can be hard to find the time for romance. Between work, family, friends, and keeping track of Channing Tatum's current level of undress, it's sometimes tough to make time for the TV you love. With so many networks and series, something's gotta give—and it's usually the needy shows. You know, the ones that air an insane amount of audition episodes, two-hour performance specials, and endless results shows. American Idol, The Voice, and Dancing With the Stars, I'm talking to you. You're just too demanding for your own good. I'm a busy woman with needs, and I feel like our relationships are so one-sided. It's all about you, you, you. I ended things with your results shows a long time ago, but now I'm feeling torn about giving you up entirely.
The good news is that our relationships can be saved. Give me more talented performers during the audition rounds (and, by extension, less whackos), and tighter, more streamlined performance episodes that don't leave me with my finger constantly pressed against the fast-forward button. And have you considered doing away with the bloated results shows? That's what So You Think You Can Dance is doing this summer, and it's already looking sexier. Think about it.
Now that I've gotten my own relationship drama off my chest, tell me: what shows did you break up with this season? Which of your current TV relationships are on the rocks? Which shows are you having trouble quitting even though you know they're bad for you? Sound off in the comments!
3. It's Not You, It's Me
Say what you want about Glee, but the Fox musical dramedy has been remarkably consistent in its inconsistency over the past three seasons. It's always been prone to jubilant bouts of senselessness, wildly inconsistent characterizations, and side-eye inducing story lines (remember Terri's fake baby?). But the frothy whimsy of the singing and dancing, along with the undeniable talent of the core cast, had always been enough to keep me vaguely interested. Even though I was rolling my eyes at Glee, at least I was enjoying it.
This season felt different, though. Somewhere between Finn publicly outing Santana, Quinn's idiotic attempt to take down her daughter's adoptive mother, and Sue marrying herself, I realized that something had changed. Instead of being amused by the show's antics, I was annoyed. When I tuned in on Tuesday nights, it was just so I could deride the show's latest implausible plot twist. I was hate-watching Glee. And while there are tons of TV fans who derive a perverse pleasure from publicly complaining on Twitter and message boards about how much they hate a show they're watching, I'm not one of those fans. So I pulled the plug on Rachel, Kurt, Puck, and the rest of the McKinley High gang. Glee had stayed pretty much the same. I just stopped enjoying it.
4. I'm Just Not That Into You
Please don't send me to my room... (ABC) Let's say you're dating this ostensibly awesome guy that all of your friends adore. They think he's totally hot and obviously perfect for you and isn't he just the funniest and yada yada yada he's definitely the one and you'd be a fool to let him go. The only problem? You don't really like him all that much. Sure, he ticks off all the boxes of what you're looking for, but there's no spark. No chemistry.
That's how I've been feeling about Modern Family. It's one of the highest-rated comedies on television and it's been nominated for (and won) just about every TV award there is. Everyone I know loves it and the Modern Family audience has grown steadily during its three seasons on the air. But I'm just not that into it. Don't get me wrong, I think that everyone involved with the show is insanely talented. I also think that Ty Burell, Julie Bowen, Eric Stonestreet, and the rest of the cast deserve the Emmys they already have, along with all of the others that they'll probably eventually go on to win. But when a 22-minute episode of comedy sits on your DVR for three weeks, perhaps it's time to call it quits. Just because Modern Family is a great show doesn't mean that I'm meant to watch it.
5. We've Grown Apart
A relationship with a television show, like a real life romance, is full of highs and lows. There's the bubbly excitement of the first few episodes when you find yourself thinking, "Wow, we have so much in common!" There's the first season's cliffhanger ending that gets you all hot and bothered, and the perfectly paced Season 3 story arc that finally makes you admit that, yeah, you're definitely in love. But then somewhere down the line, the heady fervor of those early days starts to wane. The show you loved so desperately isn't acting like itself anymore—it's changed. Or maybe you're just too afraid to admit to yourself that you've developed feelings for other shows.
No hard feelings, Jim and Pam (NBC). That's how I felt about The Office and How I Met Your Mother this season. Both long-running comedies used to hold very special places in my heart—the love story of Jim and Pam, in particular, was something I once waxed poetic about on a weekly basis. But after eight and seven seasons, respectively, the magic was mostly gone. Sure, there were still a few episodes that reminded me of what we once had, but the quality of both shows was (and I'm being generous here) pretty uneven. So I figure it's better to break up now. We'll always have Hulu.
It seems like just yesterday when we met. I was coming out of long-term relationships with shows like Lost and 24, and you were there to pick up the pieces. We laughed together, cried together, and sang songs together like two love-crazed teenagers. I drew hearts around your name in my journal and even dared to hope that maybe — just maybe — you might be the one.