By Anne T. Donahue
Tonight, I curled up on the couch and prepared myself for what I hoped would be a routine evening: cushioned between two overweight cats, I would chug my sparkling water until I felt sick and lose myself in Guy’s Grocery Games; a TV show so ridiculous I have to watch it or I will fade away and die.
But alas, my plan was thwarted. For the 42nd week in a row, I was greeted with Halloween-themed baking and/or cooking shows, interrupted only by a series about pumpkin-carving which I absolutely still watched, but hated myself throughout the entirety of it.
I don’t mean to be this way. I like to have fun (sometimes). I like to laugh, to feel joy. I like when other people excel in what they’re good at. I like watching people succeed, to engage in their art, and for that art to be supported.
But I can’t take anymore Halloween baking shows.
I can’t feign interest in a weeks-long series about cakes that look like ghouls. I can’t pretend to be invested in the trials and tribulations of royal icing and the way flooding it will compliment Frankenstein’s monster. Halloween is a fine holiday for fine people, but since September I have been forced out of my go-to routine and into a new one, consisting of very old episodes of Chopped and Kitchen Nightmares. Halloween is for the children; it is a holiday in which kids dress up in costumes and in exchange for a moment of fleeting delight, we award them with pillowcases full of small treats. You can like Halloween as a grown-up, absolutely. But keep it away from my nightly routine.
Am I alone in this? Am I, a person who is too lazy to decorate the house for any event this year, doing it wrong? Please don’t answer, as I don’t care. In the same way I refuse to wear a costume to a Halloween party lest I find myself in Real Talk with someone dressed like a swan, telling me about leaving their spouse, I refuse to tune into a competition series rooted entirely in edible décor. And this is saying something, because I fucking love edible décor: I worship proudly at the altar of Great British Bake Off, and I would do anything to impress Paul Hollywood with my capacity for sprinkling red and green candy on Christmas cookies.
I’m but a small speck in a vast universe, and I believe my request reflects my place. All I ask for on Friday nights is the promise that I can watch various Bobby Flay vehicles from 5 pm until I pass out at some point after 10 30. All it takes for me to feel calm is the knowledge that no matter what time it is on Saturday, I can turn on the television to be greeted by Guy Fieri’s booming voice. On Tuesdays, I was led to believe Chopped would air until the cold light of dawn called for me to turn the television off. I don’t remember what aired on Mondays, but please bring it back.
I don’t mean to ruin everybody’s favourite time. I don’t mean to be the person who is the walking internet equivalent of reminding everybody that James Cameron was the one who drew Kate Winslet in Titanic, effectively ruining the experience for everybody. (Which I am, and which I do.) I don’t know why I can’t just enjoy things or let other people enjoy things or just stream the shows I like to watch because they’re usually all re-runs anyway. I don’t know when I became this person, and I don’t know why I’m (under no circumstances) going to stop. But damn it, I just want my stories back. Please take your zombie cake with the mechanical arms and get them out of my face.
But good luck to the people who made it. I still recognize good art when I see it.
Need a little more Anne? Read more from Anne T. Donahue right here!