No, You Don’t Have To Watch Every Single Show On TV

Last night, Westworld’s second season wrapped up and brought with it an incredible revelation: I am never, ever going to watch this show.

Which isn’t anybody’s fault. I’m sure everybody who works on Westworld works very hard. I love the actors in Westworld, and I like a lot of people who also really like Westworld. It’s a show — I think? — about robots and old-timey outfits (the wild West?) and time travel (or something) and  it subverts reality and makes a lot of people mad. (This is what I’ve gleamed from what I’ve seen on Twitter.) But, in the immortal words of Jack Berger in Sex and the City’s fifth season: I’m sorry, I can’t, don’t hate me. Add it to the heap currently populated by The Wire and Game of Thrones. It’s just not going to happen.

There comes a time in everybody’s life when they re-examine and re-assess what they have the bandwidth to keep caring about. The older you get, the more that space gets taken up by Real Life Issues and Various Misc., so any room left for TV and music and movies gets whittled down until it’s compact enough to fit. Ten years ago, I watched every TV show that existed even if I really hated it. (And I still had FOMO.) Last night, I baked two pies and a cake and watched PBS’ Secrets of Westminster for the 11th time. I’m choosy. I can’t emotionally invest in a new storyline with new characters when I’m already baking my feelings away. But when I’m in it, I’m fucking in it, and I will try and acquire the pink Mrs. Maisel Pyrex to prove how much.

The thing is, you can’t consume everything. It’s impossible to add every must-watch-whatever to your list and still function as a person who has a job and friends and desire to breathe fresh air outside. And the thing is, when you realize that FOMO is a terrible reason to consider watching a million-season television show about dragons and castles, you also realize you’re also not missing out on very much anywhere outside that hour on HBO. We’re grown-ups: the revelation that you don’t watch Whatever-Everyone’s-Watching isn’t going to halt a conversation with a record-scratch and 45 minutes of shaming. (I mean, yes, if you say you’ve not seen Mad Men, I will say “Oh, you should see it!!!!!!” and tell you 1014924 reasons why, but if you’re still not sold, I know there’s nothing I or anyone else can say to convince you otherwise.) You’re still going to have friends to eat lunch with. You’ll still be able to participate in 98% of all conversations, unless you work at the network that produces said TV show. And even then, I’m sure the last thing anybody there wants to talk about is the ins and outs of the cowboy robot show.

Plus, you just don’t have to invest your time in everything, especially since your time is valuable. Culture isn’t social currency, and it’s not the indicator with which your worth is measured. Plus, some of us (hi) just don’t want to watch something we don’t want to watch. I don’t want to watch Westworld. I don’t want to watch Game of Thrones. I saw one season of The Bachelor and that was about five years ago, and it was the Canadian one. (Yikes.) And it’s fine. You’ll be fine. Ed Harris, who stars in Westworld, will be fine. (I assume. We’re not close.)

That said, you guys have seen Mrs. Maisel, right?


Tags: Anne T. Donahue, FOMO, Game of Thrones, topstory, westworld

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