I don’t think people like Game Of Thrones as much as they like telling people they like Game Of Thrones. I’m sure the show is great. Hearing a wizard say, “twas,” “boner,” and “doth” within the same sentence must be pretty awesome. But THAT good? As good as looking at someone at a party you kind-of-know in the face and asking, “You don’t watch Game Of Thrones?” Your tone just condescending enough. Your blood getting that rush from knowing you’re doing this uncultured peon the biggest favor of their life. Your volume risen just enough so other “Throners” can hear you and join the fun, as they sidle up and exclaim, “You HAVE to watch Game Of Thrones!”
Now the group, with a post-key-bump excitement, goes back and forth about life changing scenes and characters that they hate as if they were talking about real people. And the person who doesn’t watch Game Of Thrones is left looking around like a lost virginal child amongst giants as they breathe harder and harder and talk louder and louder until finally someone shouts above the noise, “Ay! ‘Twas John Snow’s boner!” The group laughs and disperses. Their muscles have been flexed. I mean, no show can be THAT good.
This is nothing new. We still see it with Breaking Bad. Tell someone you didn’t like that show and see what happens. It’s like telling someone you wipe your butt from back to front. They’re shocked. They can’t believe you exist, and all of their questions have a judgy, better than you tone. In fact, go try it today. Tell a friend you tried watching Breaking Bad, couldn’t get into it, and then took a dump, and wiped from back to front. They’ll ask, “How could you NOT like Breaking Bad?” “What season did you stop at?” “Didn’t you have health class in middle school?” The tone all matches the girl in a serious relationship questioning her single friend saying, “It was just sex.” I just don’t get the shock. I don’t get the dress-down. And it’s happening all the time for “smart shows.” The Breaking Bads, Mad Mens, Walking Deads, Game Of Thrones.
You could argue that this is socialization. A way to find your own amongst all the dummies watching the Kardashians. You just want to find others with similar interests. You just want to let others know about something you enjoy and they might as well. But if that were the case, wouldn’t people be forcefully pushing me into watching The Big Bang Theory (a top ten watched show every week)? I’d argue it’s because those shows don’t carry the same social currency.
I remember when The Mindy Project premiered. That’s all you heard about from girls. The love for the show was almost gushing. “I looooooooove The Mindy Project” “I literally looooove Mindy Kaling.” Like they needed me to know something about them. That they were someone who supported funny women. That they were someone who supported an ethnic lead of a TV show. This isn’t to say any of those things are bad, and I’m sure that show was as great as she was but saying you liked it was more about you than it was about anything else. I know this because the show was canceled, and that probably had something to do with the fact that most of those gushers were flat-out lying. Saying they watched it was more personally beneficial than actually watching. Sure, the show got picked up by Hulu but tell me how much that matters after you tell me how you enjoyed the most recent season of Community (also gushed about, also picked up by a streaming network, also not really watched that much). Those shows get canceled and yet the Kardashians get more spinoffs.
Recently, I was telling some people I never really liked Breaking Bad. One particularly offended girl told me that I had to watch it for the cinematography. I asked pretty honestly, “What’s cinematography?” And she had no idea. This is the exact reason people brag about the shows they watch. Watching Breaking Bad or Game Of Thrones or any of these shows is like buying a winning lottery ticket to intellectualism.
Nobody will question you on the words you use or the other choices you make because you’re on team “Smart TV Show.” That’s why they keep pushing and prodding. That’s why someone you don’t even know is telling you how to spend your Sunday night. They don’t care about you; they just want to be able to use the word “irony” without being questioned on if the usage was correct. It makes me feel dumb. I don’t know why I attended college or hung up my diploma. Those don’t really matter. I should have just watched a wizard talk about his boner..
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