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December 15, 2010

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99

I think Fringe forgives you. In part, because I have made up with repeated watchings and glares at my roommate when he asks too many questions during the show.

I'm starting to get to the guilt point, especially with Chuck, Community and 30 Rock. Mostly because...well, I have largely abandoned them. And Chuck and Community could use the support. But I got really busy with real-world events in September and October and so I've been far behind on everything. But I've also chosen to keep on top of certain shows (like Fringe) so that I can watch the new episode when it comes out. Other things...they just pile up. And look longingly at me as I scroll past them on my DVR.

It's symbiotic relationship, isn't it? Obviously, we get the jolt of narrative drama, but it does at least feel like they get something do. Like they need you to watch. And not just in the ratings sense. There's something that goes back. Or maybe I've just been watching too much Fringe.

I don't know if you're a sports fan, but I've heard sports fans talk about it, too. That if they're not watching the game, they're afraid, in a real, sympathetic magic way, that the team will lose. It's a weird phenomenon.

Anyway. Also languishing on my DVR: Raising Hope, House and Human Target. And I know I still won't get to them for another week or two. Thank God for winter hiatus.

Eric Pfeffinger

I feel a nagging sense of obligation when my attention to a TV series lapses, very similar to what I feel when I'm having trouble making my way through a book (I'm lookin in your direction, Lord of Misrule). But in both cases that guilt is tempered by a confidence that the fault is the show's. Despite being busy I do manage to make time for shows I adore, like Community, while shows for which my admiration is more abstract or lukewarm (like Modern Family) languish on my DVR. I watched Battlestar Galactica rabidly and approvingly (yes, all the way through the end) but making myself cue up Caprica was a chore. I left Lost after the third episode and never looked back.

I often hesitate to delete those languishing shows, just as I usually plod my way to the end of the books, so that sense of obligation and vague commitment is real. I've got four Detroit 187s sitting on my DVR right now.

I'm also cognizant that my choice to stick with a show may not have much to do with its quality. I actually thought Caprica was a smart, well-made show, but it didn't deliver me enough pleasure to keep me coming back. I loved Rescue Me but fell out of the habit of watching it in the third year for logistical reasons and just never made my way back. And I happen to think Parenthood and (yes) The Walking Dead aren't very good (well written, well made, or smartly plotted) shows at all, but I've been keeping up with them because something about them satisfies me--the relative novelty of their milieus on the TV schedule, maybe. But clearly I'm asking something different (less?) of them than I asked of Deadwood or The Wire or Arrested Development or Buffy, and whatever that is, they're delivering.

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