I’ve Got a Problem…


There won’t be a new Talking Nerdy episode this week, so I hope this personal look into #brandymelaniethoughts can at least partially fill the void of our inane chats. Sorry for the no episode, but this has been a week and a half. Honestly.

What I’d like to discuss today is my problem with nerds, pop culture and closure. Before you guys grab the pitchforks and torches, I want to point out that this is entirely my problem, and it’s not a real problem so much as it is a hard truth about myself. I’m a show stopper. I don’t mean this in the way that I run onstage halfway through a performance and bring the crowd to tears (although…). What I mean is that I stop watching shows before they finish. This isn’t true of every show, and it’s not forever. I usually go back and watch the end of the show eventually. Most of the time.

I think the problem stems from my fear of closure. If I’ve watched eight seasons of a show, I don’t want the journey to end. I did this with Parks and Rec, the Office, Breaking Bad, the list goes on and on. I just can’t always bring myself to watch the final season of a show until I’m mentally prepared for it to end, which is often way longer than it should be. I don’t know if this is because I’m afraid of how it will end, whether the writers will do it justice, or if it’s more mundane, that I just don’t want the story to end. Normally, I’m pretty good at finishing things, except when it comes to this kind of stuff. I’ve also tried NaNoWriMo for the past few years and never been successful. The final season of Game of Thrones just began – NO SPOILERS, I wouldn’t do that to you – but someone made a joke online that if you don’t finish this season, then nothing bad can happen. The characters will be in a perpetual state of stasis, at least for you. I both hate and love that idea. The love is obvious – I don’t have to watch anyone die or get maimed, or even just lose their faith. But I hate that too. How selfish am I? To force these characters to be in a perpetual state of conflict, simply because I’m afraid of how the conflict ends. I know it’s not real – there are no real dragon fights on Schrute Farms on behalf of the U.S. Parks system. But it’s an energy that I’m putting out into the universe. This might be a bit deep for this not-real problem, but if the effects of a thing are the same, does it matter if that thing is real or imaginary? If you think there’s a murderer in your house and you call the cops, that call still happens whether there is a murderer or not. The effect and the emotions are real, even if the catalyst isn’t. So in a way, am I not just perpetuating the cycle of anxiety? I don’t know, but I think about it quite a bit. 

There’s also the issue of fellow fans. I find it hard to watch shows because there’s so much anticipation surrounding them. I’ve yet to see Inception because it was so hyped. The expectation of greatness puts me off a film or show so quickly. If I never finish the show, then I don’t have to be disappointed, and I also don’t have to explain my thoughts about it to every nerd (and I say that lovingly as a fellow member of the club) I meet who disagrees that Lost is a terrible show. Okay, that’s a bad example, but you get my point. I don’t always want to explain my thoughts on pop culture. I know that’s crazy, but sometimes it’s easier to just not talk about Beauty and the Beast (and how I 100% believe Gaston is a victim). Inevitably, if it comes up, it’s a whole thing with arguments and sources and disagreements on all sides. There’s an element of escapism to pop culture, of easy catharsis divorced from real-world consequences. And isn’t that why we love it? Isn’t that why I can’t stop watching Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit? Why I know pretty much every episode of Bob’s Burgers by heart? I don’t have to think about it, I can just enjoy it. I can be in the moment, even if that moment is fictional. 

I’m trying to be better about finishing shows. And not starting new ones until I’ve finished ones I’m already watching. That being said, I’ve yet to see the third season of A Series of Unfortunate Events or finish Futureman. I still haven’t seen the final six episodes of Breaking Bad or additional seasons of Better Call Saul. I’ve yet to watch the latest season of the Good Place. But, I’m trying! I guess the point is, if you’re a show stopper like I am, you’re not the only one. I get it. I have a list of movies and shows I’ll get to eventually. And maybe some that I’ll never finish.  For me, the journey is sometimes more important than the finale, and I honestly think there’s something to be said for approaching life and pop culture that way. Anyway, just think about it, will you? And I promise I’ll get right on finishing all of these shows.