Listen, I get it. People like what people like, and, with so many options available, complaining about the inferior choices made by others is kind of pointless and petty when you could just as easily skip those things altogether in favor of something else. So, in that respect, that I'm about to spend a couple thousand words of column space explaining why the shows a lot of you enjoy are a little more beloved than they deserve to be might seem like kind of a dick move.
I should have a trophy for those by now.
Again, I get that, but at the same time, no one's forcing you to read this, either, you know? It's not like the Internet community just moves on to the next article in relative silence when Cracked publishes something they find objectionable. If what happens in the comments section in those instances played out in real life, we'd have the National Guard at our office on a weekly basis. Glass houses, motherfuckers.
So, with that in mind, damn your television choices. That's the topic of discussion on this week's Unpopular Opinion podcast ...
... where I'm joined by Rotten Tomatoes editor Sarah Ricard and musician Danger Van Gorder from the band Countless Thousands. Our first order of business on the show, as it will be in this column, is to talk about the single most inexplicable success story on television today.
#5. The Big Bang Theory
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Who are you people? The people watching The Big Bang Theory, I mean. Show yourselves. The world demands explanation. I mean that, too. In every way, shape, and form, this is the Justin Bieber of television shows. It's massively popular, the highest-rated comedy on television, in fact. That means a lot of us are watching it, but go ask 10 of your friends if they do and see how many admissions of guilt you get. It's not going to be a huge number, and not just because huge numbers aren't really possible if you're only asking 10 people.
That's exactly how it should be, though. This is not fandom you should take pride in.
If you're unfamiliar, the basic problem with the show is that it's goddamn terrible. I said as much on Twitter recently and the outpouring of support I received will probably keep me depression-free for the next six years.
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Everyone hates you, Jim Parsons.
As you can clearly see, my devoted army of approximately 80 fans (on a good day) vehemently agrees with my assessment. Meanwhile, I didn't get much in the way of objections from fans of the show. So, what gives?
Easy: this is a show for old people who are curious about what life is like for their kids who never call them. While you're out there meeting dates on the Tinders and sending out Facetweets, your poor parents are at home, desperately hoping someone will tell them what those words mean, thus giving them some sort of means to reconnect with the child who abandoned them immediately upon turning 18.
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"This flip phone's probably older than you, grandma."
You kids like your computers and so do those kids on this show -- you guys must be the same! Next thing you know, mom is shouting "Bazinga!" at the dinner table at Thanksgiving, confident that such an outburst isn't even going to make you vomit a little.
Fortunately, this presents a huge opportunity for a lot of us. If your dislike for The Big Bang Theory is such that you'd like to see it jettisoned from a prime-time lineup you don't watch anyway, there is one clear and present way to make that happen. Simply put, just start calling your mother.
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"No, mom, not even Timmy. The show literally makes him ill."
A little bit of regular contact will keep your parents from seeking insights and information on the unfunny shores of The Big Bang Theory. They just want to know what life is like for their little pride and joy (that's you, believe it or not), and this show claims to have that information. Unfortunately, the only thing they're going to learn is that you enjoy obnoxious catchphrases and jokes that aren't actually funny (or jokes), as once displayed in a famous video of The Big Bang Theory with the laugh track edited out.
Don't let that video form your family's opinion of you. For all intents and purposes, The Big Bang Theory exists because you're all a bunch of shitty, inconsiderate kids who don't respect your parents. Call your family regularly and this show dies. It's as simple as that, you ungrateful bastards. Get to it.
#4. Doctor Who
Is there anything on television right now that polarizes society quite like Doctor Who? There are only two sides you can be on in relation to this show -- either you hate it, or you're wrong.
Fortunately, I fall into the former category. No, I don't need to watch the first 37 seasons to get into it. No, it will not be better now that there's a "new doctor." Nothing that can ever happen will change my stance on this show.
I'm not even sure where to start as far as reasons why I can't stomach it. For one thing, has there ever been a time when this show didn't look like the most low-budget shit ever?
Doctor Who has been on the air since way back when your parents were still fucking. Special effects have been evolving that entire time, but you wouldn't really know it watching this public-access-looking nonsense. I get that when it first premiered back in the late 1800s or whatever the hell, having a phone booth for a spaceship and garbage cans for enemies made perfect sense. It's 2014 now, though. Update that shit.
I'm positive you can defeat this by just walking away.
Just look at that fucking thing. There are at least 15 people on the Cracked staff right now who could build a more menacing villain using nothing but spare shit we have lying around the office. I'd ask what the budget for this show is but I've been convinced for a long time now that it doesn't have one.
This staunch refusal to change shit is even more frustrating given the fact that "the doctor" turns into a completely different person every few years.
It's like a timeline of the history of boring.
If you're fine with making that kind of change, updating the shit happening around him shouldn't be that much of a stretch, right?
It will never happen, though. Doctor Who has had an untold number of decades to transform itself into something that doesn't look like a Saturday morning cartoon come to life and has made absolutely zero strides in that direction. Don't expect that to change anytime soon.
#3. True Detective
OK, take it easy! Just hear me out. I AM NOT SAYING THIS IS A BAD SHOW. Who am I kidding, you're not even reading this anymore. That's fine, I'll explain anyway. True Detective was a fantastic show. The only thing that made it less enjoyable than it deserved to be was us.
I blame Lost. You remember that show, right?
This was the only part that made sense.
It's the reason we, as a society, are completely and totally unable to watch any show that holds even a scant amount of mystery without assuming there's some bigger meaning at hand. Every episode of Lost was just another step closer to us still not knowing what the fuck was going on. We sure as hell tried to figure it out, though, well before the series was even close to ending. There were entire websites dedicated to trying to make sense of it all. Unraveling the mysteries of Lost, at some point, became way more enjoyable than the show itself.
That's what we wanted True Detective to be, but I'm not really sure why. The name of the show is True Detective. What about that implies some kind of hidden twist or meaning? It was a buddy cop show, for all intents and purposes, and it was a damn fine one. That's especially true if you go back and watch it again without expecting to uncover the entire meaning of life every time you see the color yellow in the background.
If you look close enough here, you'll see Matthew McConaughey filming a scene in a regular-ass show about police.
All of the unnecessary research and analysis that surrounded that show was, ultimately, what made the ending seem like a disappointment. We were expecting so much more than two cops solving a case. That is completely our fault, though. We aren't content to just watch a television show anymore. We have to dissect it and study it and, hopefully, be the first one to post our mind-blowing theories to the Internet. This isn't a thing that every show requires, we just act like it is, and putting those kind of expectations on True Detective did nothing but set us up for unnecessary disappointment.
The worst part about it is, when True Detective returns for a second season, we'll probably do the exact same thing all over again.