One part free writing, one part rant, this is my Dear John letter to television:
I know this isn’t going to come as a surprise, but I need to put it out there: you and I are finished.
We have been growing apart for a long time now, Television, but I have always given you the benefit of the doubt. I’ve put up with years of head games and broken promises. You gave me shows like Sliders and Enterprise, which should have been oh so good, but just weren’t. You promised to treat me like an adult, but you talked down to me, treated me like I was stupid. I can only take that for so long Television. I know you still have The Big Bang Theory, and that’s great, but Here Comes Honey Boo Boo? What the hell is that?
My first clue should have have been the Smurfs. Remember how you told me that there were only one hundred Smurfs plus or minus Smurfette? But then that wasn’t enough for you. You started adding in more and more: children and babies and Grandparents. From where Television? From where?! You didn’t think I’d remember, did you? You thought I was just a stupid kid. You thought I’d just keep watching.
Well, I did keep watching. Because I loved you. I saw the great things you could be. I saw the Muppets, and Sesame Street while the hippies were still in charge. Their relentless optimism was infectious, and it still makes me smile. I saw Star Trek, which for all its papier mache boulders and repetitive redshirting, gave me the idea that that one day there would be a wonderful future where colour, or gender, or religion wouldn’t matter. I thank you for those things. I really do. But those good memories aren’t enough anymore.
One more thing Television. This may hurt, but I’m just going to say it straight out: you are not the internet.
You need to stop offering up segments, or even entire programs, devoted to clips you found on the internet. Why do you treat me like I don’t know what the internet is? If I wanted to watch the internet, I would watch the internet. Remember the “If I wanted water” guy? I know you do, well it’s like that. Am I being petty? I know America’s Funniest Home videos did it, and to great success but that was before the days of YouTube and Reddit. I had to get my cat video fix somewhere. I’m not proud.
Aw Television, don’t be that way. We both know this has been coming for a long time. But we had some good times, didn’t we? I’m going to be the first to admit that. You gave me Connections with James Burke, and I’ll always love you for that. I’ll never forget that you gave me the X-files, even though it went to hell after season three and turned into an unwatchable mess by the end. Remember when you could learn something on the Learning Channel? I do. But now all I’m learning is how very different you and I have become. I’m not interested in the private lives of every screwed up weirdo in the free world. It was fun at first, I have to admit, but now it’s getting more than a little creepy.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to abandon you at the side of the road. We have to think of the kids. I know that. I’ll still sit politely through Pokemon, and Phineas and Ferb because that’s when you are at your best. We both get that. In any case I suspect the kids will see through you eventually. Just like I did. You can only feed them half-hour long toy commercials for so long before they cotton on to your games. The kids are smart, smarter than you give them credit for.
You may think I’m just being mean, nitpicking like this, but this is also a warning Television. It’s not just me. If you keep offering up nothing but inane reality shows, and melodramatic ‘news’ that could just as easily be read by Kent Brockman, you are going to lose everyone who matters to you.