Pop Culture

It’s OK to be a Quitter

I’m usually not a quitter, but sometimes, when it comes to lame television shows, I just have to give up.

The other day my friend told me that finally, she had to pull the plug on one of her guilty pleasures: One Tree Hill. She knew it was a convoluted and incredibly cheesy show, but for some reason, she just couldn’t stop watching it until the end of this season. I understand, because I’ve found myself continuing to watch shows that I no longer have any interest in. I realized though that I only had the strength to quit once my television was taken away from me.

I left for grad school in the summer of 2008 and moved into student housing. It was in an older New York City building, which didn’t have air conditioning and was 1000 degrees even in the winter; I had to leave my window open during snowstorms and wore shorts and tank tops to bed year round. My program was only one year, so it didn’t make sense for me to get a television hookup like some of the guys I lived with who were there for Ph.D.s. Because I only had my laptop, not my DVR, it was time for me to make some choices on what to watch. It was the perfect time to weed out the shows I no longer enjoyed.

The first to go was Grey’s Anatomy, which by that point I was just watching because it was a habit. I stuck with it through the odd Izzy/Denny relationship, even though the plots were inane and I hated most of the characters; in fact, the only one I liked at all was Dr. Bailey. From what I’ve heard, they’ve continued to do some ridiculous plot lines since, including a weird sing-along that I saw a clip of on The Soup. I cringed, and then congratulated myself on cutting the cord.

Why is it that we make ourselves suffer through shows just out of habit? I know a lot of people who admit, “I watch [fill in the blank], even though it’s gotten stupid/boring/unbelievable.” Why is it so hard to just stop watching? The same can be said for books; I’ve started several that I knew wouldn’t get any better, yet I still had to finish the whole thing. There’s nothing wrong with deciding that something’s not right for you, and I certainly didn’t get a cookie for finishing an especially horrible episode of Grey’s. I guess it just doesn’t feel right to not finish something, no matter how bad it is.

So, tell me, what shows did you finally get fed up with? Did you feel empowered when you finally deleted a series from your TiVo?

By Catherine

Catherine is a Southern California based freelance writer, whose work has appeared in everything from the New York Times to Entertainment Weekly. The highlight of her life (so far) was being featured on MSNBC for a story she wrote on Hello Kitty wines...she knew one day her love of all things HK would come in handy.

61 replies on “It’s OK to be a Quitter”

My answers are similar to and different from many of yours!

Glee – quit during the Christmas episode of the most recent season (I just realized that I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t care so I turned it off)
Heroes – sadly quit during the third season (I remained hopeful for so long, but no)
Gilmore Girls – whatever season was on in the fall of 2005, that’s when I stopped watching. (I felt like it hadn’t been as good as it was in the beginning, and that’s also when I went away to college, and I didn’t watch much TV that first year. I’ve been wanting to revisit it, though, so I may start at the beginning and watch the whole thing this summer.)

I could never have given up on Lost (in part because I watched it with a huge group of friends and we kept each other going during the shaky bits), and I still watch Gossip Girl and Desperate Housewives even though they’ve both been making me roll-my-eyes-in-a-bad-way more and more, especially the past season or two.

It’s funny how many of the shows I’ve quit are turning up in the comments! I’m generally a stick-with-it-til-the-end kind of girl, but we download most shows from the States and sometimes they just… stop getting downloaded. I’ve quit:
– Lost (halfway through S2)
– Glee (second season just wasn’t as good as the first, haven’t watched the last few eps)
– Gossip Girl (quit after S2)
– Heroes (halfway through S2)
– Greys (end of S2 – I never really liked it anyway, I just felt like everyone else did)
– House (I still catch a few eps because RahBoy likes it, but I wouldn’t watch it myself)
– Project Runway (when it moved to LA – to me, it peaked in S4)
– The OC (gave up at the end of S3 when the shark had been most thoroughly jumped)
The really sad thing is despite this massive list of shows I’ve quit, I still watch SO much tv. It’s like I couldn’t fit them all into my busy televisual schedule.

Ooh, question for the Persephoneers! I also have a quitting regret, which I’ve since rectified (Angel – I stopped watching after S4, partially ebcause I hated the Jasmine plot and partially because I started college. I now know this was a mistake because season 5 was actually the show’s best season and one of the best seasons of TV in general!). Does anyone else have a show they quit and then went back to?

Ohhh the Jasmine storyline was so icky (nevermind the Connor-Cordelia thang which was the creepiest thing ever). My friend went to Supanova here in Australia and Charisma Carpenter was here and asked about it and she said she still feels yucky about it… S5 was definitely the best – “You’re a wee little puppet man!”.

Yeah, that arc was so icky it doesn’t even bear thinking about. So I just didn’t really watch S5 even though I knew Spike was going to be on it, not least because I was at university for the first time and didn’t have access. So when RahBoy told me it was awesome, I swore I’d get round to it eventually, but I only watched the whole season in full quite recently. What a great season of TV! Not least for the admission that Angel ‘kinda liked’ Spike’s poetry…

Glee: I quite a few episodes into season 2
– The increasing sleaziness of Mr Schue
– Rachel’s awfulness
– Stagnant character development
– Characters like Mercedes, Tina and Mike being pushed into the background.
– Boring repetitive story line

Heroes: I quite a few episodes into season 3
– Season 1 was fantastic, season 2 not so much and season 3 was just awful.

Desperate Housewives: I quite after season 5
– I simply got bored with the lot of them.

Oh man. I used to write down the nights Chuck would air so I’d remember to watch it and then when I gave up Cable, I’d note when it’d hit Hulu.

But after Chuck and Sarah actually started having a normal relationship and Ellie got pregnant, I was done. They made me give up on Casey! Bastards.

If Casey and Morgan were to have a spin off, I’d watch the SHIT out of that show. :)

I cut the apron strings on Gossip Girl (even my lust for Chuck Bass couldn’t keep me in there), One Tree Hill, Smallville, and Supernatural.

I kind of wish American television executives were savvy like British ones seem to be…Brits cut shows before they get overly ridiculous. Then you never have to worry about your love turning to hate…the fond memories will be with you forever.

The Office is a perfect example of this; didn’t it last just two seasons in the UK? The Office (US) is still watchable in my opinion, but it definitely has gone downhill. Now that Michael Scott is gone, I think the show is on its last leg.

I quit Jon and Kate plus 8. Kate is self centered bitch. Fame has ruined her and you see the visable downward spiral from the beginning of the series to now. I am all about family shows…I just love the real life drama. But Kate makes me so freakin mad in her treatment of others that my blood pressure was probably getting into the thousands. So, I quit.

The first episode was good, the second was all right, and it went downhill from there, yeah. It really was a shame because it had such promise! I really particularly love the actor playing the main male detective. I’ve seen him not in character and he even has a different posture and way of walking as Holder! But the script is just awful.

Yes! I’m honestly suprised that more people haven’t brought The Killing up in this post. The season finale is arguably the worst of all time on any tv show ever. The last time I was so annoyed was when Feingold lost his senate seat, seriously, I was that annoyed.

I haven’t watched the original, though I have heard before that it is much better and doesn’t share the annoying traits of The Killing so I’m sure you will enjoy the season! Unfortunately, someone told me who the killer on Forbrydelsen is, so I think that would take most of the fun out of watching it :(

I watch everything on hulu or I never decide to give up on a show, I just find it piling up in my queue and I just don’t ever get around to it. I stopped obsessively checking for new episodes of How I Met Your Mother about a year ago – I guess that was a good time to stop. I’ve stopped subscribing to Glee, House, Fringe. All I get excited about anymore is Castle and The Daily Show.

I quit Grey’s, and Private Practice, and Glee, and Desperate Housewives… and well, everything except Bones, really. Even shows I enjoy watching, I had to stop feeling guilty about not seeing every episode; so I’m a much more casual watcher of the Bachelor, and So You Think You Can Dance, and things like that. The only show I will really never quit until it ends is Bones; I just love the characters too much.

I’ve discovered that I much prefer watching tv shows in rapid succession on dvd after they’re off the air. I can just pick ones that had a good reputation throughout, and go quickly through the rough patches.

I know a lot of people who do that with DVDs, and literally find themselves spending all weekend watching a set (or two, or three, or four…). A lot of them did it for 24, the Wire, the Sopranos, and Lost. I tried to do it with True Blood, but I gave up after two episodes!

So many. I guess maybe I don’t have the same problem? The only one I can say I’ll stick it out to the end is How I Met Your Mother, even though it’s getting bad. It’s the first series I’ve watched religiously, and led me into the ways of making sure I always watch other shows.

But let’s see, shows I have quit… American Idol I quit after the third or fourth cycle, I think? Pretty early on. I just cut all Real Housewives out after the 2nd to last season of New Jersey because I felt way too shady watching Danielle (even though I know she’s gone now, none of those ladies are right in the head). America’s Next Top Model I didn’t watch much of this season because I was so pissed that Ann won the season before, but I know I’ll be right back there for all stars. Also, I saw that somebody further downthread mentioned Secret Life of the American Teenager… I quit it after the first season, then recently caught up with it on Netflix, and once I made it all the way through realized what crap it is and just stopped.

I think that is when I too quit. Was that when the third Tracey/Nikki/whatever triplet showed up?? I remember I couldn’t stand that character and was so happy when she died. Next thing she’s back, oh and she’s one of triplets! It never ends!!

The first season of Heroes was great – good characters, an intriguing premise, decent acting but then it all just went very south after that…

I quit Glee about halfway through the second season, but I hadn’t enjoyed it that much since the first. I kept hoping it would get better, and it didn’t. There were still some excellent musical numbers, but that wasn’t really enough for me to stick around.
I also quit House a few years ago. It hadn’t gotten bad or anything, it was just kind of repetitive and I felt like there were better shows to be spending my time on.

Yeah, Glee was just not as good this season (although there were some great musical numbers). It’s funny because I got into it late during the first season, and then had to watch all the episodes I’d missed on Hulu because I loved it. This year, if I missed an episode, I didn’t really care.

I quit 24 and LOST well before the end, and I gave up on Gossip Girl several seasons ago. I can’t quit Glee. I’ll keep watching next season. I like the songs. I quit American Idol maybe five or six Idols ago, and I don’t miss it a bit.
I’ll usually set the Tivo up to catch new shows if they sound interesting in the hype, but I usually drop most of the new stuff within a few weeks.
I’m kind of a high-maintenance viewer. Except for Glee. They can pant turds in primary colors and I’ll still watch if there’s singing. Ooh, and Army Wives.

I forgot that I gave up Idol! I used to enjoy it, but in 2010 I watched almost every episode and just wasn’t invested in it all. I would usually do dishes or send emails while watching. This year, I had no interest in it, and don’t care for the voice of the winner.

I caught one episode of Army Wives on an odd Sunday at my volunteer job, and even though I haven’t seen any since, I still always hope it’ll be on when I go (it never is). It’s just so shiny happy idealized! All the women are gorgeous and wonderful mothers and all the men are upstanding, despite the show’s drama!

I’m going to be really honest – I still watch Grey’s Anatomy. And that “sing along” episode was friggin’ awesome. It was really well done, honestly. ANY other episode, and that wouldn’t have worked at all. But it did, and it was glorious. But if you just watched a clip online, I can see why it would look silly.

I have to watch my shows to the end. I’m going to tear up a bit when House is finally over, Naruto currently makes me want to throw something, Glee is making me roll my eyes, Secret Life of the American Teenager makes me want to pull my hair out… but I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. Gah. Stupid TV.

I dropped Supernatural from my watch list about five eps in this past season. Nothing about it felt right anymore and it felt like a lifeless shell, well on its way to being silly. I do not regret it. Also, Camelot on Starz, which I want so much to like, but loses me halfway through almost every time. It should just be the Morgan/Vivian/Sybil show as they’re the only characters I’m remotely interested in.

I cut out Gossip Girl during the winter hiatus this season. I probably should have done it at the beginning of the season, really. That was a big one for me. I keep saying I’m going to cut out Bones because it’s just getting silly.
I quit watching Glee after the first season too. I feel like there are others. I cut out a lot of tv shows this year because it felt like I was wasting so much time.

Leave a Reply