The world we live in is divided into two kinds of people: those who watch Game of Thrones… and me.
At first there was no reason to fear the truth.
“How about Game of Thrones last night?”
“I don’t watch it.”
But this sort of reply would get me blank stares and, sometimes, adversarial looks. So I reeled it in a bit. For the sake of my social life—which has some impact on my love life—I’ve had to.
“How about that scene when [x character] made a magic potion with [y character]?”
“Want to watch it next week? I’m having a GOT party!”
You see the problem. Either I admit, openly, that I’m interested exclusively in human characters and relationships (and then sit quietly as friends and attractive strangers tell me I’m judgmental and closed-minded), or, for the sake of a good evening and general pleasantness all around, pretend to care about dragons.
“Why don’t you just try it?” they ask.
Of course they don’t mean that. As veterans of long-form television, by now we know one cannot simply “try it” or “give it a chance”; if you want your point of view to be taken seriously at dinner parties—if you want to have stable relationships of any kind in today’s long-form world—one or two episodes will never suffice. Don’t have the time to watch the last two seasons and catch up? Time is not an excuse. Neither is intelligibility. Remember Lost?
“But I don’t really understand what’s going on.”
“You haven’t seen enough,” they’d say. “You have to keep watching.”
“I don’t really like it, though….”
“You don’t know if you don’t like it yet.”
No, you can’t. They won’t let you. The more you struggle, the more your dissent is disqualified. “You just have to watch them all in one day,” they’ll say. Or: “You can’t watch them all in one day. You have to space them out.” Or: “You can’t think about it so literally. It’s not actually about dragons.” (Then why are there dragons in the show?) And it’s not just Game of Thrones or Lost. It’s Mad Men. It’s True Detective. It’s the one with Kevin Spacey in Washington. If you aren’t obsessed with Kevin Spacey in Washington, then something must be wrong with you. Emotionally. Psychologically.
They’ll say, “Don’t you think you’re being… stubborn?”
“Because I don’t love the show? No.”
“You know, that sounds a little defensive.”
I am not a bad person. I answer all my e-mails, I take my own bag to Trader Joe’s, and I give money to homeless people who don’t yell at me. But I don’t know how to dabble in long-form television and I’m on the fence about elfin coitus.