What I’ve Been Reading: April 6, 2014

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Get your reading glasses on. It’s time to be amazed by what the Internet has to offer! More

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The 2012-2013 Refrigerator Rants End-of-Season Awards

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It’s time to (belatedly) celebrate the end of the television season by giving out meaningless awards!

Sorry for being so late with this. I’ve been busy with other things and haven’t had much time to reflect on the TV season that just passed. But more importantly, I had a lot of frustrations with TV dramas this past season, which sapped my motivation to do these awards. But this has become somewhat of a tradition at the blog, so despite the drama categories being even thinner than last year (based on what I watched), I’m still going to pick my favourite performers and TV shows. The awards can be found after the jump. More

New Girl Versus the Will-They/Won’t-They Trope

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I don’t have time to post an extensive essay this week (Internet life, meet real life), but I wanted to share some thoughts on what one my favourite comedies, New Girl, has been doing this season. In particular, I wanted to talk about what the show has been doing with Nick and Jess, who are currently in the midst of one of the most interesting romantic sitcom subplots in recent memory. More

Some Thoughts on How I Met Your Mother’s Icky Proposal

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It finally happened. Last night, after several seasons of back-and-forth and missed opportunities, Robin and Barney finally got engaged on How I Met Your Mother. The engagement was the result of an elaborate play by Barney that involved making Robin jealous by pretending to date her coworker, Patrice. It was wickedly convoluted in a way that only Barney could dream up, and in many ways, it was a fitting way for him to propose marriage. But it still rubbed me the wrong way, and not for the reasons that you might expect. More

The 2011-2012 Refrigerator Rants End-of-Season Awards

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The 2011-2012 television season came to a close last week with the end of May sweeps, so now it’s time for me to honour the best of what I watched with my annual fake awards show. The only problem is that it’s proving to be a little more difficult than last year. More

Why I Have Different Problems With How I Met Your Mother Than Everyone Else Does

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How I Met Your Mother is now four episodes into its seventh – that’s right, seventh! – season, and so far, the reaction has been the same it has been for the past couple of seasons. There are those who complain that the show has totally lost its way since season 3 or 4 and wish it would revert back to its old style, and there are those who still think that the show is a pretty good way to spend half an hour every Monday night.

As for me, I used to think I fell somewhere between the two camps, but now I’m not so sure. Last week’s “Ducky Tie,” the third episode of the season, was a referendum of sorts for HIMYM fans. It marked the return of Victoria, played by Ashley Williams, one of Ted’s love interests from season 1 and probably one of the most loved characters in the show’s history. It consisted mainly of Ted telling the story of a night he spent with Victoria, while he was at dinner with his friends. The reaction to “Ducky Tie” – both from critics and fans – was overwhelmingly positive, with some of them calling it the best episode in years.

But me? I strongly disliked it. It was a step above such duds as “The Yips,” “Benefits,” or “The Perfect Cocktail,” but it was by far the worst of this season’s first four episodes. That got me thinking: am I watching this show differently than everyone else is? I’m starting to think that I might be, and I’ll examine why after the jump. More

Kicking the Habit: Why It’s Easy to Give Up on Some TV Shows and Hard to Give Up on Others

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As you may have noticed, I stopped writing about Wilfred a couple of weeks ago, not because I stopped watching, but because I couldn’t bring myself to care enough about it to put my fingers to the keyboard and type 400+ words about it. The show has thus far been a mixed bag. I like the concept, and Jason Gann and Elijah Wood have great comic chemistry, but the execution usually falls flat. For that reason, I’ve voiced my disappointment about the show in various fora, both on- and offline. But to my dismay, in those fora, I’ve been met with the question: “So why are you still watching?”

My knee-jerk reaction, if I’d chosen to express it, would have been, “Why the hell do you care? It’s none of your business why I do what I do.” In many cases, being asked why one is still watching is a way to dismiss legitimate complaints as mindless kvetching from the peanut gallery, and it detracts from valuable discussions of a critical nature.

However, I still think it’s a valid question. Though TV viewers are far from the hyperrational model of Homo Economicus espoused by the mathematically-inclined, they don’t subject themselves to torture for no good reason. It’s therefore odd that so many people watch TV shows and perpetually complain about how awful they are (the cathartic benefit of complaining aside, of course). In the case of Wilfred, I can provide reasons for why I’m still watching: I like the ideas, I like the cast, and I think the show has the potential to improve. I stuck with Traffic Light for its entire run for similar reasons, despite the fact that the show almost never made me laugh:1 I loved its low-key vibe, and I sensed the possibility of improvement in its future (which never came because the show was cancelled. Oh well.)

But what about shows that have been running for a long time, or shows that used to entertain me, but no longer do? In those cases, the “I think it’ll get better argument” doesn’t work as well. I watch a surprising number of series like that. I recently realized that fact when I noticed that three of the series that I wrote about in my “Five Shows That Should Have Been Cancelled” post (henceforth referred to as “RR1”) a few weeks ago were also mentioned in my “Epic Fail” post (henceforth referred to as “RR2”) from last summer. In other words, this past season, I watched three series that I had vowed to abandon. After some self-reflection, I’ve been able to put some explanations for my TV watching habits to words. I can speak only for my personal experience, but I hope that the readers of this blog will be able to relate. After the jump, I’ll take a look at some TV shows that I’ve given up on or tried to give up on, as well as how fandom, critics, and other external factors may have affected my perceptions of those programmes. More

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