The Gift of Giving Up
Dear devoted readers, I assume that when you are not baking bread and working in your stress-reducing coloring books, you are watching your TV or other devices. Like yours truly, you are plugging through series that have the critics enraptured and your friends begging you to watch.
But what happens when you just don’t like a show that Cousin Sandra said “Is so you” or that Rotten Tomatoes rated 100% fresh? And don’t get me started on anyone who suggests a drama, even if it is British, is “as good as Mad Men.” Spoiler alert: It’s never as good as Mad Men.
What do you do? You give up. You may be staying home 24/7, but your time is still valuable. There are too many other entertainment options out there to waste your time hoping a show will get better. Because you know what, it most likely won’t. To inspire you to abandon those unsatisfactory programs filling your queue, and wasting your time, I will share with you several of the shows I deemed unworthy in recent months and exactly when I quit them.
Good Girls - Season 3, Episode 5 - I had almost given up on this ABC drama on several occasions, but it was entertaining and edgy and I appreciated a TV show that dealt with the dire circumstances women can find themselves in. As Good Girls went on, the original “women power” storyline became ridiculously complicated and violent. And when the head bad guy, who is really bad, summarily dispatches the most appealing character in the show, I literally yelled “I’m out” and asked my daughter Emma to let me know when said bad guy finally gets what he deserves if he ever does. Because that episode, I’ll watch.
Run - Season 1, Episode 3 - I really wanted to make it through this seven-episode dark comedy on HBO. I loved the premise of two thirtysomethings who jump on a pact they made in college and after texting “Run” to each other, pack a bag and hop a train together. And I’m a huge fan of Merrit Wever (Nurse Jackie), the female lead. Plus, stuck inside, I was looking forward to living vicariously through characters who actually got to travel. My boyfriend Vinnie agreed to give it a shot and we were enjoying it, despite its flaws until half-way through, when Ruby, a well-educated, successful woman, made her 85th bad decision, We looked at each other and said “Shall we give up?” We aren’t the only ones who ran, as Run did not get a second season.
AP Bio - Season 1, Episode 1/Episode 4 - This NBC comedy about a teacher who refuses to teach, because he’s obsessed with plotting revenge on his romantic rival, has the honor of being the only show I gave up on twice. I watched the pilot in 2018 and decided it wasn’t for me. But when the show came up as a recommendation on Peacock, and reminded me that it featured Patton Oswalt, I thought I’d give it another try. I instantly remembered why I gave up on it the first time, Oswalt is great, but the lead, Glenn Howerton, really annoys me. I didn’t like him in “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” and I didn’t like him here. It’s a shame because the supporting cast is appealing.
Hollywood - Season 1 Episode 4 - This Netflix series had “Amanda” written all over it. “A group of aspiring actors and filmmakers in post-World War II Hollywood try to make it big — no matter the cost.” Showrunner Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, Pose and many more), promised to mix fact and fiction and put his own spin on old Hollywood. Here is the problem, I am not a fan of Murphy’s spin, which often sacrifices reality and what makes sense for what will shock and entertain. Even excellent turns by Patti Lupone and Dylan McDermott couldn’t save this show.
Space Force - Season 1, Episode 3 - I’ll let my daughter Emma review this Netflix comedy for you, because it’s perfect. “It’s created by the guy who did The Office and Parks and Rec. It’s got Steve Carell, Lisa Kudrow and John Malkovich, why isn’t it funnier?”
Little Fires Everywhere - Season 1, Episode 4 - Reese Witherspoon! Kerry Washington! Critically acclaimed novel by Celeste Ng! You have to love this series about motherhood, class struggles and tough choices right? Witherspoon and Washington are excellent, but “Little Fires” doesn’t trust its viewers to make up their own minds about who is right and who is less right in this battle of the moms (and their kids). What could have been compelling drama descends into melodrama and manipulation and I just couldn’t make it to the end.