How sucky TV sucks you in

Via Flickr user Medhi.

Via Flickr user Medhi.

It’s bad, but I can’t stop watching it.

The series finale of The Office is airing Thursday. I know it will be terrible. The show has been bad for the past three years, but I’ve still been watching it.

I have to watch it.

I’ve been seeing the weekly episodes of The Office almost since its beginning in 2005. It used to be an out-of-the-box comedy. Around 2010, it began to go downhill. I kept watching, and now I’m stuck. I’ve seen every episode. With the last one airing Thursday, I can complete this now terrible series and forget about the last few years of bad TV that I’ve endured.

People often get sucked into bad TV and movies for the same reason that I watch The Office. It started out well, but it got harder and harder to watch. But we don’t turn off the movie or leave the TV show because we’ve already invested time in it. Maybe it’s an hour of a film, or maybe it’s years of a TV show. By the time The Office got horrible, I had already spent five years on the series.

I wasn’t going to bail now.

Besides my time investment, I also felt hopeful that The Office would return to its former glory and somehow be funny again. That never happened. The show just kept adding new characters and ever more outrageous situations — the signs that a show’s writers have nothing left to write about.

There’s a Seinfeld episode where Elaine loses a loyalty card for a bad sub shop. She was only one hole punch away from a free sub. She tries desperately to get the card back, and when asked why she’s doing so much for a bad sub, she says: “I have spent a lot of time, and I have eaten a lot of crap to get to where I am today. And I am not throwing it all away now.”

That is the essence of why we stick with bad entertainment. We put so much into it, and now it’s almost over. The end is at hand.

We’re not throwing it all away now.

Do you or have you regularly watched any TV show, even though you didn’t like it? Why?


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