We Should Remember To Enjoy Stuff

It seems I start any piece I write about the effects of the internet and technology with the caveat that I love the internet and technology and I love all the advancements that have accompanied them for the most part.

However, as much as  I love Twitter, it and its other social media cohorts have fundamentally altered the way we consume entertainment, and not always in a good way.  These new modes of communication have made the enjoyment of, the reaction to that enjoyment, and the announcement of that enjoyment to the world instantaneous.  This makes us judge television shows, movies, music, and books solely by how it makes us feel at the exact moment we first experience it.

We are seemingly losing the ability to judge a work in its totality and to let things percolate.  In addition, and maybe more importantly, we are forgetting how to simply enjoy a thing simply as the thing in the moment.  Deciding something’s cultural importance can be done later (and should be done much later).

I have really noticed this phenomenon with the ending of Breaking Bad.  People seem hell bent on first trying to figure out what is going to happen next, second trying to be the first to say it wasn’t that great, and third trying to be the first to correctly nail its cultural significance.

The part that confuses me the most is trying to figure out what is going to happen next.  Why does it matter what your theories are about how it is going to end?  If today, I posted a blog post or a Tweet that correctly guesses at everything that will happen in the final episode, what would I win?  Also, how does guessing correctly make my enjoyment of the episode better?

The end of Breaking Bad is just the latest incarnation of this.  Every other week another movie, book, or album comes out and the next week is filled with an orgy of people tweeting and blogging about how this is the greatest thing ever in the history of history.  They seem to forget about the thing they said the used the same words on that came out 6 months ago or that there was a movie, book, or album that came out 20 years ago that this new one has cribbed a lot of its DNA from and after the initial orgy of bloviating praise has dissipated will still be seen as better than its newest doppelganger.

That was over 400 words to get to this, people please just enjoy the end of Breaking Bad.  We have been witness to what will probably go down a one of the great runs in the history of the television medium.  Don’t try to outthink Vince Gilligan and guess how he is going to end it.  Don’t get your The Wire fandom panties in a bunch because people are saying this is better than that.  Just sit back and enjoy a great television show that is working at its highest level.

First, you’re not smarter than Vince Gilligan so stop it.  Second, at a certain level of greatness distinctions don’t matter.  Distinctions of quality matter when comparing something like The Sopranos to Work It.  They even matter when comparing two quality shows like The Good Wife and Mad Men.  However, once you hit the rarified air of The Wire, Mad Men, The Sopranos, and Breaking Bad you have differences with little distinction.  The dividing line in most of those shows is personal preference of style and content.

We as consumers and Internet denizens are so often geared to trying to be the first, the quippiest, and most though provoking, we sometimes forget to sit back enjoy and let the beauty of our entertainment wash over us.

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