y = x + 2

Posted: 19 July 2013 in life, don't talk to me about life, media
Tags: , ,

There are laws passed by your country’s legislatures that everyone knows; the ones against murder, theft and leaving the toilet seat up are the most common, I guess.

And then there are the folk wisdom laws, the most famous of which is, I suppose, Murphy’s Law:

Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.

Of course this is merely one of Murphy’s Laws. My favourite of the others remain:

  • If you can conceive of eight ways something can go wrong, and cirumvent them, a ninth way – previously unsuspected – will promptly develop

  • Mother Nature always sides with the hidden flaw

and, of course

  • Mother Nature is a bitch.

Now there are literally hundreds of similar laws, named often for the person who first formalised them, and they’ve reached out to the Internet age as well, with Godwin’s Law, Poe’s Law and Cole’s Law.

Every so often, a friend will suggest a new one, but a small amount of research will usually prove that like The Natural History Museum’s attempts to catalogue new species… someone got there first and called it something else.

But earlier this year, I think I came up with one; haven’t been able to find it elsewhere, and so I offer it up for peer review, and for consideration.

BUDGIE’S LAW OF POPULAR TELEVISION

y = x + 2

where:

x = the number of episodes of a critically acclaimed and popular tv series you watch before deciding it isn’t for you; and

y = the number of episodes you’re then told you have to watch to ‘get’ the show.

It never fails; happens all the time. I’ve mentioned that there are several critically acclaimed and ratings-successful tv programmes that I’ve just never enjoyed when I’ve watched them. According to friends of mine, this simply, flatly, makes me WRONG.

Now, there have been successful tv dramas I’ve enjoyed: The West Wing is, I think, one of the finest tv programmes ever to come out of the colonies. I enjoyed House, MD far more than I think I probably should have done. I’m thoroughly enjoying what I’ve seen of House of Cards.

But then there are the others, the ones I haven’t actively disliked, but just have never actually positively enjoyed.. OK, you might want to sit down for this next bit if you’re of a nervous disposition.

What haven’t I enjoyed? Well, I’ll limit it to the past decade or so – no real point in saying I didn’t enjoy The Jewel In The Crown or This Life; many people reading this won’t even remember them. But the ‘current’ “Budgie is wrong” list would include:

The Wire, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Shield, Mad Men, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer,, and – of course – the biggie – Game of Thrones.

(I also never ‘got’ The Simpsons or Seinfeld, but they’re not dramas, so I’ve excluded them from the above list and included them here merely for completeness.)

Now, please note – at no point have I said, nor would I say, that they’re bad television, or that I have no taste at all*, merely that they’re not to my taste.

*You may disagree with me here

But it never fails – I mention any of the shows and that I didn’t enjoy them and the first question is always “how many episodes did you watch?” And no matter what I say in response, the answer is inevitably, “it only really grabs you after you’ve watched [x + 2] episodes” or “Oh, but you have to watch [x + 2] episodes”.

No, I really don’t. The three shows I mentioned way up there, a minute ago – all three had pilots that grabbed me and made me want to know what happened next. With none of the others did that happen.

Of course I’m aware that the pilot is rarely an indication of how the show will progress; I can’t think of any shows (sitcoms included, maybe especially) where the pilot is any kind of reliable indication, but with the shows I didn’t enjoy, by the time I quit them, I genuinely didn’t care what happened to the characters next.

So, once again, here you are: Budgie’s Law of Popular Television, y = x + 2

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