While most of you were off this break having awesome adventures (I know, I saw your “Parachuting into the Active Volcano, Mount Nyiragongo!!” Facebook albums), I was at home embracing my inner 98-year-old.
I had been telling myself and everyone that over winter break, I would finally fulfill my obligation as an informed member of the Arts & Entertainment staff, and watch Breaking Bad, The Wire, Homeland, The Walking Dead, Boardwalk Empire, and any other show that when I say I don’t watch it, television aficionados gasp in horror.
But that did not happen. I tried. I really did. I just don’t have the attention span for those serious shows. I think that if Jon Hamm is absent from a drama, I can’t watch it; although, Damian Lewis was adorable at the Golden Globes, so I might start watching Homeland. Except I’m told he plays an American on the show, which makes him severely less adorable.
The whole point of this discussion is not to tell you that I’m a fan of Jon Hamm and Damian Lewis (P.S. he’s in a delightful British movie that’s on Netflix called Assassin in Love and you should all go watch it), but to draw a conclusion from the patterns I noticed while sitting on my couch with my cats watching Gilmore Girls, The West Wing, Once Upon a Time, The Office, How I Met Your Mother and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I also watched a lot of NCIS, but that’s unrelated to the point I am about to make - which is that all of these shows, however amazing they were at one point, went on too long.
Gilmore Girls and The West Wing had the same problem, which was that the head writer left after a certain number of seasons. Amy Sherman-Palladino and Aaron Sorkin both left their respective creations to the mercy of less talented writers, which led to a noticeable deterioration of quality for the remaining seasons.
Once Upon a Time is only on it’s second season and it’s already gone on too long. The first couple episodes were great, and then you start to realize that every episode is basically the same. And also Josh Dallas, who plays Prince Charming, became less fun to watch when he woke up from his coma.
The Office, How I Met Your Mother and It’s Always Sunny are all shows that I have watched since the beginning but had neglected while at school. So obviously I had to catch up on them because the television gods would be upset with me if I didn’t. The Office and It’s Always Sunny are on their ninth seasons and HIMYM is on its eighth. All three have gone on too long. The characters are tired and the jokes are the same. I am relieved that The Office, like your childhood dog who could once play and run in the fields with you, is now being mercifully put down.
I wish that I were the type of person who could stop watching a show when it stops being good, but I am too loyal a TV fan. I just thank god I’ve never watched Days of Our Lives. TV shows have a lifespan. Sometimes, like the fairytale characters of Storybrook, it is five episodes of entertainment whereas Barney Stinson is entertaining for about six years.
It makes me wonder if the reason Arrested Development is put on the pedestal of television greatness is because it only lasted for three wonderful seasons. Every episode was gold because there were only 53 episodes. Perhaps it could have sustained the amazing for longer, but with this new season coming in May, are we pushing our luck?
Here, I would like to turn to my idol and reason for waking up in the morning: Goddess Tina Fey. 30 Rock. I was going to say something about how fantastic it is, but the name itself can stand alone and recall all the joyous emotions one feels when just imagining Liz Lemon wearing a cardigan over a plaid button down. 30 Rock has only two more episodes left. Ever. And, as sad I am to see my Thursdays get a little less Liz Lemon-y, I am happy that the show is ending while it is still good. Tina Fey is too classy for any shark jumping.
This seventh and final season of 30 Rock has been an emotional roller coaster in that I cry from laughter when I watch it and then cry from sadness when it is over. I know that next Thursday will be no exception. Well, actually Friday because I watch it on Hulu. There will be a lot of tears. But, when those final credits run and Hulu tells me to watch Late Night with Jimmy Fallon next, I will smile, knowing that 30 Rock lived a long and full life and that it’s time has come. 30 Rock will be in a better place looking down at us, saying “Blerg.”