Elimination Number: 75
Due to the hammering down of what actually constitutes my tastes, and using that stencil to make decisions about which people who I care to listen and admire, I have ended up with a select group of people I call friends. Some I’ve met more than others, some hold a more prominent role in this constructed circle, but almost all of them share at least one quality; they love the show Arrested Development. And with good reason. It’s delightful.
This past weekend, the creators of the show released a fifth season of sorts, years after the show’s original and untimely end. This was lauded by my acquaintances as a triumph, a righting of a wrong, and — most importantly — another opportunity to entertain ourselves. The buzz surrounding the release was palatable, as people’s breaths were sufficiently bated. Without even checking, I’m going to say that there was a Tumblr counting down the days. That’s how confident I am that there was one. This past Memorial Day weekend, the episodes were released. The Internet subsequently lost its shit. I was visiting my parents at the time, helping them do chores that emphysema and hysterectomies have made more difficult than they used to be. I missed the experience that many had, but I knew the episodes would be there when I returned home.
But, the thing is, I don’t think I want to see the new episodes.
The upside of TV shows on DVD collections or streaming services is that they can be consumed in a short amount of time. If you started Lost at the beginning, that show was part of your life for six years. If you watched in bulk, you could have been done in a few months. This is not to condone the act of binge watching, but six months of your life is easier to pin down than six years. You can attribute certain events and feelings to a six month period. So much happens in six years, it feels less like a time of your life than as an era.
Though I had caught episodes here and there when they aired, I didn’t fully consume Arrested Development until 2006, after the show had gone dark. This time coincided with a bit of a turning point in my life. I was throwing myself into many new experiences at once, then. There was excitement and apprehension and a sense of refreshment. I caught a whiff of that new-life smell.
I can’t say if this affected the way I enjoyed Arrested Development, but that feeling lived with me and was tethered to that show, even on later re-watchings. It wasn’t as heavy as full on reminiscing, but it brought with it a bit of an aura — a feeling in my guts and eyes and the corners of my mouth. When I smiled at the show, I did it the same way I did in 2006. It was a smile from the past. It brought memories along with it.
And for this reason, I don’t want to watch the new episodes. I’m sure I’d enjoy them, but it will mess with the package deal. It will add this disjointed epilogue to a neatly wrapped segment of my life. It won’t change it for the worst, per se, but it will change it. It will throw it off course. There is nothing the new episodes can do that the old ones haven’t already done.
As I make my way through the 2013 season of the Houston Astros, I find myself wondering how this will affect my future appreciating of the team. When you grow up with a team, there is no real breaking point — no one day or one game you can reference when thinking about your history with a team. Like watching LOST in real time, this experience is attributed to a greater arc of your life. But I know exactly when my relationship with Houston began. There’s a time stamp in WordPress. And what I’m seeing and feeling so far this season will stick with my version of the Astros forever.
People watching the same Astros I’m watching are still watching a different team. They are watching their version of that team, and I my version. The players are the same, but we each inject our own past and attitudes into that collective. These are My Astros. Just like the Bluth family is My Bluth Family.
My fandom to this point is not unlike those weeks when I powered through all those Arrested Development episodes. It is encompassing a region of my life — it has yet to span years and epochs. My tipping point is coming. I will have to decide whether to wrap the 2013 season with a bow and put it my pocket, or allow it to be the beginning of something that will stick with me for a while. That decision does not need to be made at this point, but I do know that I’m more interested in watching Astros games than new Arrested Development episodes right now.
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