Saturday, January 25, 2020

Why Can't I Watch What Everyone Else Likes?

I am struggling with something. I am unable to watch many movies and TV shows that it seems the majority of people enjoy, and I'm starting to feel really abnormal. When I ask friends for recommendations for a great Netflix series to binge or for a movie to escape life with, I get suggestions like: "Handmaiden's Tale," "Don't F*ck with Cats," "Game Of Thrones" and others. I watched the first episode of  "Outlander," thinking I found that escape and a friend who knows me warned me to stop. The next 2 episodes, I was told, were filled with some pretty gory violence, including a horrific homosexual rape scene that even they had to fast-forward through. And I thought I was watching a "Somewhere In Time" type of time-travel love story. Geesh!

Scenes stick with me. I know that most are fiction, but the fact that some creative mind somewhere came up with such explicitly gruesome ways to torture someone, to inflict physical and mental pain, and further--to set up these scenes, to act them out over and over and then edit those scenes for hours- wow! That's intense.  The news cycle gets tougher to take every day, and now, at least for me, it seems entertainment has become tougher, too.  And that it is even IS entertainment for so many but not for me makes me feel like I'm not normal.  My soul becomes drained ...I look for an escape. And I can't find it in ways so many others can.

I have the ability (or, I guess at this point, I realize it is a curse) to be able to place myself into another's shoes. I have learned that this makes me an "empath." To see things from another's point of view, even if I don't agree,  has been helpful to me in personal and professional relationships. But this ability doesn't serve me well when I think about what another is feeling when I am watching a violent movie scene. It haunts me.

When I grew up (here comes the proverbial OK, Boomer), the shows on the 3 significant networks were just not that violent. The world was, but the fake world wasn't. In fact, I try to take solace in the fact that statistically, the world is better in 2020 than it was a hundred years ago--but our 24-hour news cycle that focuses on only reporting how shitty people are has many believing otherwise.

A quick sampling of some of my "favorite movies of all time" pretty much gives you an idea of what I consider entertainment. Sound of Music. Funny Girl, Airplane! Titanic and I could list tons of romantic comedies starting with Pretty Woman and going from there. My today streaming list includes The Crown, The Kominsky Method, Grace & Frankie, Nurse Jackie, Dowton Abby. My TV shows from the past to now: MASH, Cheers, Frasier, Will & Grace, West Wing, ER, Hill Street Blues, Thirty Something, Parenthood, This Is Us. Madame Secretary.

What's wrong with me, that I literally feel anxiety watching a movie knowing what might be coming up; that I can't watch what everyone else likes?  Should I suck it up and try? Does not watching these critically acclaimed shows have me missing significant parts of pop-culture? Will I never be able to answer trivia questions on things that came after 2005? My poor husband has to watch everything he likes when I am out of town. He is lucky I travel a lot.

If there's anyone else out there that is like me in this way--maybe we can form a support group. In the meantime, suggestions for positive movies, shows, and documentaries are welcome. 


Tresa Baker said...

I am the same way about violent shows. They are very difficult to watch. And even though I love the show, Outlander, I did not like the violent scenes. Seems it got less violent in subsequent seasons. My husband watches all the shows he likes in the other room while I'm out in the living room watching Masterpiece Theater, When Calls The Heart and more uplifting movies. Although I did recently watch a very dramatic French series called The Fire of Destiny. I have to filter out some of the objectionable parts when I really get engrossed in a storyline. But no, you are not weird.

D.P.Andrews said...

Good morning sunshine! Sue (not that what I say matters) however, I feel you are just fine the way you are thinking/feeling. The more "they" show in movies, tv shows etc. the more (it seems) to work to normalize certain behaviors and standards for society, we are being molded. What was acceptable before we were born is definitely different today! There are pros and cons to what the world sees as progression. We are given freedom here in the US (so wonderful!) but along with that is a long line of individual traits that differ… (extensive discussion there).
Personally, I do not watch much TV, simply because I don’t agree with many things and do not want to give “them” the airtime. Nor do I often get into discussions about my likes/dislikes about shows with many folks as it can cause strife. Same goes with many other forms of media, films and whatnot. The changes in the industry are immense since the 60’s. What society desires to be considered normal for the future is creeping into cartoons, young people shows, social media etc. Sit down and observe with the grandkids as much as possible (some of the per-teen stuff, is OMG stuff). As the children grow and see more throughout their young impressionable lives, it will be considered NORMAL to them. My children, husband and myself are often explaining to our grandchildren that what they just saw on a show isn’t appropriate behavior or normal. Yes, it can be argued, what is “normal” for one, is not “normal” for another, another long discussion that won’t be rectified. Can we hide/ignore it? No, unfortunately not. Guidance and discussion are needed at home, unfortunately that also is becoming scarce.
I don’t watch much TV with my husband either, especially if it’s close to bedtime. I think (and dream) too much about what I just experienced in the movie/show. If we do watch something that he likes and I don’t care for, I request we watch earlier in the evening or day, I then have time to wrestle with thoughts and feelings. I then have time to put new things on my mind before bed. (For example, spirituality and what does it really mean (not what is taught) but the real deal. What is eternity all about, it’s a very long time … that will really get some of that other stuff off my mind! I guess I was feeling a bit talkative this morning. A very wise man told me a few years ago, “concentrate on the good, look to the man that is the light”. In the “big picture” after we leave this existence, which is VERY short in comparison, there is an eternity that we will “live” in.
It is good you would like to talk with others about it, share your feelings and maybe even find some comfort? By all means! Someone else feels the same way you are feeling ��
Please pardon any grammar errors, an English minor (let alone major) I am not! LOL
Respectfully, D.P.Andrews