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Remote Life: Television shows battle against busy schedules

BONES: Brennan (Emily Deschanel, R) and Booth (David Boreanaz, L) adjust to their new life as an expectant couple in "The Memories in the Shallow Grave" Season Seven premiere of BONES airing Thursday, Nov. 3 (9:00-10:00 ET/PT) on FOX. ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Beth Dubber/FOX

By Samantha Suchland

Feb. 27, 2012 11:48 p.m.

It’s that time of the quarter. Week eight has arrived, the midterm madness has slowed and it’s the short lull before the end of the quarter sprint.

After two or three weeks of all-nighters, essays, extracurricular events and surprise obligations, I finally have a day or two to recover and catch up on my television shows.

I’m dreading it.

I’ve neglected some of my shows for so long that the thought of catching up is exhausting. Sometimes I think about the amount of television I “need” to watch, and I want to curl up in a ball on the couch and pretend the shows don’t exist.

Even if you’re completely obsessed with television, there are those shows that fall through the cracks. Sure, I’ll make time to watch an episode of “Parks and Recreation” the night before an exam while my midterm essay’s concluding paragraph continues to dangle.

It’s those other shows that I still feel obligated to follow that are nagging me.

And while now seems like the opportune time to catch up, my mind would rather not deal with them. Between students’ busy schedules and their tendency to start more shows than physically possible to watch, I can’t be the only one suffering.

Somehow I managed to miss the first episode of “Bones” when it started late because of lead actress Emily Deschanel’s pregnancy. I kept meaning to go back and watch, but once I finally tried, the first episode had already disappeared from Hulu. So while the show goes on, I am sitting here debating how much effort I’m willing to put into catching up.

Jumping in with the most recent episode is unthinkable (one does not simply watch a show out of order) and the idea of tracking down the first season sounds worst than trekking to Young Research Library on a Sunday morning. This internal debate went on for far too long and eventually I gave up. “Bones” has since gone on to solve murders without my viewership.

“How I Met Your Mother” came dangerously close to this fate. The cbs.com video player refused to play on my computer, and as each week passed, I became more and more distanced from the show.

This was probably a healthy separation period, and at the time it seemed like a break-up was in the future, but eventually I tried a different web browser, and now my weekly date with Barney Stinson is no longer compromised. However, our relationship is still complicated.

“Television deficit rebound,” a term that I just made up, is something I’m sure many college students are dealing with.

After a long span of missing certain shows, the daunting amount of time it would take to catch up causes us to rebound back to the state of not wanting to watch at all.

It’s not the sort of thing you would ever complain about in a serious way. I’d even like to say it’s something no one would ever say out loud, but that would be a lie.

Of course no one needs to watch TV. It’s more about the refusal to let a show go.

If you’ve followed a show across multiple seasons, you have already invested more time into it than some friendships. That friend you met in your class last quarter? You’ve probably known Walter White or Don Draper longer.

Sometimes it really is that you haven’t had time, and you’ll remedy the situation over spring break. Other times it’s more serious. Maybe it’s time to let a show go. I’ve finally made peace with the fact that I haven’t watched an episode of “The Office” since Michael Scott left.

Whatever your reason, it’s sad to realize that a show you once loved is no longer a priority on your watch list.

But just think, giving up that one pesky show means more time to start something new. Something you might actually enjoy watching.

If you have a show you’ve been meaning to catch up on, email Suchland at [email protected]. “Remote Life” runs every Tuesday.

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Samantha Suchland
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