We do a lot of terrible things to one another as humans. We shame people for their gender, their religion. We shame them for their sexual orientation or preference or desires. We shame people who are too thin. We shame people who are too fat. We shame people who aren’t either fat or thin. We shame them for their race. We shame them for their job, their education, their families. There seems to be no end to what we can hate people for.

For the most part, most people feel the above are unacceptable reasons to hate or denigrate others. We understand that as a people, we are all different in our own ways, and diversity in person and community is what makes the world such a wonderful place.

However, there is one hate, one shame, that people still feel it’s okay to inflict upon others. Almost everyone does this, perhaps without thinking. It tears families and friendships apart. It humiliates, it separates, and it creates such vast feelings of inferiority that it can lead to catatonia trying to live up to society’s expectations.

So let me say this, once and for all, as a cry from a sufferer of very intense prejudice:

It is not okay to hate someone for the television they do not watch.

When you tell me that my life isn’t whole for not watching Breaking Bad, I want to think you’re wrong. I want to think that I am just as good of a person for not watching a show that you watch, but the more you tell me how wrong I am, the more I believe you. The more I start to fall down the rabbit hole of despair and inferiority.

Do you think I don’t want to change? Do you think telling me how much I’m missing out on is going to affect me positively? Do you think I don’t understand my issue?

Maybe, for once, you could look at my side of the mirror. Maybe you could see that I don’t have cable and I have to wait to watch the series until they complete all the episodes and put them on Netflix. Maybe you could have a goddamn heart for once, and reach out to your fellow human and understand that we all have our preferences, and that makes us interesting and complete, no matter what.

Not watching New Girl doesn’t make me stupid.
Not watching Game Of Thrones doesn’t make me culturally ignorant.
Not watching The Wire doesn’t make me an arrogant asshole, but shaming me for it makes you one.

So next time you’re telling someone, “You mean you have NEVER seen an episode of Mad Men?” remember that you’re speaking to a real person with real feelings and a real desire to not see Mad Men based on circumstances out of your control.

Think. Empathize. Grow.

This message is for everyone who’s ever said anything about TV to anyone. 

Bill G. September 29, 2013 at 11:51 pm

I will do my best, but it’s real hard for me to accept Honey Boo Boo and Bridezilla watchers.

Noa October 1, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Have you seen Bridezillas though? That show is the shit.

Todd September 29, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Me love you long time.
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Noa October 1, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Me platonic long time

Dave in Sherman September 30, 2013 at 12:56 am

The things that you get done NOT watching all of that stupid shit. I kind of laugh at all of the dumbasses out there who can talk in chapter and verse about Duck Dynasty or Kardasians or whoever the hell is the flavor of the week. Decades of their live sitting on their ass OBSERVING other people’s lives instead of LIVING their own.
Each to his or her own but defiantly not a virtue.
Dave
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Jen September 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Hey, I’m one of those dumbasses! But I figure that I read enough academic journal articles for my PhD dissertation that the Kardashians kind of reset my brain to zero. And don’t even get me started on the glory that is “Toddlers & Tiaras”.
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Noa October 1, 2013 at 8:41 pm

I had to give up on TnT. It was hurting me with the terribleness of people.

I switched to Bridezillas.

Noa October 1, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Depends on how you look at it.

Let’s be real:
Some people want a goddamn break and there is no better way to remind yourself that you’re doing okay than watching Kardashians do anything.

Let’s get technical.
Depending on your job (such as mine), I watch TV to study storytelling techniques. Also, TV is fucking great.

Mayor Gia September 30, 2013 at 6:37 am

I don’t get shamed, I just get “OH OH OH OMG YOU HAVE TO WATCH IT ITS SOOOOOO GOOD.” But thankfully, I don’t get the feeling that the people I’m talking to somehow think I’m inferior because of that.

I did turn on breaking bad FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER last night to watch the last couple of minutes of the show, because A. I knew everyone would be talking about that today and B. I have this weird thing where I know a lot about plots of tv shows for not watching them (thanks, tumblr). I wanted to see if Jesse lived!
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Noa October 1, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Tumblr has enabled me to never need to watch a lot of things. Also, Breaking Bad is great.

I have a friend who refuses to watch it simply because everyone tells him to. He just refuses because he hates all the hubbub. IMAGINE IF NO ONE ASSAULTED HIM. THEN HE’D KNOW.

Janene September 30, 2013 at 10:25 am

Thank you for this.

I was once called “culturally ignorant” because I didn’t follow all of the hip and bullshit tv shows that this particular person did. Given that I am a 1st generation Canadian on my Dad’s side (he came over from Poland in the mid-50s) and have been keenly interested in learning Polish food and culture, and given that I’ve been researching my family tree on my Mom’s side, AND the fact that my sister lives in the UK, I hardly think that I am “culturally ignorant” because I can’t quote the Simpsons, or converse about Breaking Bad, or whatever. I lost respect for the guy that day, and ended our friendship.

“Culturally ignorant,” my ass. Culture isn’t just “pop” culture, but so much, much more.

Noa October 1, 2013 at 8:46 pm

I gave up on trying to watch and read everything that everyone else does. It’s too exhausting and too worthless to try to be the most knowledgeable pop culture person ever.

They built Wikipedia so I wouldn’t fucking have to.

And also for like, knowledge and shit, but I can dream.

Roxie September 30, 2013 at 11:45 am

I’ve never seen 90% of the shows you just named. And I have digital cable.

Noa October 1, 2013 at 8:53 pm

You win.

PJ September 30, 2013 at 11:52 am

They shame you for not having a TV, too. Or they ask if you can’t afford one, or “what’s wrong with you?”

Noa October 1, 2013 at 8:54 pm

You can never win. You can only hope to piss them off so much they leave you alone.

Dana the Biped September 30, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I watched a few episodes of Breaking Bad. Didn’t much care for it, actually. Same for Mad Med. If you don’t like Joss Whedon, though… Well, you’re probably an acceptably decent human being–but you can’t be my friend.
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Noa October 1, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Loved Breaking Bad. Love Firefly. Love all Whedon. Minus Atlantis: The Lost Empire. That movie was terrible.

Celia September 30, 2013 at 1:19 pm

As someone going to school to (eventually, hopefully) write for television, I can confidently say that you should watch what you want, when you want to. Yeah, I’ll totally make plugs for shows that I think are great, but it’s so useless to shame people for what they watch. TV is supposed to be a comfort/enjoyable pastime. That’s why we HAVE things like Netflix and Hulu and HBO Go– so that people can WATCH SHIT WHEN THEY FUCKING WANT TO.
And yes, tons of television shows right now are doing great work to break stereotypes and change the way we look at the world, but it’s still fictional. When did it become more shameful to not know what’s going on with Walter White than to not know what’s going on in the real world?
Also, I grew up without cable and still don’t have it. *Antenna solidarity high fives*
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Noa October 1, 2013 at 9:13 pm

One day, all the networks are going to realize that if they make their stuff accessible, there won’t be pirating. We’ll even watch an ad or two to have access to what we want.

WEIRD HOW THE CONSUMER HAS THE POWER.

Josh September 30, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Hey Noa,

Thank you for that; thank you, thank you, thank you.

Seriously, thank you.

Noa October 1, 2013 at 9:14 pm

No problem.

Roxie September 30, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I just heard about a guy who got fired for the TV show he watches! My Little Pony!

Noa October 1, 2013 at 9:15 pm

I legit didn’t even think that was possible.

Misty September 30, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Breaking Bad? No.
New Girl? Nope.
Game of Thrones? No thanks.
Duck Dynasty? Nuh Uh.

Oh wait, did you say you’ve never seen the Wire? What kind of uninformed noob ARE you?? Damn, Noa, it’s filmed in Baltimore and everything!! One scene is even filmed in the hallway to the courtroom I work in every day. That makes me famous, damnit! Why do you hate me, Noa? Why???
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Noa October 1, 2013 at 9:15 pm

I don’t hate you. I’m just a regular old asshole.

Colleen September 30, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Proof that people can coexist without sharing TV obsessions: I’m a fan of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Dexter, The Sopranos.

Josh up there? He’s not. And yet, he hasn’t kicked me out of bed for it.

We share enough obsessions that these aren’t grounds for making fun of each other. He doesn’t give me crap for watching them, I don’t give him crap for not watching them. I do, however, greatly appreciate that he hit up the PlayStation last night so that I could watch the end of Breaking Bad. What a nice guy :)

Noa October 1, 2013 at 9:16 pm

The only thing Adrian makes me not watch around him is Bridezillas. In his own words, “That’s the only time I’ve ever felt like hitting a woman, and I don’t want to feel that way.”

Abby September 30, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I’ve never seen an episode of Breaking Bad. Or Mad Men, Dexter, The New Girl or So You Think I You Can Dance, for example. The best part of the BB finale was people shutting up about it on Facebook.

However, I have the crap that I like, as well. The difference is I don’t shove it down anyone’s throat and tell them they all have to love it. Heck, if no one else watches it, that means I don’t have to talk to them about it. Win-Win!
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Noa October 1, 2013 at 9:17 pm

That’s just it! I love you for this because all you have to say is, “I watched this thing and really love it. You might love it for the same reasons.”

END OF CONVERSATION.

Jen September 30, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Television viewing is like religion or politics; you can’t cram it down anyone’s throat without looking like an asshole. And while I have never missed an episode of ‘Portlandia’ or ‘Doomsday Preppers’, I have never seen an episode of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, ‘How I Met Your Mother’, or ‘The Big Bang Theory’.
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Noa October 1, 2013 at 9:20 pm

You only watch the good shit anyway. Greys is dumb. HIMYM is Friends but worse, and Big Bang is a hair’s breath from 2 1/2 men.

Amanda September 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm

So.fucking.true.
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Noa October 1, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Agreed.

Mallory September 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm

I’m a TV junkie…so I usually get judged for how much TV I do watch. Apparently preferring to sit on my couch, gloriously braless and comfy, rather than going out to a bar makes me a loser. I just don’t like to socialize all that much. Is that a crime?? The world will be a better place when we all learn that no matter how much or how little TV you watch, how “high quality” or “shitty” the content, we are all humans making choices that are valid for our own lives. Or maybe it gets better when we tell the ones judging to shut the fuck up. That’s probably a more realistic outcome.
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Noa October 1, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Sometimes I hear about other 26 year olds and how much they all go out and how much fun they have, and I just want to shout from the rooftops, “yeah, but have you eaten bagel bites, naked, watching law and order SVU?”

They are missing the fuck out.

Dave in Sherman September 30, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Go Mallory!
I think the best part of the argument here is that it is not WHAT you watch, It’s that you are not an ASSHOLE about it. I really don’t care what anyone likes (My wife is about several hundred thousand hours into Dr. Who) but that you enjoy and share what you like, instead of using it to one up someone and be a dick about it. I am a huge fan of a lot of stuff, but an avid HATER of comercials. I will pay Amazon $$$$ for a season of somthing I like rather than waste my life on shit commercials. Thank god for Netflix. I think Will Weaton’s mantra of “Don’t be a Dick!” works well here. I don’t care what you like, just don’t act superior about it.
Dave
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Noa October 1, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Wheaton’s Law works in almost everything.

Karisa Tells All October 1, 2013 at 12:37 pm

haha I feel the same way! If ONE MORE person asks me if I watch The Mindy Project/New Girl/How I Met Your Mother, I’m going to scream. That said, I give you major side eye for not having seen Breaking Bad. You disgust me.
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Noa October 1, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Truth be told, I have seen every episode of Breaking Bad, and watched the finale while gasping loudly and mostly covering my eyes and then crying loudly.

Pinky Poinker October 1, 2013 at 5:32 pm

This is so true. The more someone says I’ve GOT TO watch something the less chance there is I’ll watch it just out of spite. Dare to be different, I say :)
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Noa October 1, 2013 at 9:25 pm

That’s why I have never watched The Wire.

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