Now that new, post-strike episodes are returning to TV, I almost feel sorry for the networks as they fret over whether viewers will return as well. Why my sympathy? Because they have to contend with viewers like me.
The kind of fan who goes to the Internet to read or write about a show is not representative of the average audience. Most people are more casual viewers; I’m somewhere in between. My two can’t miss shows this season are House and Pushing Daisies. Oh, I love The Office and 30 Rock, and I watch other shows too, but they’ll either pile up on the DVR until I’m in the mood, or they’re wallpaper while I’m home doing other things, or I catch up on DVD, either because I don’t get the channel they’re on or because I haven’t made time during the season.
But House and Pushing Daisies are the two shows I track and watch as they air or as soon as possible afterwards, and pay full attention to while I watch. So imagine my surprise this week to discover that I had missed the final episode of Pushing Daisies and hadn’t even realized it.
I’ll admit I’ve been less than attuned to the TV world lately, and pre-Christmas was an especially busy time for me, but this shakes my confidence in my TV geekdom. How could I have lost track? I knew there were nine episodes completed. I was following strike news enough to have seen countless lists about when final episodes would air. It even would have been on my PVR, but I must have thought I’d watched it and deleted it. So many lapses must have happened to conspire to hide the existence of this episode from me. And while watching “Corpsicle” now was as sweet as finding a bonus chocolate Easter egg weeks after the holidays, it also meant coping with the idea of my encroaching senility.
This makes me part of the foggy audience syndrome that’s making networks nervous about whether viewers will return, and conducting surveys to predict whether they will or not. But no survey is going to predict accurately. We’re notoriously bad at identifying our own future behaviour, and this isn’t like, “Who are you going to vote for, Obama or Hillary?” This is, “Will you remember exactly when the show you used to watch is coming back and get back into the habit of watching?” How can I say yes, when I didn’t know exactly when my second-favourite show left?
For the record, House returns April 28, but Pushing Daisies isn’t back until fall. See, I know that, at least. Let’s see if I remember again at the time.