Tonight after dinner, I desperately wanted to talk about this week’s episode of The Office.  (Or, at least, the most recent one available on*  Only one person had seen it.

“Don’t talk about it!” the others said.  “I’m going to watch it tomorrow/next week/on DVR/when the DVD comes out!”


Then someone said, “Has anyone been watching Lost this season?”  And, again, an outcry—“No, don’t!  I’m only halfway through season 4/3/2/1!”  “Okay,” the Lost watcher said, sitting back into the couch.  “I won’t spoil it…but it’s really good.”

Bust two.

“But wait,” Seth interjected.  “Does anyone here watch Prison Break?”  “Um, I’ve seen one episode/the first season/a preview/a few clips online,” said everyone.  “Oh,” said Seth, “well, this season isn’t that great.  The first one was the best.”

“Oh,” we said.


Bust three.  Some hands reached into the gummy bear bowl, set out for the evening’s ice cream.

I chewed on a green gummy and wondered—before Tivo, DVR, iTunes, hulu,, and the ability to buy a whole series on DVD, couldn’t people talk to each other about the things that were on TV?  Didn’t we used to talk about this stuff in real time?  Either we watched the shows when they aired or we didn’t.  I feel like I remember what that was like, needing to find a charitable soul to fill me in before the next week’s episode came and went.  Don’t I?  Now when I ask people what happened in an episode, they refuse to tell me.  “Just watch it yourself,” they say.  “You have to watch it!”  And they’re right, it turns out.  They won’t tell me, and I have to watch it.

And I thought—this is just another way technology is driving us apart.  We used to watch TV alone in our houses.  Now we watch it alone in both space AND time.  And the masses used to crowd in to see Shakespeare.  I chewed a red gummy.

“That’s like Arrested Development,” someone said.  Everyone perked up.  Someone unwrapped an Andes mint.  “I mean, Arrested Development season one was the best, then season two was okay, and season three wasn’t that great.  I mean, right?”

“Yeah!” we said.  “No!” we said.  “Arrested Development rocked all the way through!”  “No way, the pilot was the best!” we said.  “GOB on his segway.  ‘It’s been an incredible year.  High-five.’”  “Yeah!” we said, laughing.  “It’s so much like stealing!” we said.  More laughing.  “Oh, that George Michael!” we said.  “He was the best!  ‘It must have been the other George Michael.  The singer-songwriter George Michael.’”  “Yeah!” we said.  “Yeah!”  And then we were laughing as a group and to ourselves and sitting with each other.  “Yeah!” again.  “Whoo,” we said.  “Arrested Development,” we said.  Yeah.  Whoo.


And I thought—this is the way it should be.

Thank goodness they canceled Arrested Development.  Because it turns out the only show we can talk about is the one no one* needs to catch up on.



* I’m talking about the episode “Two Weeks.” Have you seen it?  It’s not the best but—whoo. Everyone watch it and then let’s talk about it.  (What do you think is going to happen??)  (No, don’t say.  I don’t want the Apron Stage to become a spoiler.)
** I realize you may not have seen all of the episodes of Arrested Development and possibly for good reason.  (But not the first episode.  There’s no good reason for you not to have watched the pilot.  It’s genius, and the characters/actors are so swiftly becoming a part of basic American cultural knowledge that not knowing them, you’re running risks of missing dumb questions in future versions of Trivial Pursuit: Turn of the Millennium Edition.  I can’t promise your teammates will forgive you.)  However, the show has ended long ago enough now that it’s okay to talk about it in front of people who may not have seen it.  Call it laches or what you will, we’re past the grace period.  AD is now fair game.  And thank heavens.  Dinner parties are better for it.