Confession Time: Cultural Alienation Edition.

Jim Downey's picture

Heard on the radio this morning: this is the 20th Anniversary of the debut of The Simpsons.

And I knew I needed to post another "Confession Time." (If you're new, the rules are simple: 'confess' to some ostensible sin on the given topic, and receive receive forgiveness from the community.) Because I have never seen a complete episode of the series. Nor the movie.

Yeah, I know, I'm some kind of heathen. Actually, I am several kinds of heathen. But in this case I have to confess that I just have never had the inclination to watch The Simpsons. And after the first bit, my sheer contrariness pushed me to avoid the show - when something becomes too popular or hyped, I have a natural inclination to go against the crowd.

So, 'fess up: what established cultural reference of the TV show variety have you never seen, and therefore been alienated from the rest of the society? And just to make it a little more difficult, let's say that the show had to be around for at least five years, during a time when you were in the country, and when you had a functioning television with access to show - in other words, it had to have been an actual choice on your part to have missed it.

Jim Downey

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Anonymous User's picture


Maybe a little off-topic but have never watched "The Godfather" series while most of my male co-workers regularly romanticize the movie(s)and debate ad-nauseam which one was the best. Inexplicably, I enjoy The Soprano's.... Also, never saw "It's a Wonderful Life" in its entirety....

frankmoorman's picture

Not watched

I've never seen a Simpsons episode, though I might have seen fragments. Nor Beavis and Butthead, nor any of the other similar spinoffs whose titles I don't remember.

Never watched any of the "reality" shows, can barely stand the commercials when they sneak up on me unawares.

Not seen any of the HBO series like the Sopranos, Six Feet Under, etc. though I might like to.

One of the reasons for these gaps is that I'm a part-time actor, so a lot of my evenings are spent in rehearsal and away from a TV.

The one show that I do not watch every single year is the Oscars. I have maintained this innocence for 30-some years ever since John Wayne won an Oscar for True Grit over Dustin Hoffman, an actual actor, for Midnight Cowboy. If I had had any doubts up till then about the relation between good acting and films and the Oscar, they were demolished by that decision. From then on, I have made it a point of pride to go to bed well before they get to the final categories of best actor, etc. I do not find out the winner of the best movie of the year till the next morning.

Now, if you want to talk about movies as cultural reference points that I have not seen, I got a bunch. I may even be drummed out of the group for some of those.

Frank Moorman, skeptic
"what is the point of giving persons Freedom of Speech... if you then say they must not utilize same? And is not the Power of Speech the greatest Power of all? Then surely it must be exercised to the full." --Salman Rushdie

Brent Rasmussen's picture


Pfft. I watch everything. Ev. Ry. Thing. Don't care what it is. If it's on the babble box, I'm a-watchin' it. Even those "Judge Moron" shows on daytime television.

You know why? Because Bill Cosby said so, that's why. I always do what The Coz tells me to do.

wantobe's picture

So, do a say a couple of "Hail, Richards"?

Considering the comments here, maybe I'm the one who's confessing when I say that I've seen most of what you guys all seem to eschew. I refuse to watch "reality" television, but other than that I've seen most sitcoms (most only 1 or 2 episodes, to determine whether it's something I like or not), and whether I want it or not, the wife likes to watch the CSI-type dramas. I watch them, kind of, while working on my computer, so I'm aware of them.

I don't care to watch most sports, but I do like football and golf, and find the interplay fascinating. I, of course, wouldn't presume to tell anyone that they are wrong for finding them boring.

Also, I'm a big fan of Stephen King, Dean Koontz (though his black/white moralizing can be infuriating), J.K. Rowling (well, a fan of the HP series, anyway) and other popular writers. Also, I haven't seen all the movies that have been popular, but that's only because I haven't had the time to see them. I usually catch them on DVD because I hate going to theaters, but I am going to go see Avatar when the initial furor dies down. I just realized I missed the last Harry Potter movie, so we're going to rent it this weekend so I won't feel so left out.

About the only thing I rebel against, in terms of what's popular, is music, and even there I find myself following the herd more as I get older.

Rob Miles
There are only 10 types of people in the world;
those who understand binary and those who don't.

Hank Fox's picture

Avatar 3D

I saw it last night, and I might even go back and see it again.

It totally rocks.

(Fortunately I live in a weird place where you can go see first-run movies and not wait in lines.)

dmabus's picture

Jim Downey is a FOOL


you really need to add comment moderation to your blasphemy, jim...

Jim Downey's picture


...implies actually thinking that there is something divine, Dave ol' boy, you know with that whole "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain" stuff. Well, I ain't got a "LORD thy God", so blasphemy is like saying that I slander leprechauns or something.

PS: "Happy Holidays!"

Jim Downey

Like Science Fiction? Read *or listen to* my novel, Communion of Dreams, for free.

JJR's picture


I never could get into the whole Seinfeld thing.

I've seen clips from the show but just never got into it.

Refused to watch American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, etc.

Only watch Scrubs on re-runs on Comedy Central, none of the new episodes.

BrainArmor's picture

Too many to list

I've gone for more than a decade without TV so there are a plethora of TV shows that I've "missed out" on.

george.w's picture

Just can't work up any interest in sports

Really, I cannot make myself care at all what someone does with the ball or whatever.

Have also never watched a full episode of Friends or Sopranos. Or Survivor or American Idol...

Would love to watch The Big Bang Theory but the laugh track kills it for me. I do enjoy The Simpsons though.

Jeff Hebert's picture

Law & Order, etc.

I have never seen an episode of Law & Order, in any of its various incarnations.

Nor an episode of any CSI.

What's hardest is that at least one of the thirty seven spinoff series from one of those two shows is on at least one channel 24/7. It's sort of become a point of honor to change the channel when it rolls to one.

People look at me like I am from Mars when I tell them this.

Jim Downey's picture


People look at me like I am from Mars when I tell them this.

Yeah, I know the feeling. We don't watch any TV, haven't for years. I mean none - dropped the cable subscription about three years back when we realized that there was nothing on we ever actually watched. Get better news and weather coverage online, and see what we want to see via NetFlix. Simple.

Jim Downey

Like Science Fiction? Read *or listen to* my novel, Communion of Dreams, for free.

Rox1SMF's picture

This might be a MORTAL sin!

Bless me fellow heathens, for I have sinned...

I never watched a full episode of "Friends". What's worse, from 2000-2005 I was the web geek who regularly performed the updates & maintenance functions of the official website as well as being the Admin of the message board community.

Jim Downey's picture


That's really pretty funny.

Oh, and you are absolved of your sins. No go forth and do something more interesting.

Jim Downey

Like Science Fiction? Read *or listen to* my novel, Communion of Dreams, for free.

ML's picture

It's the reason for ......

No[w] go forth and do something more interesting.

But Jim - isn't that why we haven't seen all these pop shows?

Cobwebs's picture

Lawsey. Loads of 'em. I've

Lawsey. Loads of 'em.

I've never seen a full episode of The Simpsons either. I've also never watched Seinfeld, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, South Park, 24, or Grey's Anatomy.

I am pop-culturally challenged.

Jim Downey's picture

One of those.

I'm with ya on most of those, Cob - though I have seen a number of South Park eps. None of the rest hold any interest whatsoever.

Jim Downey

Like Science Fiction? Read *or listen to* my novel, Communion of Dreams, for free.

Hank Fox's picture

The Great UnWatched

Well, it's not TV, but I have never seen any of the Jaws movies, any of the Halloween movies. It's only in the past year or so that I've seen any of the Godfather movies.

For just the reason you describe: If it's overhyped, it's probably not something I want to see.

Books hit me the same way. Happened to me twice over the past few years, someone would say, in that overbright, too-intense way "Have you read The Secret?" or "Have you read The Celestine Prophecy?" And my answer both times was "Ew, no!"

TV ... I never saw Friends. Never WANTED to see Seinfeld. Two and a Half Men. 24.

For the future, I know I'll never want to see anything starring Sylvester Stallone, or Tom Cruise. (Heh. If I could go back in time and hold a gun on myself so I wouldn't see Billy Jack, I'd do it.)

And if I had to watch Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity, I'd probably buy a rope and look for a convenient tree limb. (And just the physical appearance of Alan Colmes makes me feel ill.)

Does this count? I don't think I've ever watched an entire football or baseball game on TV.

In a different entertainment medium, I've also never bought a lottery ticket.

Jim Downey's picture

Sports don't count, Hank.

Does this count?

No. Sports are just plain boring, unless you're participating.

(Let's see how many people that will stir up.)

Jim Downey

Like Science Fiction? Read *or listen to* my novel, Communion of Dreams, for free.

Jim Downey's picture

For example:

Just to clarify a bit, let me give an example of another show I've never seen which ran for 5+ years and is a cultural reference: The Sopranos. Since it ran on one of the premium cable channels to which I never subscribed, that doesn't count.

And yes, I am a heathen. An uncultured lout.

Jim Downey

Like Science Fiction? Read *or listen to* my novel, Communion of Dreams, for free.

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