Not watched that series that everybody is talking about? Tired of being outcast by your friends because you didn’t watch Gossip Girl? Online Screen Editor Emily Harris prescribes you the infallible bluffers guide to the television galaxy.
[dropcap size=small]W[/dropcap]e might have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyoncé, but I question if even Queen B has watched all of Prison Break, Game of Thrones and Orange is the New Black. It’s the race of the series watching, and the chances you have of watching all that’s being talked about are equivalent to getting to the end of Gossip Girl without someone spoiling it for you. And we need to talk about it.
We’ve all received that look of disgust when we admit to not watching Game of Thrones, and we’ve all shuffled our feet when we’ve been told “you’ve not watched Made in Chelsea? HOW!?” These are the types of scenarios that throw us into television watching dysmorphia: am I playing my series game too safe? Is it time to abandon the Friends box set? Do I admit to sacrificing Breaking Bad so I can keep strikingly up to date with Geordie Shore?
It’s a case like that time when someone et al did some psychological study and some results suggested something like we all just want to conform and please our social groups. This will explain the feeling of guilt you feel in the pit of your stomach when someone snaps at you for not remembering Lucas in episode seven, series two of Pretty Little Liars. And yet you know that your hectic schedule of Buzzfeed and alcohol just does not leave time for you to fully immerse yourself in every series thrown in your face. And here I present to you, the art of bluffing.
Never again do you have to say: “Erm, no I haven’t quite got round to starting Desperate Housewives yet.” Never again do you have to see friends disappointed in your television watching habits. Never again do you have to question your worth as a Netflix user.
Bluffing starts with the simple step of saying: “Yes. I did watch all of American Horror Story. I loved it”. At this point the person you are speaking to will slip into the euphoria of discovering somebody with a common interest. Expect hugging, expect handshakes, expect maybe a few more likes on that day old Instagram of yours. But don’t get too washed away with your new friendship fling – this is where full focus is mandatory.
Start with saying things like “the first series was a bit slow but then I really got into it.” This bluff is totally fool proof as this statement is generally applicable to every series ever created. Thus your conversational partner is likely to agree. The conversation thickens.
The person will most likely begin to become engrossed and discuss some character or plot you’re totally unaware of. The key is to keep cool by looking like you can’t contain your elation. Shake your hands frantically in front of you with exclamations like “OH MY GOD, I KNOW!” and “YES!” and “PREACH!” Make sure you keep your eyes as wide open as possible as though your eyes themselves have become drugged on series four of Breaking Bad.
Here we enter the question arena. Expect to be asked on your opinions of specific plot lines, characters or recent episodes. Now’s the time to calm the excitement and look thoughtful as though you are engulfed in the show’s fictional world and can’t possibly give a haphazard answer. Good answers for any potential questions are:
- “I don’t really have a favourite. It’s like choosing between children.” – This statement will not invite questions, only sensitivity from the fanatic you are speaking to.
- “I haven’t see the last episode yet, don’t tell me ANYTHING.” – A perfect way to literally terminate the conversation. Expect a cheeky smile and a “Oo… it’s good.”
- “I enjoyed it but I expected it to be a little more explosive.” – What an adjective. Explosive can refer to literally anything. Action, emotion, drama – you said it. Explosive covers it.
At this point you must grab that conversational steering wheel and drive over that bluffing speedbump. You must act as though because you share a love for this show, surely you’ll also share a love for another show; the key here is to mention a show you actually watch. Be cautious of making too much of a jump though. Prison Break and Desperate Housewives aren’t totally compatible. Enter right back into your comfort zone and sandwich your bluff with a big slice of series watching confidence.
Quite frankly, this advice can’t fail. I’ve done it myself many a time. So if anybody is reading this who I might have said I’d watched Prison Break, Game of Thrones or Lost to… well, I expected them all to be a little more explosive.
Emily Harris, Online Screen Editor