‘I don’t get the reference’: the life of a TV phobe

Did you see who died last night?”

“Why did she sleep with HIM?”


I’ve heard these generic, TV series related, expressions countless times without having the slightest clue what anyone is talking about. I’ll be honest with you – I have not seen Breaking Bad, or Orange is the New Black – not even Game Of Thrones could sway me.

“What do you do with your life?!” People recoil with horror as I tell them. Well, I have a job, I go to college and I like these old fashioned paper things called books – you might have heard of them. It’s not that I think I won’t enjoy these shows – I simply haven’t sat down to watch them yet.

But I know I’m not the only one out there who hasn’t seen that ‘must-watch’ season finale. So what do the rest of us do when you’re in a group discussing the latest revelation or plot twist? Personally speaking I just sit there and nod politely until the conversation naturally steers toward something I can actually talk about, (I find the weather to be a pretty safe topic). Either that, or you can subtly turn the conversation to a topic of your choosing.

Topics I’d recommend to go for and ones I assume most people are familiar with are as follows:

  • Ed Sheeran
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Harry Potter
  • Taylor Swift
  • Fair City

Now, trying to be ‘hip’ and ‘down with the kids’ isn’t just something adults focus on. We young people often end up trying too hard to contribute to conversation and end up looking stupid. There was one particular incident I recall back when I was in fifth year in secondary school. Two people in my year were talking about The Mentalist – the American show about a psychic-turned-detective – that aired a couple of years ago. They asked me if I’d seen it. I quickly answered “Yes!” without even thinking.

“Oh then who do you think the bad guy really is Glen?” they inquired. “Well… em… I’m not really sure just yet…”, was my sheepish reply. From that one particular moment of embarrassment, I resolved to just learn when to keep my mouth shut.

In all fairness though, just because you haven’t seen the latest series doesn’t mean you’re at a complete loss. Socially, you just might be able to scrape by by going up to order your next round or by flat out bluffing your way through a conversation about Jon Snow’s antics in the last season of Game Of Thrones. I have faith that some people are better bluffers than me.

The simple fact of the matter is, even if your inner most hipster is telling you to not watch the show, these cult like ‘fandoms’ and followings are simply unavoidable. Let’s take Jon Snow again, for example. Nearly every online news outlet is covering whether the character will feature in the next series, along with lots of embedded tweets describing people’s feelings towards the situation, and sneaky snaps of actor Kit Harrington on set. Even now, between seasons, some site will post an article about a very vague yet subtle hint from a cast member or try to pull clues from a particular filming location. Now what I do know about this series is that the TV show, produced by HBO, has overtaken the books written so far by George R. R. Martin. This gives the staff writers complete creative licence so, who knows what will happen? Regardless of his fate, it will certainly get people talking – again. 

All I know is until I get my head in gear and actually watch these shows I’ll never know what’s going on.  Aside from everything I’ve just written about, the only other piece of advice I can offer is to invest in that Netflix account you’ve been lusting over and kiss that first in your respective degree goodbye.


Glen Murphy


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