“It’s called addiction, imp.”

For several years, I could only roll my eyes at the growing legion of Game Of Thrones devotees. Kind of likened them to wizard nerds and overgrown fan boys. Then, um, I decided to actually watch an episode.

I was a fool. The show, as everyone reading this probably knows, is excellent. So much so that I am not going to spend another moment writing about GOT.

I have a confession. I have also not watched a lick of Breaking Bad, The Sopranos or True Detective. All shows I know I would love. Why? It’s simple. If I do something once and like it I am probably going to do it again, compulsively, and to the detriment of other often healthier things.

For example, since I started in on GOT I spent the last five nights watching as many episodes as I could. Therefore, I did not write a new blog post. Nor did I finish reading my book. I had homework from the office that remained untouched. I stayed up too late, causing me to skip a workout, which, by the way, is something “healthier” I am also addicted to.

You see I am an addict. While binge watching House of Cards might be fine for you “normal” people it is dancing with the devil for me. As it is, I am already hooked on several other shows: Mad Men, Workaholics, Silicon Valley and The Walking Dead. I relish the return of The Strain and I am feverishly anticipating Fear the Walking Dead in July.

Until last week, those were more than enough “content” for this content zombie. And now I’ve got multiple seasons of GOT to devour.

I am a very selfish man. Look at me from the outside and one sees a person who primarily does things that makes him feel good. I want to be there for my family and office. Alas, myriad distractions prevent me from doing so. Too many distractions from life and they become life. And so I must be careful.

In my bones I know breaking away from Breaking Bad would be next to impossible. I might as well be snorting meth.

But even now I grow antsy. Restless. I can’t stop scratching the remote. It’s only 1 AM. What’s another hour?

Where… Are… My… Dragons?

Watch me you prick!

I was in the middle of a lively conversation about cable television when I realized the content being discussed were things I hadn’t consumed before; in this case the shows Big Love and Breaking Bad.

Like a lot of people in my business, I have a superb awareness of popular culture. I know these shows are good, probably very good, but I have never seen a single episode of either one of them. In that moment, I felt…what’s the word I’m looking for? Bad. Yes, bad. Here were smart people talking about good shows and I hadn’t any actual perspective to add to the conversation.

Despite my ignorance, I do not regret my answer. “Sorry,” I said. “I just can’t make the commitment.” It’s not that I don’t make myriad commitments to popular culture –perish the thought! But as good as those shows surely are I just don’t have the bandwidth or inclination to get involved with them.

Other conspicuous examples of good and/or popular TV shows I’ve avoided are The Sopranos, The Wire, The Shield, The Colbert Report and Conan. There are numerous others. What’s interesting here (to me anyway) is that I’m pretty sure I would enjoy all of them. Maybe even a lot. This paradox (right word?) also holds true for books, movies and websites. That means no Harry Potter anything, books or films. In addition, I am not a gamer. The only angry birds I know are the pigeons outside my window.

This is different than avoiding crap like The Bachelor, The Apprentice and reality TV in general. Those I can proudly deny ever consuming at all. And you shouldn’t either! FYI, I’ve never seen a full episode of Oprah but that’s a whole nutha subject.

I know I could get boxed sets of any and all these good shows and dive into them one long weekend. But I won’t because of the commitments I already do make. For example, it should come as no surprise I am a devoted fan of The Walking Dead and True Blood. I also catch up on the Simpson’s via Fox’s website. I consume LOTS of horror films late at night when no one is looking. Oddly, within the genre I avoid almost all slasher films, including every Saw film ever made and anything starring Chuckie or Freddy. That stuff just doesn’t work for me. Besides there are still too many zombie apocalypse films out there, my drug of choice.

I know this post has no real point but I’m curious: What content do you avoid even though you know it’s terrific?

TV. New and Improved!

Great article in the September issue of Details magazine, by Simon Dumenco, on the evermore arty and erudite medium of television. That’s right, TV. Seems the boob tube has come of age and is no longer the “vast wasteland” as so many smarty-pants used to call it. No doubt there are plenty of shallow programs around the dial –the plethora of reality TV shows testifies to that. However, we elitist snobs now have an array of high-brow choices unlike the medium has ever seen: Mad Men, True Blood, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Glee, and many others coming and going.

When I was a tyke we basically got frivolous crap –though sometimes highly entertaining- like The Beverly Hillbillies and Love American Style. Basically, the only TV smart people owned up to watching were 60 minutes, PBS and the Olympics. But with the advent of cable, Internet platforms and DVDs the sheer volume of options has bred higher and higher quality shows, shows that people want to own and talk about. We are as likely to display a boxed set of Mad Men on the book shelf as, well, books.

Dumenco pokes fun at our newfound elitism, writing that so-called “must see TV” has become “home-workey.” Clearly appointment television has entered the highest tiers of society. We like to brag about being up-to-date on the greatest shows, and not just around the water cooler but via Twitter and Facebook. We are ever so slightly dismissive of those who aren’t. Ironically, it reminds me of those kids in college who pooh-poohed TV altogether, claiming it was junk food. Indeed, I remember feeling cool admitting I didn’t watch TV at all. Just football and the news, I used to say. Not anymore.

I adore Mad Men and True Blood. I am frothing at the mouth to catch AMC’s latest offering, The Walking Dead. And I still think the Simpson’s provides some of the finest social satire available.

In addition to regular folk developing meaningful, long-term relationships with TV, so are many big time creators of content. Dumenco points out Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Boardwalk Empire as a prime example. It is no longer considered “slumming” for a famous feature director to take on the medium. Quite the contrary.

Perhaps the most revelatory aspect of all this is TVs rekindled adoration by advertisers. While Mad Men may only garner a million or two viewers they are considered among the most important viewers in the universe. For BMW and other like-minded advertisers going on such programming is like shooting fish in a barrel. A long way from the barrel of monkeys TV viewers used to represent.

When there were only a few channels, networks dumbed everything down to the lowest common denominator. Quality shows like All in the Family and Mash were major exceptions. Now smart programming doesn’t just survive; it thrives.

Unlike Dumenco, who sarcastically wraps up his piece suggesting its time to “stop telling everybody just how much (we’re) gorging on TV,” I think this phenomenon is a remarkably good thing. And not just for the viewing public but for all of us in the advertising business as well.