Quitting a TV show: what to do with all the time you’ll save

Another day, another announcement that someone has chosen to stop watching a TV show. Here’s what to do with all that new free time…

First, a joke:

Q. How do you know when somebody doesn’t have a television?

A. They’ll tell you.

That joke’s always been funny because it’s always been true, but the expiration date on it is fast approaching. Nobody watches TV on televisions anymore. We all watch TV on our phones, or on our laptops or on other people’s iPads across the aisle of a crowded train.

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In the near future, that joke will be:

Q. How do you know when somebody doesn’t have a television?

A. What’s a television? Bleep bloop bleep bloop*

*In the near future, we will all be robots.

Last week I saw a small child pawing helplessly at the glass on a traffic light console. He was trying to ‘press the green man button’ but having ignored the actual button, was slapping the icons on the screen like they were tiny flat foes, and crying. That story isn’t relevant other than to give you a mental image to laugh at, because we’re now going to talk about something very serious: time.

Time is precious, like a kitten or some gold. We must none of us waste our time, because there is so little of it about. When you get some time, you have to make the most of every bit because you’re a long time dead and life is shorter than E.T. (Not the film, the actual E.T. For reference, E.T. is about 3 feet tall).

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Because time is so precious and and we are all so important, everything we do has to be worth our while. That’s why everybody’s always telling everybody else what they’re doing all the time, to prove that their while is being well-spent.

A popular thing to do these days is to announce that you have made the decision to stop watching a television programme that you no longer feel comes up to the requirements of your while. If you’re lucky, you can make this announcement in a national newspaper or online blog, but many of us are limited to just telling our mum on WhatsApp. “I’m quitting Game Of Thrones,” we say. “Life, like E.T., is too short!”

Publicly announcing that you no longer watch a TV show is as trendy as pogs. The announcement though, is the easy bit. Once you’ve followed through on your promise and actually stopped watching Game Of Thrones or The Walking Dead or The Handmaid’s Tale, none of which came up to the exacting standards of your while, you’re left with a problem: time, all over your hands.

For anyone facing the dilemma of how to fill their days after having made the ultimate sacrifice and turned their back on high-end entertainment most of us don’t even pay to watch, here are some suggestions.

Quitting Game Of Thrones

Will save you: sixty hours, if you quit right at the beginning, before Sean Bean even says ‘eh-up, thass a big wolf, like.’

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In that time you can: travel from the Earth to the moon, just about. Getting a pilot’s license (which, let’s be fair, you should have done before even thinking about going to the moon) takes between forty to eighty hours too, depending on aptitude, but you seem clever.


Quitting The Walking Dead

Will save you: over one hundred hours, again, if you quit right at the start while Egg from This Life is still asleep in that hospital bed.

In that time you can: Complete Fallout 3.


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Quitting The Handmaid’s Tale

Will save you: Twenty three hours so far, if you turn it off right from the opening scene, before anything bad happens.

In that time you can: Watch a single series of MasterChef. A single series of MasterChef honestly lasts over twenty hours. There have been fourteen series of MasterChef since it was revived in 2005 not counting Junior MasterChef, Celebrity MasterChef or MasterChef: The Professionals. That’s two hundred and eighty hours, or over eleven and a half days of Gregg Wallace and John Torode being ungrateful for food someone’s cooked them.

If you quit MasterChef before you even started it, in the time you’d have saved, you could have completed this Level 3 Certificate in Human Resources Practice.


Quitting NCIS

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Will save you: About two hundred and fifty hours.

In that time you can: The General Dental Council requires members to complete 250 hours of Continuous Professional Development every five years. Excellent news if you’re a member of the General Dental Council.


Quitting Sharp Objects

Will save you: Just eight hours, if you quit from the first time Amy Adams appears on screen.

In that time you could: Watch 2016 historical fantasy feature film A Lullaby To The Sorrowful Mystery, which was selected to compete for the Golden Bear at the 66th International Berlin Film Festival. It looks quite good.

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Quitting The Big Bang Theory

Will save you: About ninety-three hours, if you stopped watching it before Penny and Leonard first met.

In that time you could: in a single week, work the maximum amount of hours in a Junior Doctor’s contract.

Alternatively, you could make an actual, really good, close friend, the sort of person you could moan to about how many seasons of The Big Bang Theory there are. According to this, it takes around ninety hours of spending time with someone to form a real friendship. To make a best friend, that takes over two hundred hours, so you’d have to be willing to sacrifice the entirety of The Simpsons. (Not worth it.)


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Quitting Britain’s Got Talent

Will save you: one series of Britain’s Got Talent takes up around eighteen hours of your free time.

In that time you can: according to this children’s question room section of the Toyota website (children have so many questions about Toyotas), in eighteen hours, you can build a Toyota car from scratch.

I mean, you couldn’t do that, obviously. But in the near future, when you’re a robot, fill your boots.