It’s not a new observation, I know, but I’m finding the idea that whether or not I like a thing has nothing to do with how ‘good’ it is to be increasingly concrete.
When I’m alone, I typically opt for the familiar; I’ll watch long-running stuff that I know I like, or play games I’ve already spent way too long in. I’ve beaten every side op in Metal Gear Solid V, I have re-watched Monster Factory more times than is reasonable, I have found every collectible in Just Cause 3. I do these things not because they’re ‘good’, whatever that means, but because I find comfort and satisfaction in them. There is, of course, something to be said for appreciating the work that people have put into these things, but I cannot ignore the fact that there are ‘better’ ways I could spend my time.
This is getting more into my own neuroses, I’m sure, but I also really struggle to watch new things alone if they’re not a hundred percent engaging a hundred percent of the time. I get distracted. I look at Twitter. I play a game on my phone. I fiddle with stuff on my desk. Even when I was attending screenings in a lecture theatre, I was bad at this; I suspect that’s a lot of the reason I never really got into Gurren Lagann; I am aware that by all accounts, I probably should have liked that show.
The only new (to me) stuff I watched this year were the first few episodes of the shows I was assigned to cover for this blog, and stuff I watched with people. Mushishi, Yamaneko, Yuyushiki, and Nyanbo stick out as those I most enjoyed. I can’t point to any internal reason that these shows have stuck with me and other ones I have tried to watch alone have not, so I’m left with the only distinguishing factor: the company of people I like.
Of course, there’s also the fact that a scheduled, regular call with prepared entertainment is a great excuse to talk to someone, and a great source of things to talk about. Living alone, and not being particularly good at motivating myself to do social things, this is invaluable. I find comfort in and look forward to these sessions.
So I guess, in conclusion, if you’re anything like me: watch stuff with people you like. You’ll enjoy it more. This should surprise nobody, but I wanted to explicitly acknowledge it. And, I suppose, thank the people who have watched things with me.
I should move.