Tuesday 4 September 2012

Why do we put ourselves through it? - Adam James Bullivant

Welcome. My name is Adam James Bullivant. I’m 22, single, live on my own in a studio apartment in Preston. I spend almost exclusively all of my time sat in my pants watching a trifecta of American TV, Films and Professional Wrestling. Wonderfully broken up by small doses of pornography, trips to the kitchen for bowls of cereal and basic exposure to sunlight when society deems it necessary. Now I fear most would look down at this as a way of life. Luckily for my own self-esteem, I don’t.

I make this somewhat overly personal introduction for a reason, as it directly links to the theme of this article. I watch a lot of TV. Every TV show I watch, of any genre or nationality, naturally gets to that a single point in its lifespan where it has peaked creatively and, from that point onwards, will never be as good as it once was. There is no such thing as a perfect TV series in this aspect. Every series has this moment. The ones most fondly remembered and respected are normally the ones that called it quits before this point become clear for the public to see. Ricky Gervais being a master of this, with his now truly iconic series ‘The Office’ lasting only 2 UK series with 14 episodes in total. If that had run for 2 US seasons, at the normality of 22 episodes a season, then I doubt it would be remembered so fondly for it. But there is the flipside of this. You get certain series that, however wonderfully created/written, are on our screens and in our collected conscious for just so long that it’s impossible for them to reach the peak of their original success. The Simpsons being a perfect example of this. Now in its 24th season, with an astonishing 508 episodes to its name (at time of writing). A fact I only know after a quick Wikipedia search, as I stopped actually watching the new episodes years ago. Prison Break is not too exciting after they actually break out of the prison. Weeds, a US series that is somehow now in its 8th season, even after the “middle class single mum sells weed, things go wrong” format got painfully stale after only 2 seasons.

My point being, with every TV series, it finds a logical point where most people have had enough of it and start to tune out. Normally this is clear in the ratings and it not long after that it hits the television network “cancelled” bin, like so many series before it, never to be seen again. The same goes with the medium of motion picture. If you watch a film and don’t enjoy it, you are not going to watch it again are you?

Yet, as always, there seems to be one exception to this rule. Professional Wrestling.

Wrestling fans are like no other kind of group, dare I say cult, of viewers. Most notably those who regularly follow WWE. Which whether they admit it or not, is pretty much all wrestling fans in one form or another. Over the years, we have willingly consumed so much poor quality programming from this company. And yet, without fail, we keep coming back. Every week. Without fail. I know I’m not alone in doing this. I will sit and watch an episode of Monday Night RAW that I find both unentertaining and, at times, actually hard to watch. I will hit up every single of my many social media outlet and complain on the poor quality of product to any and everyone that will listen. I will wonder why I still watch this product, a thought that has been echoed many times before. But like clockwork, BOOM. 7 days pass I’ll be sat watching next week’s episode, expecting something different from the disappointment I suffered last week.

Rita Mae Brown once mussed

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results”

But every internet wrestling fan like myself seems to break this basic rule of logic every single week. Why is this though?

Now I’m not saying that every episode of WWE Monday Night Raw is 100% dreadful. That would be an unfair statement to make, though some may have come close. Saying this, the ratio of actually enjoyable segments to forgettable pointless uninspiring segments favour very much with the latter. To put it bluntly, it’s like having a sexual relationship with someone where the sex is only good 1 out of 20 times. Is it worth it?

When I get bored of a TV series, I know I can stop watching because the second I do, I have a choice of dozens of other shows of the same genre. With affordable second hand DVD boxsets, online live streaming services or naughty naughty illegally torrenting, I can access pretty much any TV series from the last five decades at my fingertips. And yet, I have this option with pro wrestling too. If I don’t like WWE’s current product, I could easily stop watching it all together and turn to a plethora of other pro wrestling companies. Whether it be Hulk Hogan announcing yet enough “announcement that will change pro wrestling history” on TNA IMPACT Wrestling. Or digging out a tape of Johnny Saint out mastering anyone that step foot In the ring with him in classic British World Of Sport. Or perhaps Los Ice Creams whimsically slamming someone onto a pile of sprinkles in the family friendly wonderland that is CHIKARA. Either way, we have the same numbers of options for likeminded entertainment. And although many of us also choose to partake in the enjoyment these other products can give us, we normally do it as the two veg to our World Wrestling Entertain sized meat. We might taste other dishes from the pub menu, but we always wash it down with the same ice cold beer. With WWE, or course, being the beer in that half arsed metaphor. We watch the others, but yet still stay loyal to the WWE and its often shoddy programming. And as long as we keep tuning in, why would they change it?

After much though thought and debate on the matter, the only logical explanation I have come up with to why I watch RAW every week, without fail, whether I particularly want to or not, is, well, because I have to. Think about that for a second. Addiction is, by definition, the continued use of a mood altering substance or behavior despite adverse dependency consequences. In layman terms, addiction is continuing to doing something that alters your mood, despite possible negative effects. A bit like watching the same, predictable, uninspiring, sometimes downright depressing weekly pro wrestling programming week in week out…

In closing, I seemingly watch Monday Night RAW every week because I am an insane young man, man sat in his pants, eating cereal, addicted to hearing stale King commentary and predictable main event booking. Well, and to see what facial hair CM Punk will be sporting this week, but that goes without saying.

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