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Proper TV watching etiquette for the uneducated viewer

“The Walking Dead” wrapped up its extremely successful third season this past Sunday, leaving fans hungry for the next season to begin. For “Game of Thrones” fans, the HBO hit kicked off its new season just an hour or so after “The Walking Dead” season finale. Both of these shows are known for their cult followings. Fans are more than just passionate for them — they salivate over Sunday nights.

The huge cast of characters and intricate plot development of these shows are nearly impossible to explain to newcomers. One thing is certain: Nothing is more likely to ruin a viewing party more than an uninitiated viewer who interrupts for clarification on each and every each character and plot point.

For those unfamiliar with shows with cult followings like “Game of Thrones” and “The Walking Dead”, these are some simple rules to follow, though the first, most basic rule is a must for any TV show: Don’t talk while the show is on.

That rule holds even for people who are knowledgeable about the program. No one wants to be distracted, even for a moment, when their favorite show is on.

Diving into more specific suggestions, the best bit of advice for a newcomer is to never ask the question, “Who’s that?” When the show is already seasons deep into content and storyline, it is virtually impossible to create an on-the-spot Sparknotes bio for a character. If you can’t figure out who a character is through context, wait until a commercial break to ask.

Know that when commercials come on, discussion among the enthusiasts is going to heat up. They won’t have time to field all of your questions, and for productions on HBO like “Game of Thrones,” there are no commercials.

Whenever someone tells you “If you watched the show, you’d understand,” that’s code for “shut up.” Hint: Even when you think you finally have your mind wrapped around everything, you probably don’t.

In summary, wait until the very end of the show to ask questions. In fact, just stay silent throughout the hour. Don’t make noise while eating snacks. Don’t laugh at jokes you don’t understand and most importantly, don’t try to keep up with the “Thrones” and “Walking Dead” enthusiasts. You will fail, and annoy everyone in the process.

Just sit back, take it all in and make a mental note to marathon the seasons you’ve missed when you get the chance.


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Updated September 27, 2020