There's something to be said for being out of touch on something.
That is, to say, in this swirling ocean of pop culture that is America in the 21st century, it's impossible to be up on every TV show, movie, band, internet trend, etc. And in the process of choosing your entertainment a la carte, Chinese menu style - this movie, that TV series, this website - you inevitably let something cool fall through the cracks. Something that you'd love and something that would inspire you and entertain you, but that, simply put, you just don't have the time for.
And then, when you find it, sometimes years after everyone else has, you realize what a treasure you've stumbled upon. The last time it happened was when I found Kolchak the Nightstalker on DVD - it was a horror/comedy/journalist procedural starring Darren McGavin that originally aired in 1974. It was before my time, but I found it as a DVD box set and fell in love from the very first episode.
Over the years I've found other things in the same manner - The Walking Dead Comic, all of Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, Star Trek, 1950's Italian horror by Mario Bava, the list goes on and on.
But most recently, I discovered Dexter. I know, get back up off the floor from where you just fainted. Michael C. Hall has been completely ubiquitous for over 5 years now, and, living in Los Angeles, how could one miss his blood spattered face on billboards, buses, bus stops, coffee cups... hell it was even on the neck lanyards at Comicon this year. Didn't realize you were wearing it around your neck didya?
It's everywhere. And I think that's why I never watched more than a couple episodes before now (well that and I didn't have Showtime). But I saw it, loved it, and thought to myself, well... if the show is THAT omnipresent, it's not going away any time soon, and I'll just jump in eventually.
Well it's now "eventually". And I was right in both cases. The show is awesome and genius, in the truest sense of the words, and it's not going away any time soon. And like when I watched the Kolchak DVD's all in a row, I'm finding myself completely immersed in Dexter's world in fantastic ways. And I don't have to wait for next week or worse (GASP! Next SEASON!) to continue with the story. Speaking of which, coming late to the party has its advantages. Sure, you're likely to pick up a spoiler or two along the way before you get to watch the show, but the advantages to coming in late are pretty sizable, not the least of which is the fact that you get to overdose on a show, diving in and bathing in dozens of episodes all at once. Coming in and watching 5 seasons of a show all in one month is engrossing, all-encompassing and incredibly fun.
And speaking as a storyteller myself, it's outrageously indulgent to dig into a single character and watch hour after hour after hour of his journey. As much as I enjoy feature films and going to the movies, they just can't dig this deep into a character.
It's like overdosing on something harmless. You can just keep indulging and it seems like it'll never end. There aren't many things in life like that. So as you let some pieces of pop culture pass you by on the media conveyor belt, you need not worry... if you wait, you can get it later, and in greater doses...
Gaudium per atrox.