What do Arrested Development, Fargo, and The Great Gatsby have in common?
Yeah, not much, except they all took giving them a second chance before I liked them.
I just finished The Great Gatsby. The book, not the film. “But, hey, this here is a movie site. What’s with the snooty book talk?” Hang on, little Sally.
On my first attempt, I got about halfway in then threw it across the room. And by “threw it across the room,” I mean I gently put it back in my bag with the intent of never reading another word of it.
Just a few years ago I tried to watch Arrested Development. Many friends had told me how much I would like it. How it was right up my alley, fit my sense of humor, yadda yadda yadda. I got a handful of episodes in and gave up.
Many, many years before that, I had a friend who passed the Movie Litmus Test with flying colors. So much so that we were the movie-loving equivalent of Eskimo Brothers. We loved the same movies. Quotes and references from this shared world quickly became shorthand in our communication.
One day, his jaw hit the floor.
“You’ve never seen Fargo?”
“Well,” I stammered. “I’ve seen half of it.”
“Half?” It was like I had slapped his mom.
“Yeah. It sucked so I turned it off.”
Forget the slap. Now, I had just killed his mom.
With all three of these incidents, I was lucky enough to have someone I trusted and respected urge me to give things another try. With Gatsby, it was my brother. With the other two, it was a friend who I knew shared my taste.
I loved The Great Gatsby, Arrested Development, and Fargo when I tried them again. Why didn’t I like these things on the first pass? I honestly don’t know for sure.
Maybe my first attempts were too forced. Everyone said I should like or experience these things, so maybe I disliked them out of spite. My second attempts, while still at the urging of someone else, were more my decision.
Maybe I was expecting something different from each. During my second attempts, I was more informed about what I was in for.
Maybe the environment I was attempting it in wasn’t conducive to the experience. With Gatsby, for example, I was trying to read it while in the hospital after my son’s birth. It just wasn’t flowing.
Now, I am not saying you should always stick it out with books, movies, and TV shows that you aren’t enjoying. Life is too short to waste time on bad entertainment.
However, sometimes things deserve a second chance.