About a year ago I was having lunch with friends catching up on lots of things. I don’t really remember how the topic of TV programming came up, but one of my friends was complaining about the cancellation of one of her favorite television shows — Last Man Standing. I told her that happened to be one of my favorite comedy shows as well, but I admitted to her that I would often forget to watch it when it was on.
One of the curses of living in the central time zone is that the evening shows begin at 7 p.m. And even though I’ve been in this time zone for decades, I still don’t think about plopping down in front of the TV that early in the evening; especially on a Friday night.
One of the other friends sitting with us said, matter of factly, as if she’d been given the inside track, “They cancelled it because of his politics. They didn’t like that he was an outspoken Republican” My other friend agreed with her, saying that’s what she heard too. I dare not to ask where they exactly heard this, but instead asked them a fair question. “So, when’s the last time either of you watched it?”
There was a long pause, so I filled the blank during the temporary silence. “Seldom will a network cancel a show that’s making them money.” I then reminded them that the lead character’s politics had always played a role in the show from the start. It was what made the show — Tim always praising the politics of Ronald Reagan and most other Republican presidents and policies, while frequently taking a jab at the Clintons, Obama, and Democrats as a whole. Additionally, the family’s dynamic of having some “liberal” kids and some “conservative” ones, with a wife who tried to stay in the middle, was a large part of what made the chemistry of the show work. It was part of what made it funny. So I definitely wasn’t convinced that the network would pull the show simply for politics; no matter who was in the White House.
After the silence lifted, it turned out that neither one of my friends had even watched the previous season, and admitted they were not regular weekly watchers of the show prior to that. Like me, life came first, and without a DVR, I couldn’t even say that I recorded it to watch later. And neither did they. I told them that many people are too quick to blame politics or religion whenever their “favorite” show gets cancelled, as a lot of Christians and churches did when Touched by an Angel got cancelled, without looking at the data, the ratings, and other factors that may have contributed to it, as was the case for Touched by an Angel. If everyone who liked the idea of that type of family show being on air actually regularly watched the show, it would have last even longer on air than the many years that it did.
Recently, Last Man Standing returned to network TV on Fox, who announced their pick up of the show almost exactly a year after the cast learned that ABC was cancelling it. Once again, it’s airing on Friday nights in the same time slot. So of course I forgot it was on the first night it aired, and only watched the end. When the second show aired, I remembered it was on about 10 minutes into it, and tuned in. I texted one of those same friends, asking if she’d been watching the show now that it’s back on. I expected the answer I got…”No,” but wanted to ask anyway. “I thought you were so upset when it got cancelled last year?” She said she was more upset when she thought they’d cancelled it because of his political views.
Sure, I messed with her a little, but also reminded her that if people don’t watch it, it’ll be gone again. The entertainment industry is a business. And businesses are about making money. That made me also think about the recent response on Facebook and Twitter when it was announced that Toys ‘R Us would be closing. Hundreds, it not thousands, of people went online to share their stories about shopping at the store, getting their favorite doll or board game there; or just loving the commercials and the song with the giraffe. People had fond memories, but when poised with a similar question by someone online, most of these same people who grew up visiting the store, admitted to now doing most, if not all of their shopping online.
You can’t get mad about a store being closed or a show being cancelled, if you’re not willing to support it before that decision is made. Whether it’s a small retail store or an independent coffee shop in your community; a favorite TV show or radio program; or even an online shop, public support is essential to that person, that organization, or that company’s success. Support comes from watching, listening, or reading; as well as visiting, buying, and the all important part — sharing (word of mouth) about that business or entrepreneurial effort.
Several friends and acquaintances of mine, and some people at church, have commented to me over the years that they enjoy my writing. They like the way I write. I used to do a lot more creative writing — poetry, short stories, even plays — before I moved to Nashville and got involved in the music industry. After shifting from music to academia several years ago, I started writing again. Over the past six years, I started three different blogs. The most recent one, Grieve With Me, I started earlier this year as a means of working through the grieving process I found myself still in over a decade after the passing of my mom and dad less than three years apart. I also had observed some of my close friends as they were going through their own process.
Several years before that, I launched my primary blog, Catching Raindrops in Water Buckets, That’s the blog most of my friends were referring to when they commented on my postings. As the closing sentiments of my blog page suggests, my desire for this blog is to inspire, encourage, and share suggestions, tips, and new discoveries of ways to live life to the fullest, even when the pantry, bank account, gas tank, and perhaps even your physical and mental reserves are close to empty!
I have enjoyed writing and sharing, and appreciate the kind words when people tell me they learned something or relate to something I’ve written. It inspires me to keep writing. What’s curious to me, however, is that many of these same people; some of whom say they read the blog “pretty regularly,” are not subscribers to the actual blog.
Subscribing to someone’s blog is a commitment that goes beyond reading it when you remember to check for updates. It’s being alerted to those updates. And more importantly for the blogger, it’s a way of building a community of followers, which help to provide the means for continuing the work and time that goes in to blogging.
Imagine how a blogger’s community would grow if everyone who liked a post, were to also share it with their followers. Or the people who say they read it, actually became a blog subscriber, and maybe told other people about it — the growth from word-of-mouth to friends, family, and co-workers.
An entrepreneur with an Etsy site cannot grow their business if the majority of the people who land on the page, only looked around; complimenting them on the workmanship of their crafts, but never purchasing anything, or telling other people about it.
I blog because I enjoy writing. I enjoy sharing information with people. I enjoy knowing that something I said, something I shared, or something I suggested actually helped someone. It’s a passion of mine that I don’t think will ever go away.
Like the comedy Last Man Standing, Toys ‘R Us is getting a second chance. It’s heading back to a retail outlet next year, under a different name. I wonder how many of the same people who complained about its closing, will remember their disappointment, and come out and support it once it returns?