I thought of another item to add to my 100 things list, but then I thought, I could write a whole post about that. So…

I have a problem with suspense. In real life, I don’t mind change and I’m usually quite philosophical about having to wait and see—where we’re moving, a baby’s birth, whether vacation plans will pan out—the Navy has been very good for me in that way. But when it comes to fiction with the tiniest bit of suspense, I absolutely cannot stand not knowing how something’s going to end.

If I’m reading a book and the heroes’ fates are looking uncertain, I will flip to the last chapter and read it before going back and finishing the rest of the book. That habit drives Troy crazy, but I have to do it or I wouldn’t be able to keep reading. When the last Harry Potter book was released, I didn’t buy it. I’m not even a huge Harry Potter fan. I’ve only read the first two books and seen all the movies. But when we were at the pottery studio the night after Deathly Hallows had been released, and I noticed that my friend Laura who worked there was reading it in between helping customers, I asked her if I could borrow it for a minute while she was helping someone. She looked at me strangely when I explained I just wanted to read the last 20 or so pages so I could find out what happened, but handed the book over, bless her. I knew if I didn’t read those pages and find out what happened to Harry and his friends, I wouldn’t be able to even see the last few movies in the series.

And movies! I love movie spoilers, seriously. Bring ‘em on. When my mom mentioned that she’d seen Signs, I begged her to tell me as much about the plot as she could remember. I wanted to see the movie at the theater but I knew from the trailers that I wouldn’t be able to sit through the whole thing unless I knew what was going to happen. The only movie I regret knowing spoilers about is The Crying Game. I knew the big secret of that movie from a magazine article that I read before I saw the movie, and I actually wish I hadn’t known that one.

Oh, and The Usual Suspects! I actually have a funny story about that. Years ago when Troy and I were visiting our friend Dave we went to a Blockbuster to look for a good movie to rent. (Remember when you used to have to go to a store to rent a movie? Ah, the good old days.) I had picked up The Spanish Prisoner and Dave saw it and asked what that movie was about. I read a bit of copy off the back, including something about how people who loved The Usual Suspects would love The Spanish Prisoner. I mentioned to Dave that I would love to see The Usual Suspects, and he said, “Oh, me too! Can you believe that Actor O’Drama was Keyser Soze?”

I clapped my hands over my ears, but not quickly enough. “Da-ave! Why did you say that!? I haven’t seen it yet!”

Dave smacked his forehead. “I’m so sorry! I thought you said you loved it!”

“No, I said I’d love to see it, you dork!”

Dave apologized profusely. I shook my head and granted him forgiveness, because it’s not like I was going to let a spoiler ruin my day. He assured me it was still a great movie, that I’d enjoy it even if I knew about Actor O’Drama. And he was right, when I saw the movie later, I did like it. But that’s one movie I would have watched totally differently if I hadn’t known the ending.

When it comes to TV, this dislike of suspense takes a slightly different form. If I’m watching a TV show and it becomes apparent that missing one episode will make it hard to follow, that every show ends with a cliffhanger, I will stop watching. I get too involved in the show and will get completely anxious about what’s going to happen next week. I just can’t take that kind of drama on a weekly basis about people who don’t exist, ya know? I can only barely take it about people I know in real life.

Which is why I’m going crazy right now. If you follow me on twitter you know I’ve recently discovered the fantastic show Chuck. Chuck is an average guy who accidentally got information from a government supercomputer implanted in his brain, and sort of falls into becoming a covert CIA agent while at the same time working his $12.50-an-hour job as a computer tech and trying to explain his weird behavior to his family and friends. Mike was telling me about the show and how great it was, so one night when I needed to crochet but couldn’t find anything on TV to watch, I pulled up Hulu and found the pilot episode. I watched it, loved it, and went on a “Chuck”-watching-and-crocheting kick.

Over the following week I crocheted and watched episodes late into the night. I told myself I’d only watch one or two, but to me it was like potato chips: one only made me want more! So I kept watching and crocheting, finishing one baby blanket, three headbands, a big-sister gift along the way. I finished the last episode of Season 2 last night, and loved it. I’m so glad I found this show.

The only problem is, NBC still hasn’t decided if they’re renewing it for a 3rd season or cancelling it. Now that I love it, I’m totally and completely convinced that they’ll cancel it, of course. I’m hoping they won’t, because I’d love to see more. But in the meantime, it’s driving me nuts NOT KNOWING.

Ugh. Suspense is overrated.

21 Responses to “thing #101 about me: I hate suspense”

  1. Kathy K says:

    I am totally feeling you on this one! Our whole family LOVES Chuck and has since the begining. The other day my hubby was reading the partial list of next season shows that NBC had announced to me. He asked me if I realized what was missing and of course I knew. :-( He said the final time slots will be announced on the 19th of May I think. [Crossing fingers and toes!]

  2. Jillian says:

    I have the same problem with a book or story. Although not quite like you. If things start getting suspenseful and I feel like the author is setting me up for something major to happen in the coming pages, I’ll skim ahead a page or two to see if it will or won’t happen. Once I know I can go back and read the parts I skimmed. lol.

  3. Rachel says:

    It’s nice to know that there is someone else who is sort of anti-suspense! I too will read the last chapter of certain books before I start them- and it doesn’t ruin my enjoyment of reading the book in the slightest. Everyone has always told me I was crazy, but ha! It’s not just me!

  4. Rachel says:

    Oh, also this is why I haven’t started watching Lost yet. When the series ends, and I know I can watch all the episodes without having to wait week after week for the next chapter, I am in.

  5. Erin says:

    My husband John LOVES Chuck, and I recently did the same thing you did, started in on the DVDs. John’s pretty sure they’re renewing it- they just won’t announce it til they get the whole lineup or something? Who knows. But rest well, fellow Chuck fan, I think it’s coming back.

  6. bonnie says:

    Oh, I was spoiled on The Usual Suspects, too.

    And Signs terrified me so badly – it was literally YEARS before I felt comfortable in the dark again and I cannot let myself think about it too much even now LOL – that from then on I INSIST that someone tell me every detail of an M Night Shymalan movie before I will consider watching it. LOL

  7. Melissa says:

    UGH, suspense is torture but I still force myself to endure it. I don’t watch Chuck, but LOST drives me crazy week after week! And then the 3-6 month breaks between seasons make me want to cry. I keep wanting to swear it off forever, but it’s as addictive as a drug. I’m so glad it’s nearing the end! I’m gonna cross my fingers that Chuck will be back for you next season.

  8. Angella says:

    Now I feel like I need to watch Chuck…

  9. Katie says:

    Oh man, suspense kills me! I, too, read the end of books first. And when we rent a new movie, I look the summary up on IMDB just so I know if I want to keep watching or not. I have no idea why we just jumped into this season of Lost… it is not my cup of tea but I can’t stop watching!

    Oh, and there isn’t a birthday/Christmas/Mom’s day present that I don’t already know about, lol. Even the good suspense is annoying!

  10. sarahgrace says:

    Hee hee… you are so funny, but I recognize some of the same traits in myself reading this post.

    I’ve heard a lot of people talking about Chuck lately which makes me think that it will probably stick around. How could they not renew it when it’s become so popular? (Don’t answer that..) ;-)

  11. Clover says:

    This is too funny! Both my mother and mother-in-law always read the ending first in a book, and I want to beat them over it! “Hello!!! The author wrote it in that order for a reason!!!” :-) Somehow, I still like them, though, and we still have fun giving reading suggestions! Harry Potter almost killed me with the suspense, even though I didn’t “cheat”. My husband and I were reading it aloud to each other (we started that tradition on our honeymoon) and it takes SO much longer than when I read to myself– made all the suspense last forever!

    I’ll have to check out Chuck! Have fun with it all!

  12. Sarah says:

    Clearly this T-shirt was made with you in mind:

  13. LaurenC says:

    What is Hulu and why don’t I know about it? I think I will have to go searching for it and Chuck right after I hit post.

  14. Stephanie says:

    Too funny. I can’t stand suspenseful films, but only when it’s the scary, drama-filled kind where you don’t know if someone’s going to die or jump out at you or whatever. But I absolutely HATE knowing the end of a book before I get there. At the same time, I always want to know the fate of characters, so for example, with the Harry Potter books I read the last two as quickly as possible, then went back and re-read to get more of the details firmly in my head. But I can’t stand the idea of flipping to the end of the book or knowing the outcome of a movie. That ruins it for me!

  15. mamalang says:

    I am exactly the same way. Possible 8% pay cut that won’t be determined until June 30th? Ignore it and it will happen when it happens. But I can hardly watch an episode of Without a Trace on TV.

    ANd I read the last chapter a lot, too. It helps me decide if I need to really read the rest of the book sometimes. Maybe that’s why I just don’t watch that much tv or movies…I can’t skip to the end!

  16. mamalang says:

    And I love that shirt Sarah posted!@

  17. Lauren says:

    hmm, think i might check out this Chuck programme – i think they showed a series of it in the UK, but now you’ve totally convinced me to take a look….

  18. Bekah says:

    Aw, I remember being at Paint n Pottery with you while you had to read the end of Harry Potter! I miss those days….but I am very anti-spoiler. I hate knowing ANYTHING about a movie ahead of time and am even bothered by knowing how much time is left in a movie because then I can guess if there is another surprise coming or this is really the end. MUST FORGET Bethany’s comment about The Usual Suspects!!

  19. Troy says:

    Great… that darn t-shirt just ruined Harry Potter for me!

  20. Mrs. Wilson says:

    I totally ruined Fight Club for my sister-in-law. She and Noah were watching it in my living room and I was like, isn’t that the movie where he’s fighting himself? Apparently she hadn’t seen it yet. Whoops!

    I can’t handle suspense either. I always used to do the read-the-last-chapter thing, but now I just do the whole read-a-book-in-one-day thing. I don’t know which one is worse!!

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