THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Signs you should consider a breakup

By Matthew Gilbert
Globe Staff / December 7, 2010

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> YOU’RE SECRETLY HOPING THE SHOW WILL BE CANCELED

This happened to me with “FlashForward.’’ I was watching the sci-fi serial after it’s intriguing premiere, mildly entertained but never truly in love. In the back of my mind, a voice kept whispering, “Hey, maybe the low-rated show will be canceled, wouldn’t that be nice? That would solve the problem.’’ Suddenly, death seems like a convenient out. Right now, I am feeling that way about the intermittently decent series “The Event.’’

> WHEN YOU GLAZE OVER SO MUCH DURING THE SHOW THAT YOU FORGET TO FAST-FORWARD THROUGH THE COMMERCIALS

This is the equivalent of going through the motions in a relationship. You’re phoning it in, my friend. OK, maybe you’re watching just to escape; but if we’re talking about a series that you once loved, it’s time to move on, to replace it with another show that inspires you to pay attention. I’ve been there, with “Gossip Girl.’’ I was so absent in my presence, I finally threw in the towel and left it for good.

> THE EPISODES ARE PILING UP ON YOUR DVR

This is not a good sign. It’s as if someone is asking you out on a date, but you’re busy all week — no, all month. The subtext is that you are not interested, but you just don’t have the nerve to say so. Deleting a Season Pass can be hard to do; finality is never easy. But sometimes it’s necessary.

> YOU’D RATHER READ A FAN RECAP OF A SHOW THAN WATCH THE SHOW ITSELF

At first, you do it just because you missed an episode. You go online and skim someone else’s observations, to catch up. But soon, you realize that, if you go to a site such as televisionwithoutpity.com, you can save a lot of time. Furthermore, you begin to feel that some of the recaps offer more entertainment and insight than the show. You’re telling yourself something: You are ready to segue from hot and heavy to an e-relationship, with an occasional booty call if the timing is right. This is how I dealt with the later years of “Nip/Tuck’’ — lots of online action, and an occasional real-time hookup.

> EVERYONE TELLS YOU TO WATCH, SO YOU DO

If you choose a lover to please your parents or your peers, chances are the affair will be unhappy. Same goes for the way you select TV. Just because everyone is talking about “Dancing With the Stars,’’ that doesn’t mean you need to follow their lead. If they love you for who you are, they will accept your viewing tastes no matter what. I stuck with “Dollhouse’’ because my Joss Whedon-ite friends were pushing — but I didn’t like it. I bowed out, and everyone survived.