Abby Answers: Can You Ever Love Something Too Much?


I talked to my brother on the phone the other day, and he was relaying his weekend activities of lying on the couch while sick with a head cold.

“Have you ever seen Up in the Air?” he asked. Apparently, he’d gone on a bit of a DVRed movie binge.

“With George Clooney? Yeah,” I responded.

“It’s really good,” he commented. Nothing emphatic or controversial about the statement. Not even something I’d disagree with—in fact, I heartily agree. But I still wanted to scream at him.

Act like you don't smell it and they won't think it was you! Act like you don’t smell it and they won’t think it was you!

I distinctly remember recommending this movie to him after I saw it in 2010. We grew up on the western side of Iowa, so I always like to think someone as handsome as George Clooney can live in Omaha, and I thought the family connection message of the movie made it a particularly sweet recommendation to other family members—especially when I live hours away from them. However, I also remember him being particularly resistant to my movie suggestions. “Uh, no thanks,” he told me. “You’re a movie snob.” This is a feeling he has expressed to me several additional times, like when he hated The Lego Movie and I loved it, or I expressed my displeasure with Let’s Be Cops.

The Power's in my hand! The Kenny Powers! The Power’s in my hand! The Kenny Powers!

Clearly, my brother and I have different movie—and TV and music and book—tastes. He likes Transformers and Duck Dynasty and not reading. I like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Rectify and recently had to buy a new bookshelf. We occasionally overlap—The Avengers, The Simpsons, Justified—but his tastes just run more to the middle of the road. And that’s fine. Not everyone wants to see an Iranian divorce drama. (If that sentence intrigued you at all though, check out A Separation!) But, as you may have surmised from reading previous installments of this column, this does not deter me from trying to make recommendations. If I like something, I want to tell people about it. Good is good, right?

Well, maybe not if you’re trying to shove it down somebody’s throat. (Which I am NOT admitting to!) I am a passionate fan of things and will fully admit to being a nerd/geek/whatever term is being applied right now. However, I do also realize that can mean sometimes I come on a little bit strong—which can make some people resistant. When I’m trying to shoehorn Terriers into every conversation, it can be having just the opposite effect of promoting it. And it also means probably not saying, “See! I told you!” when someone finally follows one of my stellar recommendations.

I checked I checked “Gluten Free” when I RSVPed and you still bring me the pasta? You bastards!

These days, we’re all fans of something, but we can’t all be fans of everything. People are individuals and have preferences. And there’s so much good stuff to go around, it’s hard to make someone an enemy just because they haven’t seen that movie/TV show/YouTube clip that you love yet. And maybe they won’t for awhile (or ever). Maybe you just have to be patient, or find someone else to gush over Penny Dreadful with. That’s what the Internet is (mostly) for.

I still want to be an advocate for the things I like. I still want to see everything and recommend little-known gems and find those who love those gems too. But ultimately, people determine their own priorities. So, as important as I think it is for my brother to watch Game of Thrones, in the end, it’s up to him if he wants to or not. And I have to be OK with that. I have to not pester him continuously about it. And I have to play it very cool when he finally watches it, thinking it’s his own idea, and freaks out at the Red Wedding.

About The Author

Abby Penning

Following in footsteps the likes of: Nora Ephron, Frances Fitzgerald and Eppie Lederer, Abby seeks to hone her opinion into a sharp and decisive tool used to inform and educate the masses - unless they don't agree, then she just beats them to death with it. Also a lover of pop-culture and friendly debates (arguments), Ms. Penning finds the world of modern entertainment so fascinating and compelling she can't contain her thoughts on what she consumes! Educated, articulate and opinionated, Abby's most distinguishing feature is her ability to work a minimum of 4 jobs for 80+ hours a week (Isn't that called work-a-holic?) When asked, "Why do you work so much, Abby?" she simply posed, "Who would do it better?" (Just kidding, I can't actually publish what she said.) Make sure to cruise her column, Ask Abby..., and to Contact Us with your questions for our thoughtful editor.

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