I HATE television shows that end with “To be continued…”

After spending approximately an hour going through the emotional ups and downs of the characters as they search for one of their friends who had been kidnapped by an elite criminal organization…and that friend is being tortured and about to be force fed raw chicken through a beer bong…there is nothing, I mean NOTHING, more frustrating than to read the words “…to be continued” on the bottom of the screen.

How’d my feeling about that come to be?

I was about 8 years old and we (my mom, dad, and I) were in Toledo, Ohio on our yearly visit with my mom’s relatives. There are 2 reasons I liked going to Toledo. I usually got to stay with my cousins at their house while my parents stayed at my grandmother’s house, and the show Ultraman was on TV in Toledo.

This one particular trip to Toledo was going to include a visit to Cedar Point Amusement Park on Friday, so I had to stay with my parents at my grandmother’s house. Thursday morning I watched Ultraman, as I had all week long. It was a really good episode, too. Ultraman was fighting some kind of monster and he lost his beta capsule. That’s the thing that gave Ultraman his power. So, Ultraman is getting weaker by the minute and the monster thing is really beating up on him. But, this little kid finds Ultraman’s beta capsule and runs to the battle. Ultraman is on the verge of collapsing when the kid shows up with the beta capsule and then….TO BE CONTINUED! This is high drama! It doesn’t get any better than this. I just have to wait until tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow morning came, and my mom woke me up to get ready to go to Cedar Point. We were going to leave at 8am. But Ultraman didn’t come on until 10! I begged and I pleaded with my parents to let me watch Ultraman. We could leave at 10:30. But they wouldn’t hear of it. I started crying, screaming about how unfair the situation is. I was really upset. I wanted to see what was going to happen. Was it going to be the last episode of Ultraman? Or was he going to be saved? And how? These were questions that BEGGED to be answered. Finally, my parents told me that Ultraman would be at Cedar Point. Well, that’s all I needed to hear. I was ready to go. All the way to the park, I was thinking about seeing Ultraman. If I couldn’t see the episode, at least I could ask him what had happened. At the park, I kept asking where Ultraman was. I kept being told things like, “He’ll be here later” or “Let’s go through the mirror maze first.” But ya know what? Ultraman wasn’t there. I had been duped. And the worst part about it, in my 8 year old mind, was that I had missed Part 2 of the show. I didn’t get to see the end.

And that’s why I hate “to be continued.” I don’t want to risk being that disappointed again. Of course, I could just plan on being in front of my TV same bat-time, same bat-channel next week, but I don’t want to feel I’m being held hostage by a stupid TV show. So, I’ve generally stayed away from hour long dramas that have ongoing story-arcs. I know that, with the advent of TiVo and DVR’s, the disappointment factor has pretty much been addressed. But I still don’t want to invest that kind of time in an ongoing show such as “Northern Exposure,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost” and “Battlestar Galactica.”

Just in case you feel pity for me for not ever having seen Part 2 of that Ultraman show, you should know that…a few years ago…a couple of good friends from work who were aware of this tragic childhood trauma of mine, called upon the Internet and the power of EBay and presented me with 4 DVD’s that include all 39 episodes of Ultraman. ALL 39! Yes, even PART 2! After almost 30 years, I was able to see how Ultraman survived, how he gets the Beta Capsule back, and how he defeated the monster and saved the day.

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