My wife and I were starting to watch a Netflix series when I said: “This looks familiar. Have we seen it before?”
“I’m not sure, Dick. But if we have seen it, I don’t want to watch another eight episodes. That would be a big waste of time.”
“But I don’t remember how it ends, so why not watch it anyway?”
We were faced with a big decision to rewatch or not watch. We chose to move on to another show, this one with eight episodes for each of three seasons. We watched three episodes and once again, we were puzzled. “I know we’ve seen this, Dick,” said Mary Ellen as the woman in the scene steps to the edge of the cliff to consider taking her life.
“Okay, Mary Ellen, if we saw this already, tell me: does she jump or not?”
“Oh, I have no idea, but I could never forget that cute turquoise blouse she’s wearing.”
A few weeks ago we were watching a movie starring George Clooney. My wife is a big fan, so when I said in the first few minutes that I was certain we had watched it before, she went into complete denial, hoping to convince me to view the entire movie again. I didn’t mind. I remember how one guy in the flick had thinning gray hair like mine and I loved how he combed it. A guy doesn’t forget something like that. But did he turn out to be the real serial killer? I had no memory of that.
This is not the only case for one or both of us forgetting unforgettable moments. After Mary Ellen and I had been married for six years, we were reminiscing about how we first met. In the course of the conversation, we realized we had actually met three years earlier than we thought, when we sat next to each other in a restaurant with mutual friends, then shared a cab back to our respective apartments. She’d have remembered me if I looked like George Clooney, and I’d have remembered her if she had jumped off a cliff after dessert.
But back to movies. Last week we were searching for some light entertainment. A few minutes in, I said to Mary Ellen, “I am 100 percent positive we have seen this. I recognize that guy.”
“Of course you do. That’s Mr. Potato Head. This is Toy Story 2.”
“He looks a little different than I remember.”
“He was also in the first Toy Story, Dick. But he had a different nose.”
And finally, our current viewing includes a British series called Unforgotten, which is ironic because we apparently had not unforgotten it. That was a complicated double negative, but Heidi, my proofreader, is on vacation, so I can get away with it. After three episodes, we both knew we had seen it before, and again we debated whether to finish it. We must have watched it when we lived in our previous home, when we had a much smaller TV, a lousy popcorn maker and a worn-out sofa. So we watched every episode all over again and totally enjoyed it. Location. Location. Location.
We have now decided to start keeping a log of what movies and series we watch, which ones we liked and those we didn’t. Mary Ellen is keeping track of plot and character development as well as the big stars in each production. I’m on the lookout for actors who know how to effectively comb thinning hair.
Dick Wolfsie is a former Indianapolis TV personality.