I've quit many a thing without finishing: books, TV shows, movies, you name it. Usually, that's been out of disinterest more than anything else. I just feel little need to continue, so I don't. A lack of emotion, frankly.
I almost never quit out of anger.
I started watching The Affair a few months ago, as it had won the Golden Globe and its Rashomon conceit sounded intriguing. And the first episode, I felt, lived up to the promise. Both versions of the same events were interesting, as the two main characters cast themselves as a put upon hero whose family doesn't appreciate, and their opposite as the sexual aggressor who instigated their affair. It's to the actors' credit that they make these inverted scenes work so well, and that they could make two drastically different interpretations of a character still feel like facets of the same human being.
To understand where I'm going, the main male character-- Noah (Dominic West)-- is a novelist who at the start of the story has recently had his first novel come out, to little-to-no notice or acclaim. It didn't get panned or bashed, just... ignored. But he already got an advance on his second novel, which he intends to write over the course of the summer in Montauk, Long Island at his in-laws home. Noah's father-in-law is a huge, major writer, in the King/Grisham vein. Major books, major movies based on his books, but yet somehow also highly literary. He is a novelist unicorn.
In the first episode, though, we get the first strike against this show: the father-in-law throws a passive aggressive shot at Noah (who hasn't written word one of this second novel that he's already taken an advance for), saying, "Just about anyone can write one book. Very few people can write two."
Such a dick thing to say. But, he's a dick character, so I move on.
In the second episode, we get the second strike. The In-laws are hosting a big party, and at one point Noah is called over to meet the father-in-law's agent. There's a certain degree of sniffing around like now said agent might be interest in representing Noah, specifically on the second book. This triggers my bullshit alarm. For one, the idea that Noah would have gotten a major-distribution level book deal* AND an advance for a second without an agent already is almost, but not entirely, absurd. It IS possible, but highly unlikely. Though I could see, if he didn't have one, or even if he did, that a superstar big shot agent being interested in him would be worth checking out. But more to the point? The second book? He got the advance already. Deal is done. So what would said agent do? Collect 15% on a deal he had nothing to do with?
Third episode. Noah meets the agent for lunch. They talk about the second book deal and the advance. The agent suggests he could possibly negotiate something better for Noah. Then he asks if Noah has a contract for the second book.
"No," Noah says. "Handshake deal."
And that's where I turned it off and never turned it on again.
I mean, WHAT? His advance on the second book was a HANDSHAKE DEAL? Find me any-- ANY-- publisher with the credibility to get books into stores and libraries that operates like that and I will saw off my own foot and eat it.
Seriously, do the people in Hollywood really think the publishing industry works this way? Do they ever give anyone money on a handshake deal? No, of course they don't.
So that's something that lost me, based on something that had very little to do with the core of the show itself. Since the details were so off base from reality, in ways that I was intimately aware of, it yanked me out of the story so hard that I couldn't possibly continue. I was angry at how wrong they got it.
The moral? Do your research, get the details right. The things that might not seem a big deal to you can be the big details that knock your audience out and lose them completely.
So try to get it right.
*- Which the show clearly shows he did; his book is at the Montauk Public Library, though no one had checked it out.