Art of Conversation: Talking About Movies and TV Shows You Haven’t Watched

A few months back, I attended a “Gaye Holud” program, which is an integral part of Bengali’s wedding rituals, of one of my distant relatives in Dhaka. Not unlike other typical Bengali social gatherings, there too I found people huddle in discrete groups in accordance with their age groups. Possessing no intention of being labeled as a sociopath or pariah, I joined the group comprised of teenagers.

Poor me! The topic of their conversation was something to which I had – and still have – an aversion: TV and movies. Yet, I stayed there keeping faith in my meager knowledge on the subject. But, to my utmost despair, the only thing I could figure out was that they were all talking about some Korean TV series of which I didn’t have the slightest idea. So, throughout the festivities, I had nothing to do but sit idly by nodding my head and pretending to be engaged during the whole conversation.

When I returned home, I started thinking about potential solutions to my problem. Most of my friends were voracious movie-lovers as well, and I too often found myself tight lipped when we would meet up. However, after some research on the matter, I have been able to develop a solution-based model to help me get more involved in conversations about TV shows and movies.

Due to the success I’ve had with my technique, I wanted to pass it on to others to help everyone be more sociable. This can be particularly helpful whether you’re not a movie-aficionado, or if you just don’t want to be left out of conversations or receive smirks from others when you have no idea about the latest TV show or movie that’s being discussed.

Conversational Tip #1: Be a Passionate Listener

Listening and gaining valuable information about the TV show or movie is the first and foremost step on your quest to join in on a conversation. When a conversation begins, start listening to others speak first.

Take short mental notes of any characters mentioned and how they relate to each other. It is more likely that the conversation will revolve around the main characters, so they will be easier for you to identify. Pay attention to the trivial information discussed, too, as you may be able to gain important details that help you during the conversation.

Be careful: Sometimes you may find that people refer to the movie or TV characters by the actors’ real life names. Be circumspective, and try to distinguish between a character’s name and an actor’s name.

Conversational Tip #2: Try to Identify the General Plot

This will require a little bit of effort, but identifying the basic plot of the movie or TV show is incredibly useful. More or less, all movie and TV show plots share some common structures. In fact, there was a 2004 book published called Seven Basic Plots that identified the following general plots:

Plot #1: Overcoming the MonsterThe protagonist is on a mission to defeat and antagonistic force that threatens the protagonist, his country, family, etc., or the world.

Plot #2: Rags to Riches – The protagonist comes from poor or humble place in life to acquiring power, wealth, spouse, etc., which are typically lost before gaining them again after a personal growth experience.

Plot #3: The QuestThe protagonist and some allies set out to acquire an important item or reach a particular location, where they face many obstacles and hardships along the journey.

Plot #4: Voyage and ReturnThe protagonist travels to a strange land or alien world, must conquer the threat posed to him or her, and returns back with valuable experience and/or knowledge.

Plot #5: ComedyLight and humorous characters with a happy or cheerful ending. Often the conflict becomes more and more confusing before a single clarifying event occurs.

Plot #6: Tragedy – The protagonist is a hero with one major flaw or great mistake which is ultimately their undoing.

Plot #7: Rebirth A distinct event occurs during the story which forces the main character to change their ways, and often times results in them becoming a better or wiser person.

If you are lucky, you may be able to relate the general plot to another movie or TV show that you watched before to help with the conversation. For example, you could probably get some ideas about the romantic drama “The Choice” if you have seen “The Notebook” before!

Conversational Tip #3: Seek Help From Google

At first glance, this idea may seem a bit ridiculous. But, think more pragmatically. Google is an invaluable resource to find important information on movies or TV shows in such cases. With a quick search, you can almost immediately identify necessary pieces of information about the plot or characters from it.

You may find it uncomfortable or rude to bury your face in a smartphone for a few moments, but here are some tips that will help you easily sneak a peek at some important information.

You may be in a situation where some people in the conversation are already looking at their phones since it is a common scenario for people to check Facebook notifications and messages during a conversation. If that’s the case, just casually pick up your phone and do a quick Google search.

If everyone is actively engaged in the conversation, pretend like you just received an important message that you need to respond to. Take a couple steps away from the group, turn to the side and quickly open your phone and do a Google search. Once you’re done, join the group again, listen a bit and then find a good opening to join in.

Conversational Tip #4: Use Circumlocution and Ask Questions

Now, you are ready to ramble! But before you dive in, keep it in mind that you haven’t actually seen the movie or TV show. Therefore, you need to be a little tricky. Make sure you don’t talk about specifics, don’t opine too much and remain circuitous.

A useful technique is to mention seemingly wise remarks about the more general aspects of the movie or TV show, such as graphics or cinematography, casting, acting and choreography. Another useful tip if you find yourself stuck is to ask for someone else’s opinion about a character or one of the more general aspects of the movie or TV show.

Conversational Tip #5: Covering Up a Blunder

If you have little experience with this technique, you may be prone to blunders that make the group pause. Beware of that. Remember Conversation Tip #4 and try to stray away from saying something that could betray your cover.

If you do find yourself in an awkward situation, try to pretend that you misunderstood the conversation or misremembered a particular moment. You can also try to get the conversation going again by responding to someone with, “Wait, so what exactly happened when…” or “Really? Well what do you think about…”

The next time you find yourself in this situation, remember this list of conversation tips to help you join in and actively engage with your peers. With a little time and effort, you’ll find yourself jabbering away with people about the latest movie or TV show. And just remember, try a few times to help practice and refine your skills. After all, practice makes perfect, right?

Born and raised in Bangladesh, I consider writing to be an integral part of my life that helps me perceive human emotions unlike any other thing. You may often find me reading books or watching TEDtalks in my free time. As an ardent believer of human synergy, I dream of a world where everyone of us will possess a sense of greater purpose and solidarity.

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ENGAGE IN THE CONVERSATION

Art of Conversation: Talking About Movies and TV Shows You Haven’t Watched

A few months back, I attended a “Gaye Holud” program, which is an integral part of Bengali’s wedding rituals, of one of my distant relatives in Dhaka. Not unlike other typical Bengali social gatherings, there too I found people huddle in discrete groups in accordance with their age groups. Possessing no intention of being labeled as a sociopath or pariah, I joined the group comprised of teenagers.

Poor me! The topic of their conversation was something to which I had – and still have – an aversion: TV and movies. Yet, I stayed there keeping faith in my meager knowledge on the subject. But, to my utmost despair, the only thing I could figure out was that they were all talking about some Korean TV series of which I didn’t have the slightest idea. So, throughout the festivities, I had nothing to do but sit idly by nodding my head and pretending to be engaged during the whole conversation.

When I returned home, I started thinking about potential solutions to my problem. Most of my friends were voracious movie-lovers as well, and I too often found myself tight lipped when we would meet up. However, after some research on the matter, I have been able to develop a solution-based model to help me get more involved in conversations about TV shows and movies.

Due to the success I’ve had with my technique, I wanted to pass it on to others to help everyone be more sociable. This can be particularly helpful whether you’re not a movie-aficionado, or if you just don’t want to be left out of conversations or receive smirks from others when you have no idea about the latest TV show or movie that’s being discussed.

Conversational Tip #1: Be a Passionate Listener

Listening and gaining valuable information about the TV show or movie is the first and foremost step on your quest to join in on a conversation. When a conversation begins, start listening to others speak first.

Take short mental notes of any characters mentioned and how they relate to each other. It is more likely that the conversation will revolve around the main characters, so they will be easier for you to identify. Pay attention to the trivial information discussed, too, as you may be able to gain important details that help you during the conversation.

Be careful: Sometimes you may find that people refer to the movie or TV characters by the actors’ real life names. Be circumspective, and try to distinguish between a character’s name and an actor’s name.

Conversational Tip #2: Try to Identify the General Plot

This will require a little bit of effort, but identifying the basic plot of the movie or TV show is incredibly useful. More or less, all movie and TV show plots share some common structures. In fact, there was a 2004 book published called Seven Basic Plots that identified the following general plots:

Plot #1: Overcoming the MonsterThe protagonist is on a mission to defeat and antagonistic force that threatens the protagonist, his country, family, etc., or the world.

Plot #2: Rags to Riches – The protagonist comes from poor or humble place in life to acquiring power, wealth, spouse, etc., which are typically lost before gaining them again after a personal growth experience.

Plot #3: The QuestThe protagonist and some allies set out to acquire an important item or reach a particular location, where they face many obstacles and hardships along the journey.

Plot #4: Voyage and ReturnThe protagonist travels to a strange land or alien world, must conquer the threat posed to him or her, and returns back with valuable experience and/or knowledge.

Plot #5: ComedyLight and humorous characters with a happy or cheerful ending. Often the conflict becomes more and more confusing before a single clarifying event occurs.

Plot #6: Tragedy – The protagonist is a hero with one major flaw or great mistake which is ultimately their undoing.

Plot #7: Rebirth A distinct event occurs during the story which forces the main character to change their ways, and often times results in them becoming a better or wiser person.

If you are lucky, you may be able to relate the general plot to another movie or TV show that you watched before to help with the conversation. For example, you could probably get some ideas about the romantic drama “The Choice” if you have seen “The Notebook” before!

Conversational Tip #3: Seek Help From Google

At first glance, this idea may seem a bit ridiculous. But, think more pragmatically. Google is an invaluable resource to find important information on movies or TV shows in such cases. With a quick search, you can almost immediately identify necessary pieces of information about the plot or characters from it.

You may find it uncomfortable or rude to bury your face in a smartphone for a few moments, but here are some tips that will help you easily sneak a peek at some important information.

You may be in a situation where some people in the conversation are already looking at their phones since it is a common scenario for people to check Facebook notifications and messages during a conversation. If that’s the case, just casually pick up your phone and do a quick Google search.

If everyone is actively engaged in the conversation, pretend like you just received an important message that you need to respond to. Take a couple steps away from the group, turn to the side and quickly open your phone and do a Google search. Once you’re done, join the group again, listen a bit and then find a good opening to join in.

Conversational Tip #4: Use Circumlocution and Ask Questions

Now, you are ready to ramble! But before you dive in, keep it in mind that you haven’t actually seen the movie or TV show. Therefore, you need to be a little tricky. Make sure you don’t talk about specifics, don’t opine too much and remain circuitous.

A useful technique is to mention seemingly wise remarks about the more general aspects of the movie or TV show, such as graphics or cinematography, casting, acting and choreography. Another useful tip if you find yourself stuck is to ask for someone else’s opinion about a character or one of the more general aspects of the movie or TV show.

Conversational Tip #5: Covering Up a Blunder

If you have little experience with this technique, you may be prone to blunders that make the group pause. Beware of that. Remember Conversation Tip #4 and try to stray away from saying something that could betray your cover.

If you do find yourself in an awkward situation, try to pretend that you misunderstood the conversation or misremembered a particular moment. You can also try to get the conversation going again by responding to someone with, “Wait, so what exactly happened when…” or “Really? Well what do you think about…”

The next time you find yourself in this situation, remember this list of conversation tips to help you join in and actively engage with your peers. With a little time and effort, you’ll find yourself jabbering away with people about the latest movie or TV show. And just remember, try a few times to help practice and refine your skills. After all, practice makes perfect, right?

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