Oh Smoo! Empire is Falling. Should We Start Throwing Stones?

Of course not. But many have already begun to, because watching a show slip from a 6.7 to a 5.5 is indeed a steep fall. Empire is a great show, and even if it somehow erodes to a 1.6 in the ratings as a norm, it still has a place on Fox's schedule. But anything popular develops just as many opponents, as the German concept of Shadenfreude (enjoying the high and mighty falling) is as infectious as negativity. Empire is not an original in this category, as countless shows of different genres experienced this backlash. Big Bang Theory developed this during S7. Around that time, people gleefully watched American Idol erode in S13 as Mariah Carey and Nicky Minaj's egos drove viewers away. CSI experienced the same backlash during S14, ER hit this wall during S10 and Desperate Housewives experienced a similar vicious backlash during S7. Even shows with shorter tenures like Revenge experienced this as soon as S2. So why the hate for the shows which swam at the top of the currents? Let's examine the following scenarios:
1. I Used to Be a Fan, But I've Fallen Out of Love With My Show.
This is the most common scenario for people hating on a show. It happens when there are few directions creatively a show may take to impress viewers, and a show suffers creatively. How many times can we experience a shocking event like a a plane crash or tornado striking Wisteria Lane? Or how many convoluted plots can we handle Revenge writers throwing us in one episodes? And how many times can I handle losing a beloved character exit a show, just to have to warm up to another who doesn't fill the same creative void? Truth be told, people are heartbroken at the latter, and instead of just walking away and enjoying the memories of a show they enjoy, they hope the ratings fall to reflect the poor quality. Instead of finding a new show to love, they turn their energies into hate.
In this scenario, it is best just to walk away. There is nothing wrong with saying "I just can't watch Grey's anymore since Cristina left." But there is something wrong with hating on Shonda Rhimes, hoping all of her shows are cancelled. Or that Ellen Pompeo gets fat and unattractive. Even Empire in its shorter run likely has some fans who enjoyed part of the show but fell out of love. Be the Bigger Poster and Walk Away. Instead, focus on the shows you do love, and let others revel if they still enjoy your former show.
2. I Am Fed Up With the Saturation of Press This Show Gets.
I'll admit nothing annoys me more than everyone overdoing the publicity just because a show gets a little popularity. And it is even more mundane when everyone tries to be trendy and overdo the references to that show. I especially get annoyed with TV networks using that show's reruns to fill the less desirable timeslots, like CBS did with TBBT last year. I can remember this trend dating back to when everyone had to incorporate Friends, ER or Seinfeld into every news article or conversation, thinking it would perk everyone's interest. Everyone wants to scream "Will that damn show just go away!?" Truth be told, most shows with larger fan bases contain a higher number of fickle people who are trend chasers and will defect when the next trend takes over. Empire stole the buzz from TBBT, who in turn swiped the buzz from Two and a Half Men, who stole it from Grey's Anatomy, who stole it from CSI and Desperate Housewives, and so on, and so on....
In this scenario, just be patient. I'll admit I hate reading articles at TVGuide about every time a Kardashian changes their underwear. And I hated it more when Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, a show composed of reviling trash, was branded must-see-TV. That show filled the void of Jersey Shore and Jon and Kate Plus 8. But I'm sure others felt this way about shows I loved like Revenge and Desperate Housewives. Given time, all of the above except the Kardashians faded in star power. And the trend-chasing writers will discuss it less as time goes by. Just be patient.
3. If I Hate On a Bigger Show (or Another Like-Sized Show), My Smaller Show May Grow, Or At Least Seem Less Inferior.
This scenario is common among CW fans, who continually hope for the demise of a fellow low-rated series in hopes of their show being spared from the Grim Reaper. People think acidic comments will tarnish a show, and hopefully make their show less of a target. It was rather disgusting reading comments like "Jane is a Slut and Deserves Herpes". "I hope the Originals gets axed because I want the 100 to survive because Originals is stupid." "Scandal is garbage. Revenge should be getting a 3.0." "Empire is [rubbish] and the ratings show how stupid America is because Scandal should be growing every week!" Wasn't this paragraph a drain to read as I quoted so many nasty comments I've read?
The bottom line is instead of hating on bigger or comparable shows, we fans should stick together as fans of scripted series. We should rejoice that there are still so many scripted series available, because they seemed to be becoming an endangered species six seasons ago. Fans of sub-1.0 CW series should still rejoice that Empire is growing, because it means networks will invest heavier in creating scripted shows in the future. I'm not a fan of Empire, Scandal, TBBT or Modern Family, but am glad to see when they grow. And I marvel even more when a mid 1.0 show like The Flash helps CW grow and take 2nd, 3rd or 4th in their timeslot on select nights! If you are a Shield fan, stop hating on Flash, because it is another show in your genre. If Flash thrives, it means there is still an interest in your genre, and more superhero shows may be in the wait over the next two seasons. Stick together, not divided.
4. I Cannot Stand Commenters Discussing This Show, So I Will Use Negativity to Steal Their Joy.
A certain R-show prevailed heavily in this next point. Some of us commenters love our shows so much, we want the rest of the world to know and perhaps it will help the show grow in popularity. What happens is the opposite as saturating comment boards about these shows backfires, and commenters develop a hatred of a show they may have never even seen just because it is discussed too much. And worse, as seen on our sister site Trolling Viciously By the Numbers, trolls develop the fuel to engage in attacking these gleeful fans. This also backfires, because the people opposing the die hard fans begin attacking the show and generating hundreds of comments. A thread on Trolling Viciously By the Numbers once generated 2,200 comments following a showing of Revenge, which people who run the website view as a success as that many people clicked on the article, increasing advertising revenue.
If you are a die-hard fan, discuss the post in the appropriate places. Like during that show's ratings post, or in the weekly cancellation predictions. Do we really need to discuss Empire to the nth degree on a Saturday morning? And if you are one of the many angry fans tiring of reading about this show, either avoid the comments section on that appropriate day, or do not comment on the die-hard fans' flood of comments. If you engage, you provoke the fans, and a flood of comments ensues. And the website indirectly wins. Instead, stick to the appropriate time and place to discuss the show you love!
5. I Am An Unhappy Person, and Dumping My Poison On This Show Makes Me Feel Better.
Ahh, the last scenario, otherwise known as trolling. I will admit I am guilty in engaging with trolls and take great pleasure in running a cement truck over the troll's wooden bridge as they wait underneath to jump out and terrorize innocent posters. Just so I don't discriminate against our rising demographic of female trolls, I also enjoy snapping the troll's broomstick and shoving her into the fireplace! These people are truly a sad story, and the only way they can feel less miserable is to dump their poison onto others. Instead of hitting the gym or taking up golf, these vicious beings love to poison their neighbors.
I guess I'd better listen to my own words here, because the best way to defeat these toilet smears is to ignore them and contact the site administrator. They will eventually run their own cement truck over these sour grapes (or shove them into the site's fireplace for our female offenders). I was guilty of engaging with a nasty toilet smear last year who loved to dump on Revenge. And while I sharpened my craft with the humor and words, I drove people on the board crazy and wore out my welcome. These trolls will hate on every show, including the almighty Empire. I cringe, as I already see trolls breeding negativity about this show.
Conclusion -- Why hate on a scripted series? I'm still perplexed. But the bottom line is unless Empire erodes to sub 1.0's, it is likely not going anywhere in the next 3-4 years! Let's not give into the trend of throwing stones at Empire, because it is our friend whether we watch it or not. It is a successful scripted series which is making it possible for us not to have to watch a flood of cheap shows? So if you cannot stand Empire, just ignore the comments. And if you love your show, be mindful of your neighbors and seek positive methods of promotion.

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