Despite what you've heard, TV recapping isn't a career path

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The New York Observer has a 1,400-word trend piece on "TV recappers."

Really. 1,400 words. On recapping.

I've recapped. A lot. Hell, I was recapping before recappers called it recapping. And while I know I'm coming off as the cranky geriatric waving his cane at those flippant effin' youngsters, I think I've got some cred here.

Despite the overblown prose and expectations running through the Observer piece, the key to a good recap lies not with the "writer." It doesn't matter how snarky or funny or thorough you are. A good recap comes down to one tiny thing:

The show must be awesome.

Really. You think the same sort amazing community that took hold around The Lost Blog would have formed had my drug of choice been "According to Jim"?

You already know the answer to that.

I don't fault anyone who recaps. It's a perfectly lovely and fun thing to do. I may even do it again at some point far in the future. But there's a line in the Observer piece that stuck deep in my craw, and I'm inclined -- nay, compelled from the depths of my angry soul -- to disagree:

Right now, the career path of the TV recapper is largely undetermined. One would think that the job would lead to a career in traditional television journalism.

"One would think."

Nonsense. One isn't thinking at all. Dig into recapping and you'll see there's no there, there. It's a hobby. Not a job. Recapping a television show might display your linguistic capabilities. You might turn a phrase or two. But recapping in no way serves as a stepping stone toward bigger and better things. You know why? Because you're recapping a television show. It ain't that hard.

Recappers of the world, I implore you: Keep your expectations realistic and enjoy what you do because it's an enjoyable thing to do. That alone is -- and should be -- the reward.

Tags:   recapping, reviews, television, writing