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How to Navigate Talking About Fall Without Lying About How Often You Rewatch Over the Garden Wall

by Isabel Hardwig

Bad Habits Editor

Illustration by Lucas Ritchie-Shatz, Contributor

When talking about fall, my brain switches into a different and well-practiced social script, with key topics such as Leaves So Colors Now and I Eat Sweaters For Breakfast. At some point in this conversation, the following exchange will occur:

“Man, it’s getting cold! Must be time for my annual Over the Garden Wall rewatch!”

“Me too, because I also do that every year!”

Other statements I have verbally and enthusiastically agreed with are, all my time is going to be taken up by this Over the Garden Wall rewatch, I probably won’t be able to do any homework this month due to this Over the Garden Wall rewatch, and fall hasn’t really started until you wrap yourselves in blankets and rewatch Over the Garden Wall, as we have all done every October since time immemorial.

I watched Over the Garden Wall once, and enjoyed it. I remember some things about it. Probably I saw a Mountain Goats AMV about it in eighth grade. I capitulated to a high school girlfriend’s desire to rewatch it once, but we only made it about an episode in before I asked if we could kiss sometimes and she said no. There was a frog in it, and I think also a dog that was larger than a normal dog.

And yet, it seems that every year, the flood grows larger. I’ve watched it every year since birth, people assure me. I wouldn’t even recognize the changing season if it wasn’t so much like what Girg Overalls went through. Where did all of you people come from?? Were you abandoned at birth in a hollow pumpkin and raised by a kindly horse farmer? Did you crawl out of computer? I can maybe believe that some of you watch this show every year, but at least half of you have to be cashing in for OTGW clout.

Look, kids, it’s okay. I understand. Even I have the rare, weak moment where I claim, apropos of nothing, that I need to rewatch Over the Garden Wall soon. My conversational partner rushes to agree, eager to mark themselves as someone who also does this and will probably be doing this soon, maybe even tonight, haha. We can circle each other for hours like this, like two Furbys mimicking human speech. No one is ever willing to back down, to label themselves as vulnerable. And so the cycle continues, and each person feels more alone than ever.

Was there ever a way to discuss fall without lying about how often you rewatch Over the Garden Wall? Was there even a season between summer and winter before Boy With Hat first stumbled across our screens? It’s difficult to imagine any such time, but I encourage you to join me in this thought exercise.

The next time someone tries to bring up Over the Garden Wall in your presence, try to steer them gently away. Agree with certain neutral topics, such as it’s fall and wow, cold, but avoid the temptation to gain instant, unearned approval from your peers by lying about how often you rewatch Over the Garden Wall. You have many great attributes that don’t come from your choice in TV, and maybe it’s time to redirect the conversation to those instead. Try reminding everyone how creative your Halloween costume will be, or how cute you look in your little boots.

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