Serious Question: Is It Normal To Feel Empty Inside After Finishing a Great Piece of Entertainment?

The original poster (OP) only asked about shows and movies, but I am including books, because I’ve definitely had what bookworms term a “hangover” after all three types of stories.

When you become really invested in a well-crafted world and characters, it can be hard to say goodbye – and even harder to imagine finding something else to adequately take their place.

Does anybody else just feel absolutely empty inside after finishing a really good show or movie?
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OP wants to know if feelings bereft is normal, and these 16 Redditors stepped up to give their two cents.

16. It gives us something to think about, good or bad.

I felt so empty after finishing Breaking Bad for the first time, it was f*ckin amazing though.

I had to sit and do absolutely nothing for an hour after I finished it the first time. Literally turned off the TV and stared at a blank screen for an hour, contemplating my life.

15. Yes, even though it’s fiction.

Yes. Its because the happiness we got from reading or watching whatever is now over.

It’s basically grieving.

14. This is Seinfeld, for me. Comfort food.

I have three TV series that are my all time favorites, and I’ve watched every episode except for the last one on each. People who know this think I’m crazy but as pathetic as it sounds I can’t emotionally finish the series.

13. Luckily you can always visit again.

My dad used to say finishing a really good book is a bit like losing a friend, you’ve become attached to it and now it’s gone.

I think it’s the same with a good show/movie. Escapism is a key part to my life.

12. That’s going the extra mile.

My daughter is going through this right this very moment. She is a fan of Markiplier, a guy from YouTube, who did a one-year project called Unnus Annus with his friend and fellow YouTuber, Ethan. Basically, the channel focused on how nothing is permanent, everything comes to an end.

Tonight, the show ended after an 11-hour marathon livestream looking back at everything they’d done for the year. Just a few minutes ago, the clock ran out and the project ended. By the time it ended, they’d deleted all of their other social media accounts, and when the clock reached zero, they deleted the channel.

My 11-year-old is on the couch crying because it’s over. Like, legit crying huge tears. She loved the project, and even though she knows she can see them both on their other channels, the fact that the project is over deeply saddens her.

11. Endings are hard for everyone. Even the good ones.

I feel the same with books.

You become so involved like you actually know them and then you can never get more of their lives and it’s just another ending.

And endings make me feel empty.

10. We save episodes and eat them like treats.

Sometimes I cannot finish a show because I don’t want it to end.

9. It will always be a path re-trodden now.

“It’s because what once was fluid has become static. No matter what you do, you’ll never get that story to move like it did before.

I liken it to watching over the shoulder of a true-life painter as he puts a busy street on the canvas. What will he include and not include? Where will each new brushstroke take you? The wonderment that fills you as the blank canvas becomes filled with people and cars and trees and animals is the truest joy of reading.

But then you start to notice how little blank canvas is left – how few pages you have left to turn. And you are filled with an implacable dread, because you know it’s almost over. The mystery is fleeing; it’s coming to an end and all you can do is keep watching.

And then it’s over. He lets you keep the painting. You put it up in your bedroom with the rest and you know that at any point in the rest of your life, you can go back and look at it again, but it just won’t be the same. Because you’re not watching it in real-time anymore. The street you saw bustling with life is now dried on paper.

That post-book depression is the longing for the words on the pages to move for you like they did the first time you read them. When you didn’t know what the next paragraph held and the world in which the characters found themselves was entirely without limit. Because any time you re-read the story, you know that they aren’t free to roam anywhere like they were before. They are stuck in a cart on a track and all you can hope for is to notice something about the scene you didn’t before, and to just try to relive those feelings you had the first time around.

But it will never be quite the same.”

8. Feelings aren’t dumb.

I just finished monk a few weeks ago and my daughter and I agreed that we felt like we were mourning monk and that we miss him.

Same with schitts creek.

It sounds so dumb, but it’s so true.

7. You want to know what’s going on with them now.

Kind of.

It’s comforting to know that you have that show to watch when you bored and got nothing to do.

Also you miss the characters sometimes if there is no more seasons.

6. I’m getting recs on this list.

I finished BoJack Horseman on Netflix about a month ago, yet I find myself almost everyday revisiting my favorite/hardest/most impactful moments of the show because it gives me the feeling like I’m still watching the show.

I wish I could go back and rewatch the show without knowing the ending, but know obviously we can’t. I feel like I just can’t let the show go just yet.

5. Luckily, good shows all the way through remain rare.

I actually prefer when a show gets shitty on its own after a while and I can choose to stop watching. When a consistently good show ends it just feels too…final.

4. Not as intense, but there.

I have had similar feelings to losing someone after finishing certain shows.

But the good thing is that in a little while you can start it over and you’ll notice things you didn’t the first time and the big sad doesn’t hit as hard the second time!

3. The good news is, there’s always something else to try.

Yes! Knowing that you’re leaving the world and characters behind is a heavy feeling. It’s more likely to happen to me with more serious dramas since I’m more immersed in the world and tend to pay more attention instead of multitasking on Reddit and such. One notable exception being Community, that series finale wrecked me.

I saw you mentioned The Queen’s Gambit in another comment and ugh, such a perfect ending to a well written show. Another Netflix show that caused existential angst- DarK. Warning: It will break your brain. And any of the Harlan Coben miniseries.

2. They’re like old friends.

Dreadfully empty, yes! Although I’m really late to the game on this one, I recently began The Blacklist on Netflix this past week and I’ve found myself almost missing the characters in the show as if I know them personally.

1. That’s one way around it.

Amateurs, I always feel empty inside.

The last show that did this to me was Schitt’s Creek.

What about you? Tell us in the comments!