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Awesomeness Withdrawal

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"You've been eye-guzzling that show for 58 episodes. Oh, god, there they are! The final, final credits. You've fallen into... a showhole. The struggle could not be more real. Why even have a TV?"
Amazon Fire TV commercial

So you've just finished a series/book/movie/video game/whatever that was simply amazing. The characters were likable, the plot was masterfully executed, the work as a whole was just thoroughly enjoyable. So you're sitting there, admiring the skill of those who crafted such a masterpiece, reveling in the powerful emotional responses it evoked within you (yes, even the more negative ones too)...and then it hits you.

It's over.

That's it. No more clever plot twists, no more suspense, no more drama, no more laughter, no more character development. Whatever it was that made you love the work, it's been used up. Everyone has said all there was to say. Sure, you could just rewatch/reread/replay/rewhatever it, but you know it just won't be quite the same as that wondrous first time through when you're just getting to know the characters, when you're on the edge of your seat from the suspense of wondering what happens next, when everything is new, unfamiliar and unexpected. You might hope for a sequel, but even assuming one does come there's no guarantee it will be able to recapture the full glory of its predecessor. Suddenly, one of the most enjoyable times of your life has slipped away from the full splendor of present experience into the realm of memory, where all things grow dull and dim over time.

This is Awesomeness Withdrawal: when the emotional high that comes with seeing a thoroughly satisfying and well-done work through to its conclusion is marred by the heartbreaking realization that, to some degree, a truly wonderful chapter of your life has ended along with that work. It's a bittersweet feeling that ultimately is a testament to just how awesome the work really was. This feeling will often motivate repeated rewatching (or rereading/replaying/rewhatevering) of the work that evoked it, despite the fact that part of what produces this feeling is often the belief that it won't ever be quite as good as the first time. Sometimes this belief holds true, sometimes it doesn't. Fans may also seek out similar works to try to alleviate their withdrawal symptoms.

Extreme cases can turn into dependence on Escapism, an obsession to flee from real life if the person has a very inactive lifestyle or feels powerless in real-life circumstances and was using a work as a deterrent from a mind-numbing reality. If this happens, then the only real solution is to build a place to keep interest from going away. Such is why forums exist and franchises persist- so that the flame never dies and may produce new offspring, even if it takes a long time.

At conventions, this is known as "post-con depression"; the social aspect of cons can make having to leave a con painful for congoers who make friends at cons, especially if they neglect to exchange contact info before parting ways.

"Olympics withdrawal symptoms" has been used to describe the same feeling with regards to the days after major sports events coming to a close and there suddenly being no more sports on in prime time slots every evening. Especially notable if living in the host nation, where the hype for the Olympics or FIFA World Cup has been rising for years since the bid for the event was won.

There is the solemn acknowledgement that you can get too much of a good thing. Plots stretched too much become hackneyed. Characters onstage too long become stale or worse. Revisiting a beloved universe makes that universe lose its wonder. Nobody wants to see their favorite work become little more than a Cash-Cow Franchise or a Franchise Zombie now in the hands of greedy executives. Or worse, having a work stubbornly continued by a creator who has just lost his touch. Sometimes it's a matter of knowing when its time to let go, move on, and seek out something new and fresh, perhaps seeking out a Spiritual Successor.

Often induced by works that are So Cool, It's Awesome. This can be the result of archive-binging a long-running webcomic; you've spent a day or two reading at least a thousand strips of sheer awesome, and now you'll have to cut back to two or three a week — or worse, it's over (or even worse, DEAD).

One of the leading causes of Fan Fiction, which often is used as a method of trying to relive the high with original material... results vary.

Compare It's Short, So It Sucks!. Contrast Ending Fatigue, where instead of wishing for the story to go on, you find yourself wishing it would end already.


Live-Action TV

  • Comrade Detective: Six episodes of scathing satirization of propaganda in mass media, with an And the Adventure Continues ending and then that's it.
  • Forever (2014): Countless fans have lamented coming to the end of the series, which wrapped up some plot threads but left others open for the next season that never came.
  • The Good Place: After four seasons, the show wraps itself up in what's often considered a Wham Episode, neatly skirting Seasonal Rot.
  • Happens every year for fans of Eurovision. The stronger the year's entries are, the worse it is.