Monday, June 23, 2008

TV And Me

Hi, my name is Working. And I’m… (oh my gawd, this is so embarrassing)… I am a TV Addict.

There. I said it. I love TV. Love, love, love TV. Or at least that’s what you would think lookin’ at me. Cuz I seem to be watching a lot of it these days.

Not all programming, mind you. I can say no anytime I want. Why just yesterday I hollered at CBC before I cut it off mid-Maria (CBC, I seriously quit you). So I claim to maintain some level of discrimination.

(Trevor would probably disagree. Yeah, well my Love, if you hate So You Think You Can Dance so much, why do you keep watching it when I watch it?)

Whatever the case, it’s clear that despite the effects of the writer’s strike, I somehow manage to find enough TV to suck hours and hours out of my life. And I blame it on my parents (a total shocker, I’m sure).

They didn’t believe in TV, those parents of mine with their hippy-dippy no-sugar, no-processed food, no-fun ways. My first memory of television was when I was very young, maybe four or five, circa 1980. A babysitter powered up a small black and white TV she found in our basement. Until she did that, I didn’t even know TV existed. I don’t remember seeing that particular set ever again. 

See, fun for us in those days was spinning around the basement telepost to the musical stylings of Raffi and Sharon, Lois and Bram (with, if I remember correctly, our stockings twisted around our ankles so as to inch us ever closer to the brink of chaos as per the forces of gravity*).

Fast forward to grade school and sleepovers at Grandma’s. My repertoire could now boast very few episodes of Sesame Street, The Flintstones and The Smurfs. On the playground, all the cool kids were playing Star Wars and Strawberry Shortcake. I had to fake my way through the scenarios. Which is probably why I was constantly an Ewok. An Ewok who never stuck to script.

Then, my TV experience took a dark turn: fibbing to my mother.  I would run over to my best friend Katie’s house after school “to play”.
“So you actually wanna play?” Katie would ask.
“Um… let’s watch Video Hits,” I would say, trying to keep calm.
“Okay,” she would roll her eyes.  

It. Blew. My. Mind.

So Katie gave me Video Hits.  I tried to convert her to Catholicism (you're welcome, Katie).

Fast forward again to the late 80’s. We’d just returned from living in Africa (a stint that didn’t do much to improve my significant social handicaps, trust me). My parents were on the brink of divorce by this time. And in perhaps the single most important display of hopelessness, Dad went out one day and returned with a TV / VCR combo.

And that’s pretty much how I spent the 90’s; Star Trek: TNG. Cheers.  Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. MASH. Northern Exposure. Mad About You. Beverly Hills 90210. The Simpsons. Roseanne. Melrose Place. And so many more that I can’t even remember. I watched TV as my parents got divoced, my mom took off, and my Dad tried to raise the five of us in between double shifts. We all just sort of checked out. Grieving by the light of the silvery tube, if you will.

So now it’s some 20 years later and I seem to go through phases: first, intensely busy times when I happily and easily ignore all forms of TV.  This usually happens when I'm working a lot.  Too much.

Then, long stretches of, well, checking out. It has to be called that. This phase I'm in right now simply has to be called that.  When I don't have work, TV is my precious time killer.  My convenient out. 

Then it happened.  I was sitting in front of it the other day and it suddenly occurred to me that I am deeply, profoundly bored.

The question was clear: what am I avoiding?  And at what cost?

(Answer: turning your life into something meaningful. Get off your f*cking ass already)

So Trevor and I are cutting off the cable**.  It's a good move.  Though, I already feel a little shaky.  

*  Yeah, I have no idea.  Blame it on No television.
** Note that I work in the Television industry.  For a cable specialty channel.  Which I won't be able to watch.  Now is that dedication or what?

posted by Working From Home Today
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Anonymous James ~ 10:32 AM

Oh my God, I'm shocked! You're quitting cold turkey? I mean, you're likely going to end up watching all kinds of crap on over the air channels (like Maria.)

A person needs a hobby. I avoided the whole reality craze because I knew it was stupid yet everyone got addicted to it. Thus, I avoided it like I avoid crack.

And this realization: you were but a pre-pubescent tot when the Simpsons went on the air. I was an adult (physically.) And you couldn't even watch it at first!

Might I suggest gardening when/if you move into your house on the prairies? I've discovered the joy of weeding this year (after eight years of trying to grow a flower bed.) That's what gardeners do, they weed. Maybe five per cent watering, and some time tilling and planting, but it's mostly weeding.

But there is joy in weeding. One becomes closer to the Earth. And it's satisfying to, essentially, get to conduct your own genocide. It's just human nature.  

Blogger Working From Home Today ~ 10:53 AM

I have a bookshelf of hobbies I need to get back to. Tarot's one of the big ones. I'm kind of excited, actually.  

Blogger James ~ 4:39 PM

You can't get your fingernails dirty with Tarot.

Or can you?

gardeners are biased, and often an angry bunch.  

Anonymous Anonymous ~ 9:33 PM

Everything good comes out on DVD long did it take you to watch Buffy? You can still do that without cable...I haven't been able to watch the station I work for for years...welcome  

Blogger Working From Home Today ~ 1:19 PM

Okay, my TV-fast includes DVD's. For the first while, anyway. The Joss Whedon phase was fine because I was so damn busy. So it wasn't really taking away from anything.

(And yet, I still managed to speed through them. Honestly, the JW library basically replaced books for eight months straight)

I just can't be trusted. Cold turkey, then a gradual introduction of quality programming.  

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