Friday, September 30, 2011

Why I Don't Watch TV

The class I am taking called Detectives in Film & Literature has pointed out to me something I already knew but tend to overlook.

I am not up on popular culture.

Movies are not something I go to, except maybe once a year. I don't sit around and watch them on TV, either. I don't watch very many TV shows. At the moment, the only thing I am making a point of watching is Survivor and the new Charlie's Angels, and neither are overly great. We also watch a lot of shows on History and Discovery Channel, but if I miss them, I don't worry about them.

I stopped watching a lot of TV in 1995. The other day I was trying to figure out what happened in 1995 to make me stop sitting in front of the 'tube, and it hit me. That was when we suddenly had more than three channels.

You see, up until that point, my TV viewing was limited by accessibility. When I was growing up, I could only get one channel - ABC. If a show came on ABC, I watched it. I loved going to my grandmother's because they could get all three channels - and PBS.

When I married, I moved up in the world. We could get CBS and ABC. After we moved to our current home in 1987, we could get all three channels. But not PBS.

The big C-Band satellite came to our house in 1995. You might remember those honkin' big dishes that folks had outside their homes. The thing was huge, about 10 feet across, covered with mesh, with a big pointy nose sticking up into space. It moved about in search of the satellite feeds.

So we suddenly had 250 channels. My husband picked up the remote.


And that was the end of my TV watching. I cannot stand to sit there and watch pieces of shows. I'm rather anal in that when I watch a movie, I watch it from beginning to end. Same with a series. If I don't see the pilot, I generally don't watch the show.

But it is not all his fault. That was also the year I began freelancing for a newspaper in another county. I covered all the government meetings over there, and that meant that I was out at least one night a week, if not more, and not generally the same night. That meant I missed shows. Which meant I just stopped watching, because if I couldn't see them all as they were shown, I just wouldn't watch.

These days, I read while he flips through the TV channels. Sometimes he stops on something and watches it. Sometimes I might look up if it is interesting.

I started watching Survivor from the very first episode. My mother had just passed away and I needed a distraction. It came on the one night I did not have something else to do, and it was on CBS, a channel I could easily find on the satellite. It has remained a show I watch just out of, I don't know, some kind of weird icky voyeurism. I know it's stupid and a waste of my time but I watch it anyway. I don't know why.

Since 1995, the series I have watched in their entirety are few. Here are some: JAG, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Xena: Warrior Princess. Also Six Feet Under, The Band of Brothers and John Adams on HBO.

I wanted to watch Lost but I missed the first episode so I never picked it up. I never watched X-Files. I never saw any of the offshoots of Star Trek, except for Voyager, and I only saw that up to season 3, and then it moved to a channel that the C-Band satellite didn't get so I didn't see the rest of it. Actually, I didn't see all of Buffy until I watched it a few years ago on DVD while I was huffing and puffing on the treadmill for the same reason. Something happened with the channel.

I have not seen a single episode of American Idol, So You Can Dance, or 24. I don't know what Mad Men or Modern Parents are about. I have not watched any version of CSI, NCIS, or anything like that.

These days we have one of those small satellite dish and 300 channels.


It's the same thing. Lots of channels. Nothing to watch.

I have missed out on a lot of TV viewing. But I have also read a lot of books, met a lot of people, spent way too much time on the computer, returned to school several times over the last 20 years, and lived what I consider a full life.

If that means I don't have a clue what they're talking about in class, it's something I can live with.


  1. My Hubby used to do the exact same flip flip flip, until we got Netflix. No commercials now, so no flips. It's wonderful. All that flipping he used to do gave me a flipping headache!!!

  2. I still watch Surivivor, (little Hantz is going to be just like his uncle) but I watch a lot of tv, which probably stems from my previous career. I also go to the movies at least two or three times a month, but that's mostly to spend time with my daughter, and the fattening buttered popcorn.

  3. I don't watch TV either anymore. I got tired of paying for all those channels and there was still nothing worth watching.

    I can't stand the flipping either. I must be anal too! OK, so I know I'm anal; isn't that the first step to recovery, heehee!


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