Wednesday, October 31, 2018

On Television (part one)

1. I watch too much TV.  In my defense, so much TV is so good now--or maybe it's so easy to watch. One show runs into the next on Netflix and before I can reach for the remote, the next episode has started and, well, it will only be another 21 minutes.

2. I rarely just sit and watch TV--can I pat myself on the back for that? Most of the time I am washing dishes, or cooking dinner, or folding laundry, glancing at the screen when I can.

3. There are few shows that are "downstairs-worthy," which means I am willing to walk downstairs to the bigger TV and sit down and just watch a show. Currently the only downstairs-worthy network show is "The Good Place"--and it's the only show I watch with someone else. Hubby and I watch it together, otherwise afraid we would reveal any spoilers to each other. It continues to surprise me.

4. Most of the time, we all watch something different, in different rooms. I'll watch John Oliver on YouTube while changing my sheets. My husband will read the paper and watch a ball game downstairs. The teenager will watch something on her phone while doing rote work. A few years ago, before the teenager had so many activities, we set out to watch every episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but we drifted away from it. At least we got to Chuckle's funeral. The disc for Season Six sat in the DVD player for months.

5. After college and living out West a few years, I came back home. My mother would insist that we all watch television together in the evenings. "Come on out of your room and be social for awhile," she would say. This was before you could zip through ads. The sitcoms and dramas would be interrupted every eight or so minutes with commercials for hair products and floor cleaners. Having lived for years in dorms and communal houses without a television set, it was a shock to have all those shows reel before us--people shot, lovers ferociously kissing, actors smirking to a laugh track--and then perky actors insisting I needed products I had no money for. They were all at our command, yet at the same time, captivating us. I often sneaked back to my room to read a book.

Sometimes now, alone in the den, watching TV and folding laundry, I can understand her sentiment, how she thought TV might bring us together, that it could be a common language for us--even if our common language was Dallas or Dynasty.

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