I have had a roller coaster ride with television in my life. For most of my life, it consumed me. I would watch things just to watch them. Even if I had no interest. The severity of this problem hit me when I was working part time and home with Johanna and excited to watch Bonanza. Josh and I decided to give up t.v. for lent. We did pretty well, the Gulf war had just started so we did peak at the news now and then. We cancelled cable. We still watched t.v. Finally, we moved our t.v. to the basement and realized, if it was not right in front of us, we did not watch it. Then the switch to digital came and that was it for us. No working t.v. in the house. This was wonderful. For years.
Then came Netflix. And Hulu. And Hulu plus. And I could still say “We don’t have a t.v.” but I sure was watching t.v. I picked up more shows, I fell in love with more characters. I began series that had multiple seasons out and spend all day caught up in drama.
But I realized a few things.
1. Reality T.V. I can not handle it! Biggest loser, The Bachelor, Who wants to marry a millionaire, kitchen nightmares … the list goes on and on. But the problem it is, it is not real. We are comparing our lives to what the producers want us to think is real, but it isn’t. It is staged and fake, and set up and manipulated. And the drama…. I have enough drama…I have ethical issues with this. It is horrible. HORRIBLE!
2. Dramas. This for me is Parenthood, Downton Abbey, Dexter, Breaking Bad…These are shows, that for me, start out strong. You really get into the characters, the plot is believable, there are a few great seasons and then, BAM. Plot insanity. Some one gets arrested for no reason, someone else dies, another gets cancer, a person with grown children has a baby… really how much can happen to a family. Quit while you are ahead!
3. Cartoons for adults: I just don’t like them for really no rational reason, but I think that kids want to watch them more b/c they are cartoons and there are a lot of kids out there quoting Bart Simpson, Sponge Bob and those others from South Park and Family Guy. Ugh.
But there are 2 types of shows that I really like.
1. 30 minute comedies. These are the Seinfelds and Friends. (Although Friends got a bit pitiful at the end) But you can just watch an episode for the fun of it. Right now for me, this is Modern Family and New Girl. I think Parks and Rec, 30 rock and Community fall in this category, but I have not watched them enough to know.
2. Teen-age, could not possibly ever happen dramas. Something about these just suck me in. I think because I know they would NEVER happen, and you just love the characters and get sucked in to the plot. Will the dad who abandoned his daughter who is not really his daughter get deported or will he somehow win over immigration and get 1 million dollars? (Switched at Birth). Will Elena stay a vampire or will there be a cure? And who will find it? The original vampire Claus? One of the hot brother vampires that Elena loves both of? What about Elena’s brother, will his vampire killing instincts take over? (Vampire Diaries). And then there is the Ohio high school show choir who has no chance of winning Nationals, but still sing happily through the hallways despite fake pregnancies, transgendered students, graduated classmates traveling across the country weekly to visit their protoges, and the always interrupted love of two teachers (GLEE). The absolute ridiculousness of all of this gives me comfort. I can enjoy it knowing that it will never happen. It is entertainment for the purpose of entertainment.
So there you have it faithful readers, my very legitimate reasons for watching trash on t.v.