When I was a youngster it was my parents’ habit to routinely threaten to get rid of the TV. This warning would usually come on the back of some sort of marathon Simpsons session or, perhaps, after that night before my Intro Calc exam when my father caught me watching a late night movie instead of studying (I assure you I needed the extra study time). It was an idle threat (whatever they said they loved a good Friday Night crime night on ABC as much as anyone) but it always struck me as ridiculous. Because although I was one of the few kids I knew restricted, at various times or other, to a mere half hour or TV on a weeknight (criminal by a 12+ year old’s standards) the prospect of doing away with the TV altogether was unthinkable. What the hell would I sit on the couch and watch?
So I’m as surprised as you are when I realise I have now been without a TV for about three months. Or rather, let me clarify: I have been ‘without TV’ rather than ‘without A TV’. I do have a TV – it just isn’t hooked up to the aerial. This isn’t a deliberate choice – just a combination of my laziness and Andy’s desire to stop me from watching what he calls trash and what I call brilliant. But when I say I have been sans TV for three months you mustn’t imagine this has opened some sort of cultural door for me. In your mind, perhaps, I’m in a leather recliner with a pipe, a glass of wine and Chopin on the CD player. In reality I’m smooshed down on the couch, eating crisps off my stomach and watching Series 2 of Peep Show. Again. Yes because although TV is off the agenda DVDs aren’t. In fact they’re bloody better than TV. There, I said it. Why should I watch crap when I can watch something I know I will like? Why be a slave to programming when I watch what I want when I want?
All good points.
Then why do I miss TV? Because I do, you know. At least I’m really starting to and it’s not any particular show I miss (partly because I have no idea what the hell is even on TV these days) but the idea of interconnectedness that TV does give us. Orson Welles said TV was a medium that allowed millions of people to watch the same thing and still feel lonely but I sort of disagree. I like overhearing people talk about some show or other and knowing what they’re talking about. I enjoy having an opinion on some ridiculously insignificant development on another show. I miss being able to call someone I know will be watching the same show as me purely in order to take the piss out of it. It’s a pathetic way to feel like part of a community but it’s better than, you know, taking an interest in peoples’ LIVES or something. It allows social lepers like myself to feel like we know what social interaction means.
So, dear readers and friends, when your phone rings in the next episode of this cheesy reality TV show or that ridiculously farfetched drama (*cough* Moonlight *cough*) please pick it up – I’ve got three months worth of semi-drunken TV critiquing to get off my chest…