Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The boob tube

Another response to my post last Friday.

What TV shows do we watch here in Jenworld?

First, a bit of background:

When Pete was growing up, his TV was strictly regulated. Consequently, this is a guy who has almost no knowledge of the Brady Bunch. And isn't that just the saddest thing you ever heard? To give you a more complete sense of what I'm talking about, Pete's mother had a BLACK AND WHITE TV until just a few years ago. Actually, she might still have it, now that I think about it. He did get to watch some TV, however, and one of his all-time favorite shows was "Mission: Impossible" which we are currently re-watching on DVD. He also loved "Hogan's Heroes" and we revisited that show several years ago. Then Pete made the mistake of mentioning Bob Crane's sordid past and I simply couldn't watch the show without wanting to smack the sick bastard. (Crane, not Pete.)

My mother regulated how much TV I got. But on the weekends, when I was at my father and stepmother's house, the TV was always on. Seriously. Even during meals. Name any movie that might have been on HBO during the 1980s and there's a chance I've seen at least part of it, including "Runaway Train." Oh, and ask me about any episode of "The Brady Bunch" because I can probably describe it, including quotes. "Mom always said, 'Don't play ball in the house.' "

I also watched too much "Dallas," "Fantasy Island," and "Love Boat."

On a related note, I watched so much MTV in the 1980s that when I hear a Top 40 song from that era, I can almost always name the song, the group, the album, and describe the video. No wonder I almost flunked calculus in high school.

In college, we didn't watch much TV other than "Saturday Night Live." But my fourth year of college, Pete and I and my roommate and her boyfriend and I had a standing commitment to watch "Dark Shadows" on Fridays, "SNL" on Saturdays, and "Seinfeld" on Thursdays.

When Pete and I got married, we pretty much only watched TV on Thursday nights (Must See TV!) and, in the fall, Pete would watch football on the weekends. In fact, in our early years of wedded bliss, Pete was known to watch eight or even ten hours of football on a Saturday. That all ended when Grace was born and we just didn't have the time to give to TV. Plus, I put my foot down and said "no more."

When the girls were little, we let them watch a little Disney Channel every day, just so I could have a little peace and quiet when I had my daily nervous breakdown. Once they started school, however, there was simply no time for TV on a daily basis, so now they only watch TV on the weekend and it's one DVD per night.

As for Pete and me, we watch a little TV on Fridays and Saturdays. For a few years there, we were tivo-ing our shows, which enabled us to zip through the ads. But we weren't really watching that much in general, so we canceled our satellite service this summer and now only have network TV.

But I don't think we're really going to miss much this year.

Last year, we made an effort to check out several of the new shows and then got screwed by the networks when one show was canceled after just three episodes ("Smith" -- it was brilliant) and another one was moved from slot to slot with no warning ("The Knights of Prosperity" -- funny as shit).

So looking ahead to this TV season, we're feeling a bit wary about committing ourselves to any shows, so we're thinking about not watching anything and just waiting to see what comes out on DVD.

But, this long rambling entry has yet to address what we do watch and enjoy:
  • "House" - We've seen the first two seasons on DVD and are waiting to borrow the third.
  • "Scrubs" - We're finishing up the first season on DVD and will move on from there. I was dubious when my brother and sister-in-law swore it was one of the best shows ever. They were right and I was so very wrong.
  • "Office" - We've watched Season 1 and will eventually get around to the next one.
  • "Reno 911" - We had been watching this one weekly but will move to DVDs as they come out.
  • "Mind of Mencia" - Another one we were watching weekly on Comedy Central. We haven't decided yet what we'll do about this one.
  • "Shark" - We really enjoyed this show last year, but can't decide if we'll watch it weekly this year or wait for the DVD next summer.
  • "Ugly Betty" - There's no way I'm giving this one up, but it remains to be seen if we'll watch it weekly. I just hate having my viewing schedule dictated by the networks.
  • "Friday Night Lights" - I came to this one reluctantly last year. I mean, why on earth would Pete think I'd want to watch a show about football? But, it turned out to be a pretty good show and I got sucked into the drama. That said, we're not sure we want to watch the second season. There were some annoying characters and some stupid plot twists. Plus, we're hearing rumors that the show won't survive its second season. At this point, we're going to wait to see what happens.
  • "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" - These are great, but we just don't have time for daily shows.
Please note that there is absolutely no reality TV on this list. Y'all are free to watch whatever you want, but I personally think that reality shows like "The Apprentice" and "Survivor" were developed by Al Qaeda as an insidious way to bring down the collective intelligence of this nation.

Also not on the list above: Oprah, the harpies from "The View," or any other daytime programming. I know that some people think Oprah is the greatest human ever and that she should get the Nobel Peace Prize, but I think she's slowly and subtly trying to indoctrinate the nation into the Cult of Oprah. (For a great satire on Oprah, see this article at The Onion.") (Thanks to my sister-in-law for this one.)

So that's my story about TV viewing here in Jenworld. What shows do you watch?


Happy Working Mom said...

Hubby and I used to watch TV all the time. I always said there was no way I could ever, ever give up TV. Over the years since the kids were born TV shows have faded and now I'm content with watching a couple hours of HGTV a week (about 1/2 every night when I lay in bed and the rest on the weekends). I can't believe how easily it slipped out of my life, but I don't really think twice about it until some family member who either doesn't have kids or doesn't remember having kids asks if we've seen a certain show...then I get irritated because I wish I had and I hate that they throw it in my face that I have no time for it anymore.

Poppy Buxom said...

I actualy sat down and watched some Oprah yesterday for the first time in my life. I was at my health club, where they have closed captioning. Jenny McCarthy was the guest and she was talking about autism. I saw the word "autism" on the screen and it had a deer-in-headlights effect!

Actually, it was pretty good.

I find that YouTube is useful for catching up with scandalous must-watch television bits, like Rose and Elizabeth arguing on The View. (Which I don't watch either.) It's kind of nice to be able to stay somewhat in touch with that crap without having to sit through tons of it.

Oh, and speaking of tons--I'm addicted to The Biggest Loser.

Patience_Crabstick said...

Your childhood house sounds like my cousin's, where I loved to escape to from my own strictly TV regulated house. We were the last house in the neighborhood to get a color TV, and my parents didn't get cable until something like 1997.

House is good, although the medical inaccuracy is starting to drive me crazy. We like "Bones" too. Oh, and the "Saturday Sillies" on PBS. I never get tired of "As Time Goes By."

Flutterby said...

With the exception of Brady Bunch, and a couple reality shows, Survivor and Amazing race (sorry... but they are such excellent studies of human dynamics under extremely unusual situations, lol) I have not seen so much as one minute of any of those other shows you listed, lol. I used to rarely even have my TV on during the day. At the moment, Little House on the Prairie is on. And before this episode, there was another one. And before that, was two episodes of The Waltons. (see a theme here? LOL) And I used to watch Wings. I loved that one so much that I am currently buying them on DVD as the seasons are released. I currently own through seasons 4, with 5 coming out in November. Pre-order at Amazon. But I rarely have to pay much, if anything, since I get Amazon codes in return for some survey, evaluations, and points sites I deal with from time to time. And I watch the Food Network sometimes. Ina Garten is my favorite. I even blgoged about her today. We should get together some time... we could put on our own Brady Bunch show re-enactment... I know all the lines too, lol.

Flutterby said...

Oh and I HATE HATE HATE Oprah and the wannabes. Have never watched a soap in my life. And game shows have got to be the stupidest thing to come along the pike since before the Weather Channel.

Jennifer said...

Patience: You're right about the inaccuracies in "House." If I as a non-MD can pick up on that stuff, it must be bad.

In Season 2, there was one where they thought a child might have Kawasaki Syndrome. Of course, NONE of the child's symptoms matched. The only reason I picked up on it was that my college roommate's son had it a few years ago.

Also, they always, always, always suggest lupus. So much so, that Pete and I wonder if it's an inside joke. He and I joke about it too. Such as:

me: Boy, [name of child] sure is crabby today.

him: It could be lupus.

me: You're right, it's probably lupus.

him: Definitely lupus.

me: Okay, let's check for lupus.

And so on.

Yes, we probably need to get a life.

blackbird said...

It would seem that your household and mine were the only ones watching Knights of Prosperity - we loved it and were sore to see it go...

Lacey said...

House is the sh*t. Even if some of it is innacurate. I'm also a fan of Daily Show and Colbert Report, and I have to get my fix of Project Runway. At least they have to create original clothing! And Top Model, but thats just cause its amusing.

Josie said...

TV consumption in our house is sporadic.
WB is a huge sports fan - so that's always on in the background somewhere in the house.
I am a die hard House, Grey's Anatomy and Daily fan. Otherwsie I can take or leave TV.
Hate reality shows. HATE.
And Oprah? WB has said for years its a cult, LOL.

erin said...

I hate when you get hooked on a new show and they drop it before it can really develop an audience. I like your DVD viewing method - I might try that!

I never miss The Office, Scrubs, Brothers & Sisters or Entourage (although my free HBO runs out before next season, so I'll be watching that one on DVD). I dig House, too, but I don't catch it every week. I might try this season though. Oh and I love Law & Order SVU, but it's not a show I can handle watching on a regular basis as sometimes the cases are just too disturbing.

I'm kind of a news junkie, so in addition to keeping up with the news online (BBC, CNN, Reuters, local paper online), I usually try to catch at least a few minutes of network news or Anderson Cooper 360 in case there's an update or a new angle, but I rarely watch an entire broadcast. I tune into the Daily Show & Colbert when I think of them, but not regularly, and the one reality show I watch is The Hills on MTV.

Wow, I watch more TV than I thought. No new shows for me this season.

Re: Ugly Betty - I think full episodes will be available online at this season. So, if you don't mind watching TV on the internet, you might still be in control of your viewing schedule. I got hooked on Brothers & Sisters mid-season last year, and caught up on the first half of the season online.

TX Poppet said...

I flip the remote faster than a short order cook at the Biggest Loser House of Pancakes. Gave Grey's anatomy one season then lost interest. Ugly Betty got 4 episodes. Brothers & Sisters got two. House & Scrubs just irritate me. But! I lurve Patricia Arquette in Medium, and come running for Beauty and the Geek (ahhh, sweet TV soma...). This season I'm really looking forward to the new Kelsy Grammer show. I'm not a fan of his, but it just looks so darn good.

Suzanne said...

I am a longtime HBO girl and a recent Showtime convert. Most of my friends and family know not to call me on Sunday evenings, because I am watching HBO and won't answer. I am now hooked on Weeds and Californication on Showtime on Monday nights, as well.

What Not to Wear on TLC Friday nights is my favorite way to end the week, and I am SO looking forward to getting the DVR service on Saturday so I can program Take Home Chef, which used to be Fridays at 7:00 & 7:30pm but is now weekdays at 4:30pm.

I hardly watch any regular broadcast tv anymore, mostly because my schedule had been so sporadic.

I used to watch NBC's Thursday night lineup, but had too many rehearsals interfere. I just finished watching season 3 of The Office on DVD and hope to be able catch Season 4 and ER with the DVR.

I loved both Top Design and Shear Genius on Bravo, but have never really watched Top Chef.

I was into Celebrity Fit Club and Surreal World on WH1 a few years ago when Daniel Baldwin went on a drug binge and Christopher Knight was on Surreal Life. I also watched a lot of Season 2 of The Biggest Loser, but made a conscious effort to reduce the amount of tv I was watching.

I'll never give up my HBO, though. Even though it was the wrong move to cancel Deadwood in order to produce John From Cincinnati which was nearly universally reviled, I still think they're presenting the best television shows on today.

And now that I have Showtime, I'll probably start watching Dexter, too. And David Duchovny in Californication? What's not to love there? *sigh*

The DVR service will really help me watch what I want to watch when I am able to finally sit down and watch some tv. Can't wait!!

Lori Anderson Designs said...

House (because Hugh Laurie is HOT)

I did watch 24 but I don't think it's coming back?

I watch a lot of Forensic Files/Cold Case Files/American Justice on CourtTV, to satisfy my longing to be a forensic sort.

CSI and CSI Miami (ditto above)

Reno 911

The Office

But all this we watch via TIVO, I don't think we watch anything live!