I used to watch all kinds of TV. I remember watching TV in the days before remote controls and before the DVR! With a good antenna, you could get all three networks plus a couple of the UHF stations (PBS and the like). Then we got cable installed in our town and I was in TV heaven! The picture was clear and you had so many choices! I watched TV when I came home from school. I watched TV every Saturday morning until at least noon. There were shows you just didn’t want to miss, so you made damn sure you were home when that show was on! As I got older, I found some shows that have become my lifetime favorites. Shows like Monty Python’s Flying Circus, SCTV, and even the early years of Saturday Night Live were on late at night and were not to be missed! I would even splash water on my face to help me stay awake sometimes! I grew up with the wonders of TV.
When I could afford one, I bought a VHS recorder. With this, I learned the pleasures of skipping past commercials, but it was very frustrating! It was frustrating because I never knew which shows were on which tapes! I’d spend more time finding a show than I saved in skipping the commercials! Then, I got a second recorder and I invented the dual recording feature all those with DVRs have come to know and love. I would record on one machine and watch something I recorded on the other machine. I was a TV watching genius! Then, the VHS machine got hungry and started eating my tapes! That’s when I discovered TiVo.
What a wonderful invention TiVo was! I now had no trouble finding the shows I recorded because they kept a handy list for me! I could record a season pass and record every episode of every show I loved. I was in TV heaven! That was good until TiVo started to get personal. TiVo wanted to suggest other shows I might like based on shows I recorded. At one point, I wondered if TiVo thought I was gay! No, I do not want to watch Tom Cruise movies all the time! No TiVo! That’s a bad TiVo! Then TiVo started to warn me that if I didn’t watch my older shows it was going to erase them. So now I was forced to be a couch potato and watch a marathon of all the shows that were going to expire soon. TiVo was hungry and needed more shows! It was a blessing and a curse but I got to watch a lot of TV.
Then, along came the HD DVR from the cable company. At first, it had as much space as TiVo. Now, I have a machine that has enough space to record full seasons of every show I like and keep it there until I want to watch them. I thought the space was almost limitless, but I have it filled up at 80% of capacity. I scroll to the bottom of the list to see the oldest shows I’ve recorded and I think I should probably watch that show. But last night’s new shows look so enticing! So I watch those instead while my older shows sit neglected. Thank god DVR doesn’t suggest shows because I record Glee, Smash, American Idol, and Once Upon a Time. If DVR suggested shows, I’m sure I’d be forced to watch Dancing with The Stars! After a while, if I haven’t watched a series I’ve recorded, I just end up deleting it and canceling the series. I’m like a one man Nielsen Machine!
These days, I have too many distractions to watch TV. Now, I have the internet calling my name! Facebook needs me! Words with Nerds needs me! There are too many funny sites to explore! There is so much news to read! I now watch TV with a laptop literally on my lap sometimes! I see an actor and I can’t remember what other show they were on so I go to IMDB.com and look it up! I need to know something and I can’t remember so I Google it. I used to watch TV to relax and now I make it an immersive experience. Except now, I find myself not even turning on the TV for hours. The internet has sucked me in so deeply it won’t let go! There are even times I’ll sit on the couch and read! And my TV sits there like a spurned girlfriend waiting for me to notice her again. “Remember me? We used to be best friends! Now I feel like you don’t even notice me. I used to be fat and heavy but now I’m sleek and thin but you don’t care! You don’t love me! You never loved me!” I feel guilty. I feel like I’m cheating on TV with the internet.
TVs problem is that it’s too needy. “You don’t like what I have to offer? How about this show, or this one, or how about I add 100 channels of everything you can ever want to watch? Will that bring you back?” You’re just trying too hard, TV. It’s not you, it’s me. I’ve changed and I need to move on. But don’t worry, I’ll still look at you and remember the good old days. I will always love you. Just make sure you don’t record Desperate Housewives just because I recorded House. Thank you, TV. I ❤ you!