Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

Socialist Television

I love the advent of television on the internet.  Speaking as someone who definitely has scheduled an entire school curriculum around when television shows air, I love the newfound freedom that television on the internet (and TiVo) has afforded me.  I love the fact that while plugging away at filing what seems like sometimes endless amounts of paperwork, I can catch up on The Office or 30 Rock, on Gossip Girl or 90210.  I love that I can download Glee to my iPod for $1.99 and watch it on the bus on my way to work.  When I was in college, I would choose 8:00 AM section over 8:00 PM because the night time sections always interfered with my TV shows.  I would get calls from my roommates, panicked that they weren’t going to be home in time for Dawson’s Creek or Gilmore Girls, and requesting that a video tape (remember those?) be put in to record the show.

Ah, aren’t we glad those days are behind us?  Working until 11:00 PM?  No sweat, I’ll watch my TV tomorrow, or this weekend.  I’m hearing so much about Mad Men, but am now three seasons behind?  Whatevs, I’ll catch in on DVD.  But even with these great innovations, I find that there is something missing.

Last Wednesday I went over to my old roommates new house.  We had dinner, played a little Beatles Rock Band (which I love, even though I can’t stand the Beatles…please, do not email me about that assertion, I know what you all are thinking), and watched Glee.  Whether or not you like Glee (and I’m judging you if you don’t), whether or not this sounds like a great way to spend an evening, I realized what, exactly, was missing from my TV on the internet: the social aspect of watching television (I can hear my mother groaning right now).

What I really loved about the whole, scheduling my life around television, is that all my friends and roommates scheduled their lives around television as well.  I mean, sure it was a pain in the ass when you wanted to go out, or do something else, or if you got hung up at work or at school, but I don’t get the warm fuzzies I used to get when I’d walk into a house with three bright, shiny faces huddled in the living room waiting for the refrain of a really bad Paula Cole song.

At a time when good television is better than it’s ever been, I find it sad that the way I watch TV the most is huddled at my desk with a pair of headphones on, suppressing my chuckles, blinking back tears, and trying not to make any gasping noises when something particularly shocking happens.  And I’ll admit it freely, I miss watching TV with people.  I miss commenting on wardrobe: ‘what is that outfit?’ was a refrain often heard in my various apartments in college.  I miss sharing the joys, the pain, the laugter and the ridiculousness of some stupid television show that you just can’t get enough of with other people who can’t get enough of it.  For me, coming from a group of TV friends who are as passionate, if not moreso, than I, it is hard to quiet down and just watch.  It’s hard not to react, not to reach out to others.  Much like in life, Television begs human contact, some sort of consensus must be reached about character arcs and plotlines, about wardrobe and hair.  I mean, people used to knock on our dorm room door because we reacted so loudly they thought there was something wrong, people heard us yelling from down the street outside apartments and houses as we wondered why certain fictional characters were behaving as they were.  Now we’re relegated to text messaging or instant messaging one another: ‘I love chuck and blair,’ isn’t as satisfying as a face to face conversation about the merits of a relationship that is doomed not to work out.

I’m realizing as I write this, that I don’t just miss the missed opportunity for communication, and I will say that often television is a way to open up about crap that’s happened to you, even if it’s just putting your two cents in on a situation that you’ve experienced (can’t argue that one mom, how many discussions about drugs and sex did we have after an episode of 90210? A Lot!), but I miss the socialization.  I miss the fact that every Thursday for three years, my friends and I found a way to get together and watch The O.C.  That every Thursday in our house meant fish tacos and margaritas, or one of our pizza delivering friends would bring pizza and beer.  I miss that 20 minutes prior to a show when people just started arriving at our house, that the TV show was a way to keep up with friends, a way to continue the bond that may have been left in the library or at the roadside of endless reading.  I miss that many of my friendships now could use a little jump start from a weekly TV watching party.  Even if it’s just two or three people on a couch, the bondedness of experiencing a show together, laughing together, crying together, commentating together is going away.  And I miss it.

Peace, Love, and Social Networking,


September 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment