Thursday, January 05, 2006

Miscellaneous: Sensory Deprivation, Day 2

How am I faring without TV? Just fine. Just fine. Justfine. Justine. Justine Bateman. She was in FAMILY TIES. Remember that? Man, that was a great show.

Yesterday was smooth sailing, largely because we spent the evening selecting the replacement set. It’s slated for delivery on Saturday, which is earlier than I expected. Customer service. It’s what makes America and its India-based call centers great. With any luck, I’ll be able to catch some of the NFL wild card games this weekend. Although frankly, I’m more of a highlight show fan. Had the TV been working, I would have spent part of last night watching HBO’s Inside The NFL. But it’s available on demand, so no problem.

On demand is one reason why losing the TV hasn’t been much of a sacrifice. The shows we never miss aren’t on now, and when they are we can schedule them at our convenience. The TV works for me, not t’other way around.

It wasn’t always thus. I used to have a line-up of shows for every night of the week. But I started to feel like I wasn’t getting enough work done, so I made a deal with myself. I’d give TV up for six months, just until I cleared some stuff off my desk. Then I could go back to my deadening, soul-sucking routine.

You can see where this is going.

Name any big show of the last 10 years – FRIENDS, ER, LOST – and the odds are I haven’t seen a minute of it. I don’t even have much interest in catching up with series on DVD. I’ve never understood the impulse; it’s like congratulating yourself on your dieting success by bingeing at an all-you-can restaurant.

I’m not immune to the siren song of television. The NBC version of THE OFFICE has won me over, and some weekends there’s nothing better than a LAW & ORDER marathon. But mostly, I have a long list of shows I would regularly watch if I regularly watched TV: HOUSE, MONK, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT.

So, you might well ask, what do you use the TV for? During the day, when I take a break from work, I’ll usually reach for the remote. This is what follows:

- Turn the TV on, which is always tuned to a cable news network. Watch it until I am completely disgusted.

- Thirty seconds later, flip to MTV Hits hoping to see a Shakira video. End up with a Mariah Carey video instead. Repeatedly say how much I don’t like her until it dawns on me that this may mean I secretly find her attractive. Quickly change the channel.

- Watch 20 minutes of a movie I have already seen.

In the evening, it’s Netflix DVDs, movies I’ve recorded off cable, and Comedy Central. Oh, and crap. Glorious, I-can’t-believe-they-aired-that crap. Like last night’s season premiere of Dancing With The Stars. George Hamilton? Jerry Rice? I’m bummed that I missed that. I genuinely am.