Too Much TV

I am just about fed up with television.

This article about how there is too much good TV resonated with me because it’s something I’ve been thinking about lately. These days I feel like I’m drowning in television. We bought an expander drive for our TiVo last fall; where previously our TiVo could hold 25 hours of TV, now it can hold something like 150 hours. We used to have make sure we watched stuff on the TiVo so we could make room for other things, but now we can just let stuff build up. This is good, but it’s also daunting to look at the TiVo screen and see how many shows are sitting on there, waiting to be watched.

And since there’s two of us at home, that means even more TV. Actually, I partially blame Matt for my viewing habits. (It’s OK; he already knows.) Back when I was single and lived alone, I didn’t watch much TV. There was time when I watched Buffy and Smallville; when I added on Angel, that felt like a lot. Matt was the one who introduced me to the TiVo; before I met him, I didn’t have a DVR.

I’m sure Matt would admit that he watches a lot more TV than I do. But Matt has also introduced me to shows over the years that I probably wouldn’t have sampled otherwise. Matt likes to check out new shows and see if they’re any good, so I do the same thing.  Back when I was not a big TV-watcher, I wouldn’t have done that.

Here are the shows I watch every week that I actually enjoy: How I Met Your Mother, The New Girl, The Mindy Project, The Middle, Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, Community, Parks & Recreation, The Office, Happy Endings, Once Upon a Time, Mad Men (which is my favorite show of the last few years), and Doctor Who.

I feel like I’m forgetting some. I actually thought I watched more one-hour shows. I guess there’s Smash, which I don’t really like; I only watch it because my theater friends watch it. I’ve completely given up on Glee, which Matt still watches but which I now find terrible and can’t stand anymore. I’ve watched the first two episodes of Bates Motel, which is intriguing so far, but I haven’t decided if I’m going to stick with it. There’s also The Americans, which I like but is starting to accumulate on the DVR, because there’s just not enough time.

That’s partly because in addition to all of the above (except for Bates Motel), Matt watches Elementary, Castle, Bones, The Vampire Diaries, Arrow, Being Human, The Following, and Warehouse 13 (which is summer only). Also Suits. And this Nickelodeon show called House of Anubis which is on like every single day.

And let’s not forget other stuff we watch: NBC Nightly News, The Daily Show, Rachel Maddow, and Saturday Night Live. And The Simpsons, Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, and American Dad. And Archer, which I only half pay attention to. And The Regular Show, which is only 10 minutes so that’s okay. Oh, and Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated, which is a kind of funny and tongue-in-cheek iteration of the Scooby-Doo gang. And also Being Human, U.K. version. (I like the British version but not the American one.)

Thank goodness I gave up on Days of our Lives a few months ago.

Matt sometimes accuses me of taking a moralizing tone about his TV watching. I guess I kind of do. It’s just that I start to feel disgusting when I sit on the couch for too long watching TV. And I also feel like it keeps me from being social — although to be honest, I might be confusing cause and effect; I think it’s really low self-esteem that keeps me from being more social.

But I mean, we don’t just watch TV. We go to the theater a lot. And yet theater, like TV, is a passive form of entertainment. You’re sitting and watching something instead of connecting with other people socially.

That said, there are several TV shows I’d check out if there were only time. Game of Thrones, The Good Wife… OK, I can’t think of any others right now. I thought there were more.

But I really feel this anxiety about wasting away my life in front of a TV set.

6 thoughts on “Too Much TV

  1. I was a big TV watcher as a kid but not not so much as an adult. Part of it is that I’ve worked at night a lot. And even though VCRs have been around for decades now, they were never as easy to program as a DVR. As a result, there are a lot of shows I’ve never seen, including some on your list.

    But for the past few years I’ve had a DVR. That has definitely made it easier for TV shows to pile up and to try new shows. I’ve also used Netflix and HBO GO to watch entire series – The Sopranos, Sex and the City and most recently, Big Love, which I thought was terrific.

    I’m also trying to get back into exercising and I’ve been streaming episodes of Frasier on my iPhone while I’m on the treadmill.

    I’m also a Mad Men fan – the 1960s have always been my favorite decade. I really like The Good Wife but I’m about six episodes behind on it now!

    I also think there’s a lot of good TV – and I’m not just talking about British imports like Downton Abbey and Sherlock. I like Nurse Jackie and Homeland, Parks and Recreation, Raising Hope, The Americans. TV and theatre just excite me more now than going to the movies.

  2. After reading your post I realized why I never seemed to have any free time. I went through the DVR schedule and deleted almost half the schedule.
    Between Netflix disc/streaming and premium cable, there are too many repeats of the same stuff. Thanks.

  3. Watch some of your shows at the gym and you at least get a bit of a cardio workout while sitting and pedaling on a bike, Two-fer.

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