Tuned Out

7 Jun

I am a lover of television. You will never hear me blithely say at a dinner party over a glass of white wine that “oh, I really don’t watch much television.”

We watch the hell out of television.

What we don’t watch anything of is cable.

A couple years ago, we talked about getting rid of cable as a cost cutting measure, and did we need it anyway? SPOILER ALERT: we didn’t cut it off then. HD is awesome! Football season is coming! Housewives! Adult Swim! DV-fuckin-R!

When we moved last summer, we just didn’t get it hooked up as a trial to see how we’d do. We were terrified. Could we live with rabbit ears and cheap-o DSL?

Well, turns out, yeah, we could. After about a week, cable wasn’t even missed. In such a large metro area, there are actually a wide variety of channels (including way more Spanish and Asian channels than I thought possible) and streaming Netflix through the xbox helped.

What I realized is that it’s just background noise. 95% of my tv watching was wedding shows, mediocre cooking shows, housewives, and movies I either owned or were available via instant stream. It was a matter of switching lame background noise. The other 5% were network shows, which are both free and in HD.

Without the DVR, shows we had only an obligatory relationship with fell off. It turns out that you don’t have to see EVERY SINGLE EPISODE to enjoy a series. If we missed and just had to watch, voila laptop! Football season was even fine.

Staying home as I was, I was entertained by seven hours of the Today show or various talk shows. At night, there are reruns of all the good sitcoms and even Family Guy and South Park. I can watch Joel Osteen try to compulsively blink the eyeballs out of his head almost on demand.

PBS comes in sporadically, so I can only let Petit Four watch a show by the conscious effort of many clicks and two remotes. Too much effort, and another feather on my parenting cap for my laziness. The iPod gets plugged in when I’m doing chores and we dance and sing.

Now when I visit a place where I get to watch cable, I find myself annoyed at what’s available. I have a physical reaction to cable news, and I don’t have the patience for reality dramas.

Most of all, it seems absurd that we were paying upwards of $150 a month for cable and Internet!

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