I was a latchkey kid and spent a lot of my time in my childhood sitting on the floor in front of the television. I would watch truly terrible television and either not know the difference or not be particularly bothered by it. Growing up in Northwestern Pennsylvania didn’t provide us with a lot of sunshine to compete with the glowing tubes, but even when it was sunny, I often preferred to stay indoors. It was a habit. And I could hardly tear myself away.
Contrast that with my two years at graduate school when I didn’t own a television. The only tv I watched then was at my friend’s on the occasional Thursday for a small “E.R.” party. Yes, martinis were involved. Followed by a brisk Iowa walk back to my television-less house. I didn’t miss television then at all. I was content that I could spend my time focusing on earning my M.A. without the distraction that would possibly be too tempting for me. I took breaks with a very early version of the Internet (hello, Netscape), a subscription to Newsweek, and crosswords in the college daily paper.
Fast forward to now, and I have just recently purchased a (what seems to me) ginormous LCD television and enjoy it with a Blu-Ray player with wi-fi to watch Netflix and other media, and a cable subscription with DVR and a few premium channels. It is rare in my house that the television is off. Especially at night after the tot has gone to bed and I can at last watch shows not suitable for a 5 year old.
I know that I really struggle with whether or not to “catch up” on the shows on the DVR or enjoy something on Netflix Instant or something else entirely – or read a book that I have been meaning to read forever. The television normally wins. And I’m not terribly comfortable admitting that.
I love going to the public library. I make it a fun activity for my son and I. Our library allows you to check out books for 3 weeks and renew them up to 5 times (unless it is requested by another library member, at which time you can’t renew it at all). I’m sorry to say that most of the time, I end up renewing the books I check out. Sometimes the maximum 5 times. 15 weeks to finish a damned book? Huh? I know that something is wrong with my priorities when that happens. After all, I wouldn’t have checked it out if I didn’t want to read the damned thing.
As part of my plan to spend more of my time doing what matters to me, I have been trying to reduce the amount of time I watch television. As a result, I have had to make tough decisions about what shows I won’t watch anymore. Some of the shows I have decided to give up for good are shows that I stopped watching a while ago but still maybe followed from discussions with others. What follows is a list of shows I have abandoned over the last few years as I have trimmed shows to only those that I really really thought were worth missing out on reading.
- Desperate Housewives (After the second season, I started to wonder what I saw in it.)
- Grey’s Anatomy (Love the characters, but sometimes it’s like they want to jump the shark.)
- The Closer (It’s ending anyway.)
- Person of Interest (I really wanted to love this show. Sorry, Michael Emerson. I tried.)
- House (One of the tougher decisions.)
- Raising Hope (Actually pretty good, but didn’t make the cut.)
- Cougar Town (This took the place of New Adventures of Old Christine when network execs made the stupid decision not to renew it.)
- Happy Endings
- How I Met Your Mother
- The Mentalist
- Psych (Can’t resist putting those 2 next to each other.)
- Grimm (only watched 2 episodes)
That’s a lot of hours of my life I get to have back. But then there are the shows that are so hard to part with, and the new ones that seem to call to me. Some are on the verge like even some staples like The Office and 30 Rock and the new Once Upon a Time. A few I can’t abandon:
- Breaking Bad (The single best show that’s ever been on television ever. Did I mention it was the best?)
- Mad Men
- Walking Dead (AMC Trifecta)
- Downton Abbey
- Modern Family
- The Colbert Report
- It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Now, if only I could get just these shows – and available on the night they air – and not have to pay for cable! It would cut down on my bills and the restless searching for something to watch when I know I should be picking up that book instead.
What shows have you given up on? What can’t you stand to miss?