Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Sometimes I wonder if I watch too much television. What IS too much television? How many hours a week are considered okay? At my age, isn't that just a judgment call?

When I was a kid I remember there being strict regulation on the number of hours spent watching television. My sister and I had a set number of hours per week and we spent them like cash, watching parent-approved programming. Maybe that's why, now, my television is on every waking moment...because I am my own boss now, and those old school rules no longer apply. My time is my own and I can do what I want with it. I also buy a lot of sugary kids cereal because I can. Getting older has a lot of drawbacks - from bills to anxiety - one of its perks is that you can watch as much television as you want.

I must admit there are other, more productive things I could be doing with the idle hours I spend fusing with the cushions of my couch. I could be playing poker online, for example. Or annoying the neighbors by playing guitar. Or reading books - I hear reading is good for mental fitness. Or maybe I could be writing the book everyone says I need to write. No one has any idea what the book would be about, least of all me, but everyone agrees I need to write one. Every time I have an idea for a topic, the comment is the same: "Sounds good, I can't wait to read it." Yeah. And I can't wait to write it. On the commercial, of course.

I like television. Sweet, glorious television. When I come home from work I religiously do two things, in this order: Remove pants, turn on television. Most of the time there's not even anything worth watching - I just like the sound of stuff going on in the background. Makes me feel connected somehow. So I go about my chores or other business while listening to ESPN news, CNN, or that funky jazz music they're always jamming on the Weather Channel. Or Fox News Channel when I need a good laugh. Doesn't really matter - I just like the company...even when I'm in the company of others.

I personally don't think I watch too much television because I'm not really WATCHING it most of the time. It's just on. In terms of actual programming, there are really only a few shows I get excited about, and the total number of hours spent watching is roughly comparable to the number of hours I watched as a kid.

Here's my top 10:

1. Survivor - there's nothing like the real thing, baby. The Amazing Race is fun to catch every once in a while, but Survivor hooked me early on and I never gave it up. Gotta love people playing mind games in the tropics. Yeah, I'm a huge dork.

2. Lost - I was addicted to the DVD collection of season one, but missed the start of season two. So now I have to avoid it every week in order to preserve the integrity of the story. Hoping to catch it in reruns over the summer. Best drama by a mile.

3. The Office - I can actually sit through the same episode more than once. Back to back. The best comedy hands down.

4. The Sopranos - I'm thankful HBO gives us a number of chances to catch this bad boy over the course of the week, especially since it's on opposite Desperate Housewives.

5. Desperate Housewives - I admit it...I watch it, and I enjoy it. Not as much as last season, of course, but I still enjoy tuning in to find out what those zany ladies are going to do next.

6. Grey's Anatomy - Didn't really care for this one when it first came out, but the use of popular music as a story-telling device gave it a curious appeal. I must admit, I do enjoy this dramedy one as well.

7. Scrubs - Close second to the Office for best comedy on television. I don't laugh out loud often, but this show consistently makes me do it.

8. My Name is Earl - Love the concept here, and Randy is a riot. Interesting how my three favorite comedies are among the few on television that don't insult me with a laugh track. Don't tell me when I'm supposed to be laughing - if it's funny, I'll do it on my own. In fact, a fourth favorite comedy would have been Arrested Development, had the show made it.

9. The Apprentice - Big mistake moving it to Monday. I didn't even realize they'd started a new season until it was two weeks in. But Burnett knows how to put together compelling hour-long dramas, so it's always an hour well wasted.

10. The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson - That Scottish dude is fucking hilarious. Have you ever listened to his monologues? He just rambles on about nonsense for minutes on end - not unlike myself on these very pages, come to think of it. Good stuff.

I also watch a shitload of sports - but that doesn't really count because it's biologically unavoidable. Watching sports is hard-coded in my Y chromosome.

Oh - hey, gotta run. Commercial's over.


Jace said...

Very well observed and true. I too suffer from the watching-way-too-much-television syndrome. There has got to be a support group out there for freaks like us. But I at least have the excuse that I work in the TV biz... Your top 10 list was totally on track, but I've had to give up Desperate Housewives this year. LOST is still tops in my book, along with Earl and the Office (UK and US versions). But then again, I also love Veronica Mars and Amazing Race (and, okay, if I'm honest The Apprentice as well), which were missing from your list.

Great post though and refreshing to see that I'm not the only TV-obsessive out there.


Peter N said...

The Office's Jenna Fischer-----WOW!!

Donkey Hoatie said...


Yeah man, you and I agree on a bunch of shows. But I think that's just because we're conjoined twins who happened to occupy different wombs.

Here's my top 10

1. Survivor - Still the best, hands-down. I don't care how much of a dork it makes me for still liking it.
2. Lost - I didn't watch the first two episodes because I thought it looked a little cheesy. I heard people raving about it and tuned in. Haven't tuned out since. It's simply brilliant, but I'm going to be pissed if it's all just some government plot. Give me more unexplained shit, please.
3. The Office - Loved it since I saw the first episode.
4. Scrubs - Watched most of the first season, but once they started playing musical time slots with it, I only watched it sporadically. Got the first two seasons on DVD for Christmas and now I can't stop watching.
5. My Name is Earl - I want to like this show more. I really do. I think it could be outstanding, but there's just a little something missing from some of the episodes that I can't put my finger on. And no, it's not the laughtrack.
6. American Idol - This is my guilty pleasure. I don't know why I like it, I just do. I've never voted or done any online polls or anything. Still, there's something that keeps drawing me back season after season.
7. How I Met Your Mother - Probably the only comedy with a laughtrack that I like. Doogie absolutely steals the show. If you haven't checked it out, do so. I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it, but what else is there to do on Monday nights?
8. SportsCenter and its offshoots (NBA FastBreak, Baseball Tonight) - When the anchors aren't trying too hard, this show can be very compelling. Plus, I can just zone out and watch the same highlights over and over again.
9. Uh, this is about it. I used to watch CSI, but once it went up against Office and Earl, I ditched it. If there wasn't a conflict, I'd probably still be watching it.

All right, I'm outta here.