During the summer months, I watch virtually no television programming. Other than a snippet of the morning News, I don’t feel the need to grab the clicker. It is warm outside, daylight until 9pm, and I have a lot of other things to do. Besides, no offense to the men in my household, but I can watch only so many repeat episodes of American Pickers, Pawn Stars and Storage Wars.
Then the Fall television line up begins to call to me, luring me in like an old friend eager to reconnect. Unfortunately, I missed the big kick-off event, the Emmy’s. What can I say, I was still in summer mode, and completely forgot the award show was on. By missing it, I feel like I’ve missed the ribbon cutting ceremony for Couch Potato Season. Luckily I’ve seen some of the highlights replayed on entertainment programs and online. I even caught some of Joan Rivers’ recap of the red carpet.
After that launch, we have jumped full steam ahead this week into the Screen Season. For the first couple of weeks, I will become a glutton for escapism as I tune in to watch new fare and returning shows, gleefully mapping out my viewing plan like a mad scientist doing equations on a chalkboard. “Let’s see, I want to catch that new show at 9:00 on CBS, which gives me time to switch over to NBC at 9:30 to watch that one, oh, and I have to remember to tune in the next night for….” And so it goes.
I do this planning because we are apparently one of the only American families without a DVR. Gone are the days of confusing multi-step programming of a VCR and then just hoping the system clicks on and tapes your show. Now there is equipment (not yet in our household) that with a few pushes of buttons will not only record, but track our favorite shows and get to know our preferences. In my family we routinely talk about getting one, but then decide against it because there are multiple ways to find shows missed – between re-airing episodes, On Demand options, network websites, and a variety of entertainment Apps, it is pretty easy to catch up. Of course, having an inventory of shows stored up is a double-edged sword; you have to find the time to watch what you didn’t have time to see in the first place. One of my girlfriends calls this DVR Anxiety.
The beginning of the Fall TV season is like secretly taking advantage of a guilty pleasure in the privacy of my own home. Rather than swimming through vats of ice cream, I’m diving into a giant sundae of distraction, and revel in the pleasure of enjoying this other world. I laugh and I cry and I get scared and I get fascinated – all over things outside of my own life.
Of course I realize my time could, and most likely should, be used in a more constructive manner, doing something for the good of my family or my community. But I can’t help myself — my Monday night was far better this week because I spent it with Adam, Blake, Christina and Cee Lo.
And as Real Women, how can we not feel a surge of excitement and anticipation over the return of Michael J. Fox; to find out if Beckett accepts Castle’s proposal or how Sheldon and Penny will respond to Leonard’s return; and to meet Crosby and Jasmine’s new baby?
The whole experience is enhanced by the post-episode dishing with friends and co-workers. Kind of like a less intellectual book club, we examine what we saw, how we felt and relive the highlights – the good, the bad and the ugly. Truly a fun pastime.
Eventually my TV splurging will subside a bit, and I will whittle down my viewing to the small handfuls of my own “must see” tv — and life will return to a normal routine. Yes, I admit, there will be one or two shows that I actually arrange my evening activities around so I can watch the majority of episodes. Luckily I’m good at multi-tasking so I can get other things done around the house while I watch. And, as is true every year, there will be some programs I enjoy that will only last a season or two before being taken off the air. Some of my favorites will go the way of Smash, Enlightened, Harry’s Law and Hung and I’ll go through a short period of mourning until something else entertaining comes along. Which of course leads me to believe that I’m not the average watcher. I think it has something to do with the fact that I’m not enthralled with forensics, vampires or the undead.
Ah, yes, Fall escapism in its purest form has arrived. And like a momma bear going through hibernation, I will emerge in a few weeks and re-focus on reality. In the meantime, please excuse me while I go bond with my pretend friends in a box.