Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Taking a bite out of TV

Some people abhor television. To them it is a brain-numbing device sent to destroy people's creativity.

I'm not one of those people.

Odds are you aren't either. Because – honestly – let's face it, most people love TV. In the United States, the average person watches 151 hours of television per month, according to the Neilson Group. That's three hours per day. Every day. For each and every American citizen.

Taking into account the people that don't watch any television, that means that some people have to watch 302 hours of TV per month to make that average work out. Six hours a day. Every day. Monday through Sunday. As though it were their job.

Now I'm not that much of a TV fanatic, but maybe you are. Maybe you live vicariously through the soap operas and sitcoms that get broadcast day in and day out. Maybe you can't get through a conversation without saying “Hey, did you see (fill in the blank) last night?”

I'm not here to judge. If that's how you roll, good for you. I'm just here to let you know that we might have something to talk about now. Because for nearly the last year, my answer was almost always, “No.”

I've been without my trusty TV for a while for a variety of reasons, none of which are pertinent to this column. I haven't seen local news. I missed every episode of the final season of Lost. American Idol escaped me. I've never seen Tosh.0. And I missed almost all of Shark Week.

Actually it was Shark Week that put me over the edge. I was planning on waiting until the start of the hockey season to subscribe to any sort of television service, but I couldn't take all the tweets and Facebook updates about Shark Week. I just couldn't stand not being in the loop. I felt like an outsider – the new kid in school who didn't get all the inside jokes.

So last week I caved about two months earlier than planned and got myself hooked up to the rest of the world. I reveled in the glory that is HD. And I sat gleefully on my couch watching as sharks ate things. And people. I watched some Saturday Night Live and some stupid show about the 10 dumbest partiers. I recorded some movies on my DVR. I even watched a sappy chick flick. Then I watched sharks eat things to cleanse my palate.

I've always been more of a computer guy than a TV guy. Usually I'd rather watch some stupid video on YouTube than sit in front of the television going through 227 channels trying to find something worth watching. And I'm sure I'll still spend more time in front of my netbook's 10-inch screen than my television's 37-inch screen. But now I have the option.

I doubt I'll watch my allotted three hours a day. Then again, I did just sit down and schedule four movies to record today. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, none of them featuring sharks eating people.

Too bad it's not Shark Month.