The Terror of Television

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Last updated on February 6th, 2024 at 07:18 pm

I’m the last person you want in a conversation about television. The only times I tend to watch any TV is when I’m on vacation, or if someone’s lent me some seasons of a show since I feel obliged to have watched them before returning the DVDs.

And such was the case with Scrubs (despite it having come out in 2001.) My cousin (if it’s Sarah’s cousin’s fiancé, I can still call him cousin, right?) had lent it to me about a year ago, and I just never got around to watching it—until Sarah told me that we wanted to invite them over for dinner earlier this month.

Uh oh.

Friends, if you’re like me, you’re an “out of sight, out of mind” kind of person. I frequently forget lunch in the fridge, I’ll forget to do a chore until I pass by it on the way to bed and it’s staring me in the face—heck, when life’s distractions come out to play, it makes it very easy to put things away in a dark corner (both literally and figuratively speaking), leaving them forgotten for ages. So there I was with five seasons of Scrubs to watch within a couple of weeks. Not that I hadn’t done it before (see Oz, Las Vegas, EntourageThe Wire…), but did I want to?

It’s true that TV rots your mind. It infiltrates its way into your conversations, taking up the room that original thoughts may once have occupied.

Television — largely due to the fact that we still have an older generation that isn’t completely comfortable with computers—is the universal technological equalizer.

We know that we devote too much time to it. We know that programming like reality television and idiotic sitcoms that it’s doing nothing to feed our brains.

So why do we still give TV a place in our lives? Is it to fill some void that won’t be quashed in any other way?

It’s not uncommon knowledge that TV, for most of us, is largely an escape from real life. We get wrapped up in the lives of characters, we follow plotlines eager to find out what’ll happen next—depending on how good a show is, it’ll take over our lives, dictating our schedules as we work around them to accommodate for the time we need to spend in front of our glowing captors.

Not all TV is bad, of course—tonight I watched some educational television on TVO, including an episode of The Agenda, discussing the questionable state of today’s 20-somethings:

Thursday, July 21 2011 8:00 PM

Emma Donoghue: Touchy Subjects | What is it About 20-Somethings?

Despite the progress we’ve discussed in terms of identity and diversity this week, what are the “touchy subjects” that still make even the most progressive people uncomfortable? And, some are calling it a new developmental stage and others are calling it a generation gone wrong. Why 20-somethings are taking longer to grow up.

(This could warrant a blog post of its own.)

Or how about Meltdown on CBC, which much like the movie Inside Job looks to chronicle the global financial crisis and what we might need to expect next:

The meltdown’s devastation ripples around the world from California to Iceland and China. Facing economic ruin, desperate world leaders are at each other’s throats.

So TV’s not all bad. But more and more, we reward bad television by pandering to it. Looking at the most popular TV shows these days; while reality TV hasn’t taken over sitcoms (i.e. the majority of viewers still seem to want a story they can follow), it’s glaringly obvious that people want to see more individuals on their screens that they can relate to, if only since it makes it that much easier to superimpose themselves in the scenario on the screen, believing that with a little talent, a little effort and a little luck, they too can have their place in the spotlight.

Because, in the end, don’t we all want our 15 minutes of fame?

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad



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