This is hard for me to admit to, being nearly TV free in the not too distant past, but we're still watching a lot of TV. I posted not too long ago that we'd been watching a lot, but that I felt our over watching days were drawing to an end. They didn't. TV still has it's grip on us.
Okay, let me rephrase. We don't watch any broadcast TV and we don't have cable. There are still a lot of ways to veg out in front of the tube, though, and we seem to be exploring many of those ways. DVDs from the library, DVDs from Netflix, streaming from Netflix (although we haven't actually done any streaming recently, we did seem to run out of things that were interesting to us there), watching TV shows online. Yup. We're doing lots of that.
Sadly, we don't even seem to be limiting it to our evening hours. Davan and I watched three episodes of Amazing Race yesterday and that was only because we'd caught up on this season of Survivor. (I must add in here that this isn't every single day - it was a particularly high viewing day.) These used to be must watch shows for us, but we'd let them go and didn't miss them too much...until we started watching again.
In the evenings, we're watching stuff together as a family. Wednesday nights are Glee nights. We're working on the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Last night, after Glee, of course, we watched The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. That got me thinking.
I'd been feeling like we'd been watching too much. We've all talked about it. Davan and I talked about it specifically yesterday afternoon. We'd felt that a lot of our previous interests were going by the wayside and that we needed to make room for them again by not watching so much TV. Davan actually asked a few weeks ago about having a TV free week. We didn't shoot her down - we all think we should be watching less - but it didn't happen, either.
Last night after watching the movie, I started feeling even more like we really need to free ourselves of this addiction. That is was it is - an addiction. I remember going through withdrawls for a long time when we gave up going to the movies when Davan was a baby. I know I'm now having a hard time even really thinking of other things to be doing and it's certainly not that I don't have other things to do. It may be partially bad luck or it may be that I'm getting used to the pace of TV again, but I'm having a hard time finding a good book at the moment.
So, okay, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold isn't about addition, though, so why did it make me think we need to get this whole boob-tub watching under control? It did remind me (I wasn't naive about advertising before) that every time we watch a show or most any movie, even if we are managing to stay away from commercials as such, we're being subjected to advertising.
The commercials that go along with Survivor are, for the most part, horribly annoying and repetitive. Davan has a particular loathing for the Jack in the Box commercial where Jack is talking to two really stupid people in a parking garage. I'm with her about it being annoying, but, you know what? I could kind of go for some fries.
I've gone from seeing a commercial about phones' Siri and saying, "Oh my god, now people are going to be really stupid," to, yesterday, after seeing a passing reference in a blog, looking it up and saying, "Hey, that looks like of cool." It took Anthony to remind me of my previous comment.
I don't actually think that TV watching is bad in and of itself. If you're watching together as a family and discussing what happens, it can be fun, interactive and help to create bonds. However, watching too much is, I think detrimental.
It's so much easier to watch TV than it is to read a book, go for a walk, play a game together - particularly when one is feeling stressed. It's sort of like a soothing drug. Davan and I have both felt a little (or maybe more than a little) stressed this week, thus our particularly intensive day of watching yesterday. (Although, again, I feel a need for a disclaimer here. Davan also worked on an art project - not in front of the TV, and did a two hour gymnastics class as well as an extra morning workout - which she says she will not do on the same day again, and read her book for a while. I went for a 5.5 mile run in the morning with Ranger and later took her for a walk, as well as going grocery shopping. We made dinner together.)
It's very conducive to eating, particularly snacking.
It gives you a false sense of community. We played Imagine If over the weekend, where you have to come up with 10 names of people you know, including the players to use as part of the game. We've always kind of struggled with people that all three of us know equally well - we know enough people, it's just that Davan knows her friends best and so on. Anthony doesn't feel he has a real good feel for her friend Emma's personality, for example, even though he's, of course, met her and even shared a few meals. Anyway, we filled out the board with our three names, my parents' names and Ranger and then hemmed and hawed. Then we had a stroke of genius. We cleared the board and filled them in with characters from Glee. It was fun, sure, but should we have a circle of real friends to draw from?
TV does introduce you to products that you wouldn't otherwise want or even think of. Really, without seeing it on TV, who'd go out searching for a certain brand of perfume or clothing or sunglasses? The statistic is that for every hour you spend watching TV, you'd spend $4 that you wouldn't otherwise spend. Sure, that's maybe not pocket breaking, but think of the three people in my family. If we all sit and watch a TV episode without the commercials and then an hour and 20 minute documentary, that's about two hours each of TV watching. That means a total of 6 hours for my household, or $24. Hmmm. Now we could have gone bowling. :)
TV lends itself to being sedentary. Now, in my family, we do combat that. Often, one or more of us is up, stretching, doing strength work or maybe riding the stationary bike. (In fact, I think that spending time on the internet is even more of a sedentary activity for me and has many of the same pitfalls as TV, but that's not my post for today.)
Also, what it comes down to for me, is that the more I watch, the more I seem to want to watch. And it's not how I want to spend my life. So, the question is, limit my time or cut it out all together for a while and then see where I am? I'm not sure yet, to tell the truth. And, besides, we've got Big Trouble in Little China to watch this evening.