I just finished writing and submitting my Ph. D. dissertation, so my needs for watching “quality” shows on TV has diminished significantly. Instead, I increasingly watch TV to turn off my brain, rather than to seek out provocative or stimulating programming.
A couple of months ago, we cancelled our fancy and expensive Direct TV cable package and save well over a hundred bucks a month. Now we use a combination of on-air HD antenna (for the 4 major networks and live programming) as well as Apple TV – where we now stream and purchase most of our shows via netflix, hulu and itunes. All of this offers tons of options, and for the most part, we don’t feel like we’re missing too much.
While on the one hand, this puts us in better command of what we can watch, sometimes it makes it more difficult to settle on a particular show, especially as we are no longer tied to a programming schedule, and rarely engage in “appointment viewing.”
For me, this also means that the chances of me finding something stupid to watch is less of a passive than an active choice, which is how my wife found me watching “Extreme Couponing” via netflix the other day. I can no longer really argue that I’m watching something that ‘just happened to be on’ (which happened to my wife, who “accidentally” watched Splash on ABC the other day).
For the most part, the show is fairly harmless, although I do occasionally wonder about some of the eating habits of these families as they amass their stockpiles of vitamin water, pasta, and frozen foods (or in the case of Broderick, the “Coupon Kid”, why he needs a stockpile of feminine products at all).
So, not only is the show ridiculously fascinating, but also, it provides the perfect opportunity to literally shut off your brain and simply watch an event (the big haul) as it occurs.
Which brings me to my main point and question. Surely I can’t be the only person who watches something terrible – otherwise TV would not exist. My question to you, dear reader, is whether you actively seek out terrible shows to watch, what you get out of them, and what they are.
(This might also go a long way to explaining why I’m watching the show to my wife, so your help is appreciated!)