I noticed in the newspaper the other day that they still print a television guide. I was so surprised! I see no TV antennae's around anymore so I assumed, foolishly apparently, that everyone hereabouts at least, has cable TV. Every cable company that I am even remotely familiar with has their own TV guide channel. The things I learn.
I remember when nearly every family member spent a little time perusing the television guide whether it was the actual magazine (TV Guide) which, of course, my family was far too frugal to purchase, or reading the one that came daily in the newspaper (that would be my family). The question was always the same, "Is the show I want to watch on at the same time as the show someone else would prefer to watch?". Sometimes it was a knuckle biter. There was one TV in the house and we had to find a way to compromise. Sometimes that meant not seeing the show you were hoping to see. We learned to live with occasional disappointment. We were not scarred for life by this by the way.
It's not like we were a huge TV watching family, we weren't. And in fact, there were many times that days went by without the television being turned on at all. Of course that would mean that my mother's mother, who lived with us part of the year, wasn't there because she was very fond of her "stories". On weekday afternoons, she would perch herself on her favourite chair, mending or knitting in her hap, fingers flying furiously, while she watched her soap operas, muttering to herself the entire time ("That Erika is such a tramp!")
But we did enjoy some shows. The Ed Sullivan show was a staple in our house when I was very young as was The Wonderful World of Disney. If I recall correctly, both of them were on Sunday nights. Sometimes I liked them, sometimes not. And the thing was if any of us didn't want to watch the show, we didn't. There was always something else to do like read a book or play a game or practice piano.
Nana was a fan of The Lawrence Welk Show and lord help us, Hee Haw, and there was no way I was watching either of those. I would rather do homework frankly. But shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show and I Love Lucy and Bewitched, yeah, sometimes my sister and I would sit through those. But my favourites were the westerns I watched with my Dad, Bonanza and Rawhide, Yeehaw!~ And then there were the ones I wasn't supposed to watched but snuck down the hallway to sit behind my Dad's recline and peek between the chair and the wall to see. That would be science fiction shows like, The Twilight Zone. My mother was afraid it would give me nightmares. Never did. Not once.
But honestly, we really didn't watch a lot of television. There were so many other things to do when I was a kid at least. And being quiet and sitting still has never been something I do well and both of these qualities were required for television watching in our house. The parents were in charge of when the TV went on, when it went off, what channel played and at what volume. That's just how it was.
I think it was probably highschool before I really started having shows that I truly looked forward to and chose to watch on my own. Shows that my parents really didn't understand. They didn't stop me from watching, you understand, but they would just look mystified as to why I would want to watch it. Shows like, Laugh-in and The Monkees and The Marty Feldman Half a Comedy Hour. British humour was completely lost on them but they never told me I couldn't watch, bless their hearts. They would watch with me, Mother drifting in and out of the room, Dad watching over his book from his recliner, they would shake their heads and say, "Are you sure that's funny?" Meanwhile, I would be rolling on the floor with laughter. Their questions just made me laugh harder.
And then I went to college. For four years, I saw no television and you know what? I didn't miss it. Not at all. Maybe I was too busy to miss it. Between school and work and other work and studying and tutoring and socializing and running, who had the time for television? But shortly after I got out of school, I married and immediately produced three beautiful children. I still had no time for television unless you count Captain Kangaroo and Sesame Street.
It wasn't until the kids were older that I kind of rediscovered television and things had changed. VCR's allowed us to watch movies on our TV's! Wow! That's amazing! And the things they were now allowed to say and do on TV made my cheeks blush with embarrassment, at first. I was just not accustomed to it. Lucy and Desi slept in twin beds for heaven's sakes! So did Rob and Laura Petrie. And now I'm seeing Miami Vice and Hill Street Blues with sex and violence and dirty and grit. There was no dirt or grit on Bewitched. If there was, she would have twitched her pretty little nose and it would have disappeared.
I think I was a little shell shocked by how much TV had changed after all the time that I was away from it. Remember when I started out watching, TV was all live. Next to nothing was taped. There were very strict rules about what could and could not be said or done. There was a censor on site of every filming. The Smother's Brothers got kicked off TV for saying something that just a few seasons later was ho hum, no big deal. Suddenly everything was taped, the audience reaction was canned and it seemed that anyone could say or do anything at all. Things change. But I kind of didn't. There still wasn't much to keep my interest and most of the time, I read a book in stead. Oh there were a few shows, Fame comes to mind. I did love that show.
I think my interest in TV rekindled with the introduction of first, Quantum Leap and then The X-files. I had always been a huge science fiction fan. These were shows, custom designed for me! I watched every single episode of each show and it's rerun. When the first X-Files movie came out, I actually forked over the bucks to see it in the theatre. Shocking, I know. And I was so sad when each of these shows was over. Oh yes, I get it. It was time for the actors to move on to their next projects but, but, but, other than MASH reruns, what was I going to watch now?
Well now there are a zillion channels to chose from, most of which airs programming that I still don't care to see, but at least there are more options. And my favourite part. Nowadays it doesn't matter if I know when a show is or is not on, or whether it conflicts with something Tim would prefer to see because now we just record everything we like and watch it whenever we feel like it. And we can fast forward through the commercials, halleluiah! So I honestly don't know what day, what channel or what time any of the shows I like are on. I just needed to find it once, set it to record the entire series and at my leisure, watch what I want. It's awesome.
And then there are the specialty channels, HGTV almost always has something I will enjoy, any of the cooking/food channels are go-to's for me too. But the thing that is the most amusing to me is that in the middle of the night, when I can't sleep and I give up and wander out to the family room to watch TV, I tune in one of the oldie channels. I happen to know, for instance, that on the COZI channel, at 2:00am Quantum Leap reruns play. Funny, that's the only show that I know the time, and channel of these days.
And if there is nothing at all on that interests me, I still have no problem curling up with a good book instead.
What do you watch? What shows are your favourites? What shows do you remember from years ago? I love playing, Remember when with you guys.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.