TV is weird

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I was born in the mid-70s, so I've been through most innovations in television technology. I don't remember the wired remote control, but I remember being my parents' remote control. I didn't see MTV's first day on the air (I was living in a foreign country at the time), but I do remember when they played music. Cable TV was one of those little luxuries we allowed ourselves when I was growing up. (We usually had HBO as our sort of "bonus" channel.) And I was around when we went to flatscreens and digital network TV. So much for rabbit ears and aluminum foil.

When I was a kid it was either watch what everyone else was watching or go off to my room and read a book or draw or whatever, not counting a reprieve in my early teens when Dad was deployed and my stepmom worked nights and slept days and I got to pretty much see what I wanted, so I watched a lot of MTV. (See previous paragraph.) I was a pretty dedicated cable-watcher until my son came along. His dad got him hooked on TV when he was a year old, so it was mostly videos for the next couple of years. Then my life blew up, and what I watched after that depended greatly on my financial situation at the time. Poor and living alone (or with a distinterested roommate)? Nothing. Reading books. Roommate or boyfriend with more money? Available TV, but usually they called the shots on what was playing. My daughter came along in '04 and it was back to videos again because nobody got the hint the first time around. Then we discovered streaming TV sometime in 2010 or after.

Depending on when that was, videos and streaming became my primary non-internet, non-book source of entertainment for up to eleven years. That is a long time to be away from network TV, and a lot of changes can happen in that time.

And did. I'm staying with my dad now and he has satellite TV, and it just seems to me to be a colossal waste of money.

How much longer will insurance companies think they have to be silly like GEICO? Most of them aren't very good at it.

Why do TV channels play half a dozen episodes in a row of the same show? If I wanted the streaming experience, I'd go fucking stream something. Assuming, er, that we had any streaming subscriptions here in my dad's house, which we don't. Half a dozen episodes in a row that I can't even choose is more like the New Coke of streaming, though. That wasn't Coca-Cola, and this ain't streaming.

What's the point of 300 channels on satellite when they take basically the same 100 channels and repeat them twice? Seriously, scroll through the program guide. There are repeats. Different channels, exact same shit.

How are QVC and Home Shopping Network still a thing? I'd rather read Amazon reviews than watch that ridiculous sales pitch bullshit. Amazon reviews are often hilarious.

(My favorite bit is knowing that someone at Amazon has to read and approve all those reviews -- including the obvious jokes. Whoever it is, I wish they were moderating at Twitter and Facebook, because the admins of both sites need a sense of humor.)

Note to pharmaceutical companies: Generic American talking about "my moderate-to-severe hemorrhoids" sounds completely unnatural. Side-effects may include diarrhea, high blood sugar, increased risk of infections, and growing a penis on your forehead. Oh yeah, lemme go get summadat.

Why does the background music have to be so fucking LOUD?

I could be happier about how women are represented. There aren't nearly enough "butch" types, for example. (Rachel Maddow is a standout exception, and even she wears obvious makeup.) I'm tired of the Barbie aesthetic, even hinted at. The grown-ass women speaking in cute little squeaky dainty voices (or, Jesus sufferin' fuck, "vocal fry") get on my very last nerve. And for another instance, I'm happy to see women doing sports commentary now, but often you see them doing human-interest interviews with the players instead of reporting on actual gameplay. Yes, I know you all think women are supposed to be relational. And when you won't let us do anything else, it kind of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

There have been some really good changes too, though. Most noticeable to me is the greater diversity everywhere. That's a word that is overused, but there are times it's appropriate. I love that we can see people of color representing all sorts of personalities and life circumstances now. They are a lot less stereotyped than they were in the '80s and '90s, and there are far more of them.

But I fear American television has a long way to go yet. That, or British TV has really spoiled me. (Or should I say "spoilt"?) There's a bit more -- I dunno -- realism to it? I understand you don't need realism to tell a story. The problem is American TV uses almost none. Hollywood's nickname of "La-la Land" is well-earned. It's no wonder we have such unrealistic expectations of life. I'd rather see a show about a guy flying around the universe in a blue phone box who, when he visits Earth, lands in the projects where people have small apartments and messy bedrooms. Everyone knows there's no dude flying around the universe in a blue box, but when all we ever see people living in on TV are apartments that run for a cool million or more in New York City, we start thinking we're failing at life because we don't have those sorts of apartments too. Enforced inadequacy is not a good way to live.

...Actually, neither is watching a lot of TV, no matter what's on it.

Oh well.

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Last updated: 01 December 2021