A Glass of Chianti

Saturday, June 04, 2005

One of my not-very-useful quirks

is that I remember a lot about TV I watched when I was a kid. This would seem like the thing that would make me entertaining at dinner parties (oh, would that I be invited!) but I had decidedly different viewing habits from my contemporaries. Leaving aside that I watched Firing Line religiously all the way through elementary school and high school, I also had a knack for watching the shows that nobody in my age group picked.

Jake and the Fatman?
Perfect Strangers? Check.
Burke's Law? Check.
Major Dad? Check again.
My family watched Mission: Impossible instead of the Cosby Show.

I add that last part in because, at least in our house, we did watch TV as a family when I was a kid. I got my first TV in high school. It was an old, portable blank-and-white TV with a (maybe) 4 inch screen*. I could put it on my bed and watch television while I was studying for AP history tests. I watched a lot of Picket Fences in high school on that TV because my parents thought the show was "too weird." It probably was. I still liked it.

When I talk to my students about their television habits (because it comes up invariably that someone will want to reschedule their lesson because it conflicts with one of their favorite shows**) I don't get the sense that they watch TV with their parents, or even siblings. It seems everyone has a TV in their own room and that they don't have the negotiation sessions that I used to have with my brother and sisters. We used to alternate between watching Lois & Clark and Murder, She Wrote on Sunday nights.

Frankly, the members of my family were never exceptionally close to each other. However, I do remember nights where we would all sit on the living room floor and watch a couple of hours of shows together. My siblings and I would all silently roll our eyes when my father started talking back to the television. We would never say we were annoyed, but we would try to get across that point as best as we could. It never worked. My dad and I (and later my brother, too) would laugh at political jokes that were inserted into even the most banal of shows. Everyone else would roll their eyes at that. We were an eye-rolling family. But those eye-rolls were filled with love.

I know that my leisure time is filled with computer stuff now. I hardly watch TV at all. There are, probably, three or four shows that I watch with any regularity and if I miss them, I don't really feel like it's a big deal. But, the time that I invest in reading my blogs and watching the new funny animated thing and reading news headlines is really solitary. I can't imagine people being crowded around the computer monitor sharing anything at the same time for more than a couple of minutes watching the latest Strongbad e-mail. I think my students are like that, too. They don't seem to watch as much TV as I did as a kid (even though they watch more than I do now) and so I wonder what kinds of sterotypical moments they will remember when they "grow up." I think I was on the tail end of the whole "family night TV" thing. Something has to have taken it's place for the younger set. Right?

All of this is because I wanted to avoid another John Larroquette reference. I don't want to be known as "the blog of the hot girl*** unhealthily obsessed with Night Court." I do a lot of embarrasing things; I don't need to add to them with that.

*Now, I don't want you to be misled. This technology was hopelessly outdated, even then. I'm not that old.****
**Why they don't just tape it is beyond me. Even if they don't have TiVO, they could arrange something.
***Let me indulge in some wishful thinking. It's my blog, you know.
****Hush, you. 25 isn't old. Really.