Tuesday, January 31, 2012

WTH is wrong with television these days?

In the last month for some strange reason, I've started watching television on a semi-regular basis, and I'm not really sure why. I've spent a good deal of my adult life shielding myself from the boob tube - what on earth would possess me to engage in TV on a regular basis (albeit semi) just now? I suspect it has something to do with my new-found love for "The Big Bang Theory," which has led to a crush on "How I Met Your Mother," which I'm afraid might eventually lead to a lustful fling with "Two Broke Girls" - and I'm not even a lesbian.

So, it's been a while since I watched TV semi-regularly. When my mom visits or I visit her, I do watch TV, but that's usually like for one week every few months or so. I have hardly ever watched TV at home by myself, and I only have broadband TV because my mother has to have her CNN, soaps, comedies and crime shows when she visits. The only time I'd watch TV on my own was to watch a movie on Pay-Per-View. But somewhere along the way while watching TV with my mom, I got exposed to The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother, and I just couldn't get them out of my head. (Two Broke Girls was a side benefit).

However, this post is not about why I've started watching TV again - that will have to be another post. There's something else about watching TV that's really bothering me, so right now I really want to ask the five of y'all reading this blog one thing: WHAT THE HELL has happened to television in the last 15-20 years? Back in the dark ages (when I originally watched TV semi-regularly), there were 3 main channels and premium cable was for the upper middle class and satellite was for the rich. Back then, when the fall came around, so did the new television season, which meant all new shows. Reruns didn't start until, like, the spring. Back in the day, they didn't announce a new season, show a couple of new shows and then show a couple of reruns, and then go back to some more new shows. And yes, you young whippersnappers, back then I walked in the snow to work. 20 miles. Both ways. Barefoot. AND I LIKED IT.


Nowadays it seems like the new television season just starts willy nilly, whenever it wants. For example, this month CBS announced "an all new season of The Big Bang Theory!" and "How I Met Your Mother!" What about the fall? Wasn't fall the new season? Aren't we supposed to be winding down towards reruns in April or May now? I'm totally confused. Then I'm watching Two Broke Girls Monday night, and I'm thinking, OK, I guess it's a new season, now, right? So, we should be getting new episodes of Two Broke Girls, right? No, they show an episode of Two Broke Girls that I saw LAST MONTH before Christmas. Twice. WTH?

This even seems to extend to syndicated programs now. I mean, I know these are reruns to begin with, but when I decide I want to watch 2 hours of the Big Bang Theory on TBS, they seem to show the same 2 hours over and over. Since I've missed most of all the seasons of The Big Bang Theory, and I've just decided in the last 3 months that I'm totally in love with this show, I want to see all the previous seasons so I have a little more context. And I'm dying to see when Leonard and Penny started dating the first time around. But no, all I ever see is how Leonard and Priya hooked up, 30 thousand times just in the last month. OK, gang, I really do  know now how Leonard and Priya hooked up and that Priya made Leonard kick Penny to the curb. Enough already! I can never seem to catch other episodes when I want to to have a Big Bang Binge - it's just Leonard and Priya, Leonard and Priya, with a few episodes from the first season thrown in occasionally. That's it.

And don't get me started with the commercials - when the hell did they start making the fucking commercial breaks FIVE MINUTES LONG???? I mean, just when I start to really get into the show, they suddenly cut to commercial and don't come back until I've almost completely forgotten the plotline. They really shouldn't do that to old people. Our memories are very fragile things.

Also, the commercials are FUCKING LOUD. Jebus Crisco, people - I may be old, but I'm not deaf - AT LEAST NOT YET. I'm so startled whenever the commercials come on that it takes me a moment to recover myself to hit the mute button on my remote control.

And then, some days, particularly on the weekend, when I'm sitting down to dinner and want to watch something on TV, THERE'S NOTHING ON. EVEN WITH 100 CHANNELS. What's up with that? I'm paying good money for this; you'd think they'd have some decent shows. Even the Pay-Per-View sucks.

I know that 99% of the rest of the world already knows these things. It's old hat to you guys. You already knew that the new TV season changes around, that reruns can spring up anytime, that commercials are long, loud and obnoxious and that you can have hundreds of channels and nothing's on. (And don't get me started about reality TV).  I'm not telling you anything new, I know. But I'm kinda new to this semi-regular television watching in the Modern Era, or the Post-Modern Era, or the Post-Post Modern Era. And I'm just appalled.

I may just start renting episodes of TBBT and HIMYM so I can see the episodes in consecutive order without commercials (I'll probably skip the Leonard and Priya episodes though). But I probably won't rent TBG when it comes out on DVD; renting three shows seems a bit excessive to me.

That might work out better for me. I've wasted way too much time watching shows on television that I've already seen. I could be putting that time to a much better use. Like going back to surfing the Internet for hours on end and tweeting. At least that way I'm using my reading, writing and social skills, right?

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