Don’t Press Play

I asked my partner very politely to not put Breaking Bad on. I told him straight up that I wasn’t interested in beginning a whole new television series again. It’s tiring, you know? The addiction to whatever show you pick, the need to watch just one more episode, the staying up extra late to catch the last 40 minutes of whatever because God knows, it’s really important that you witness yet another cliffhanger.

It's like I'm one of the junkies addicted to the meth, but instead of meth it's television and instead of junkie I'm a loner loser with too much spare time. So, similar really.
It’s like I’m one of the junkies addicted to the meth, but instead of meth it’s television and instead of junkie I’m a loner loser with too much spare time. So, similar really.

I was told by many people that this show was awesome, spectacular, one of the best! But I resolutely resisted watching it and am currently regretting giving in. I couldn’t help it – Jesse is so lovable (in a strictly fictional way, I would not find a real life Jesse lovable) Walter is great to watch, and you find yourself rooting for them to succeed. Which is odd, when you think about it. You, the viewer, are hoping that Walter and Jesse succeed in 1. making drugs. 2. selling drugs. 3. killing their enemies. 4. disposing of said enemies bodies well. 5. and never getting caught.

Wait, what? Damn television! Sucking me in and confusing me like this! Oh, I love it, and fine, I’m hooked.

Before Breaking Bad, I was into The Vampire Diaries. I thought it might be one of those shows I shouldn’t tell anybody I liked, but I soon found myself recommending it to people. Even people who wouldn’t be interested in it at all, like, my boyfriend’s brother. Because nothing screams ‘bachelor’ like a show about a love triangle between a high school girl and two vampires. I stand by my enjoyment of this show. It’s not nearly as cheesy or Twilighty as it sounds, I promise. It’s filmed well, acted well and the characters have depth and story lines. There are also good sub stories with the supporting cast, which throws relief on the love stories.

Before TVD (look, I’m even abbreviating now) it was Game of Thrones, before that, the West Wing, before that the OC, and it goes on.

You're only pretty because you're magical! Yeah!
You’re only pretty because you’re magical! Yeah!

I should stop selling shows to you guys now, because they aren’t paying me to, and I’m sure you don’t want to hear about what you could easily watch. So let’s talk TV in general. I don’t watch a lot of it. I sat down the other morning to watch some children’s cartoons while I ate breakfast and was deeply saddened to find that they’ve changed Franklin to be that crappy animation that looks really cheap and computer generated. What ever happened to the beautiful drawings it resembled? Actually, I’m going to make a separate post on this deeply serious issue. Stay tuned for that (word play, whaddup)

I don’t watch much day time television, nor night time, nor morning time – make that especially not morning time. But I do get sucked in to good television series on DVD. No ad breaks, no waiting a whole week for the next episode and you can pause it. Proper TV makes me a little depressed, and always has. Something about the awful presenters, sad advertisements and huge ad breaks makes me bored out of my mind. Besides, the quality of series has gotten fantastic over the years.

I specifically hate that feeling you get after watching television. Dry mouth, bleary eyes, buzzing in your head. A feeling where you’re not quite sure what you’ve really been watching. It’s draining and horrible. I read recently that according to an American study, children should not even be exposed to television until they’re over 3, and especially not if they have a disability. Before that article, I watched a documentary that explored ‘stupidity’ and my first enlightenment to no television for children came from a man asking the question of why we subject children to television when it leaves us feeling so worn out and hollow, why we think it is okay to allow them to sit in a stupor and tune out to noise and colours. I had never really thought about it before, but it was then that I awoke to my own feelings when viewing TV.

Pretty much all the google image results from ‘kids watching television’ were just mindless looking zombie children gormlessly staring.

I thought back to when I was smaller and I remembered that time of day when it was twilight, the light was fading, dinner was cooking and a sullen feeling was over the whole house. Children’s shows were ending and the news programs were beginning and suddenly it was cold and dark and you were being made to eat dinner, then bathe, then bed… Dreadful time, and TV at the very center of it. It measured time in a way I hated, gave me an unshakable lethargy and so I don’t plan on subjecting my children to those same feelings.

Yet, I love me some great well-made BBC, HBO etc series. I see them as being different from regular television because they’re made with a higher standard, and your brain seems to stay focused and active when watching them – unlike that next episode of reality TV where you can’t seem to find the energy to change the channel. I don’t find this hypocritical either, for I’m not showing 4 year olds Game of Thrones, which would be messed up anyway… Don’t show that to your kids. I would allow my children to watch the Lion King on rainy afternoons but not 3 hours of commercial TV. Is this different? I think so. A movie, like a good series, engages you much more than regular viewing.

What do you think? Do you have favourite shows but can’t stand television? Do you think television can negatively impact young children (1-4)?

Related article: Kid’s TV Time Linked to School Woes, Bad Habits

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14 thoughts on “Don’t Press Play

  1. I find it hard to watch a lot of TV too, but I think it’s more when I’m watching it live and there are commercials and whatnot. I definitely have the capacity to get that addiction to shows that I stream and can watch straight through and from one episode to the next. Yikes!

    I watched the first couple seasons I think of Breaking Bad. I agree Jesse is very lovable (not in that way). I had this love-hate relationship with Walter — at times I was on his side and then at others I wanted to slap him lol.

    Funny, I was thinking recently how I wanted to pick up a new show that I could stream online, something that I’ve missed out on in past years. But I don’t want to get super addicted to it like you said!!!

  2. I remember, as a child, TV was for entertainment on days when it was too cold to be outside playing because of a blizzard. I don’t care much for it; although I accidentally bumbled upon Downton Abbey after missing the first two seasons and I am hooked.

    1. Same here! Though, there are photos of me outside in a beanie and mittens playing in frost. I loved being outside so much. It’s funny how we always contrast television to being outside but I liked to other indoor activities too, it just seems like most of the indoor activities today revolve around technology.
      Every one keeps telling me they’re hooked on Downtown Abbey! I’ll have to avoid it until after university haha.

  3. Nice post. I think young kids should be exposed to TV but supervised and not all day, and certainly not as a replacement for actual parenting.

    As for me, I can never go on watching TV for long periods of time. I just can’t stand it. I prefer to watch single episodes of series that I’ve downloaded or that I own on DVD or something and then move on. Although Friends does tend to suck me in for hours.

    1. Definitely not all day or as a replacement, I get it though, it’s so easy to put your kid in front of the telly when you need some quiet.
      I think there are some awesome shows / children’s movies they can watch, but definitely not all of them at once or mixed in with the crappy stuff.

      I get restless when I watch too long, but you’re totally right about Friends. I could watch that all day, and I have many a time haha

  4. My friend pulled me into watching Vampire Diaries and I’m seriously addicted to it now. I’ve been hesitant to jump into Downtown Abbey because it is an investment! I’m 2 episodes in still waffling about committing because I’m so far behind. The commitment! I don’t like having to focus on the TV so investing in too many shows bothers me.

  5. Our teenage boys – noticeably more grumpy, lethargic and unhappy after hours of tv watching. Older boy had zero self-awareness about this, but the 14 year old has started to notice and self-police. With good results. We only have one tv, too – none in bedrooms, as many families seem to these days.

    1. That’s good that he’s picked it up!
      I had a television in my room growing up, a really tiny one that when you played videos on the lounge room television they would….. play on the bedroom tv. Dun dun! But I didn’t use it much save for the occasional late night movie, but it’s best to do it how you do it I think. A television for every child seems excessive.

  6. Dexter is another one that has you hoping the serial killer gets away with it so he can keep killing.
    I don’t watch and TV shows on TV but I will watch them online. I can’t stand commercial breaks and if something profound happens I’m able to pause it to take it all in.
    If we have children’s TV on it’s on Cbeebies (childrens bbc) there are no commercials!

    1. I haven’t watched Dexter before but I better not start since uni begins again soon, that would end badly haha. I always watch things online too – so easy to do. I love pausing after something big happens! Have to take a minute to soak up the awesome. I’m a sucker.
      Aww that sounds cool! I wish we just had a BBC channel.

  7. Ah the jumping box. If you have one, pop a nice cloth over it and then place a fruit bowel with delicious ,seasonal, just right, fruit on top of it. Clean the house,read a book, make something,read,write or relax. Take the cloth off now and then and watch something of your own choice for entertainment or information. Decide what to watch, don’t let it decide for you.
    Avoid using it for “chewing gum for your mind” Thank God my son is too busy playing with his friends to notice it. Although it is obviously not very noticeable around here.

    1. We’re currently living with my parent because we’ll be taking over her house’s lease when she moves out, and I realised that after that happens we won’t have free-to-air television. We don’t have a set top box or a new tv. I also realised that I’m not even bothered by this! I’ll have to decorate mine like yours to give it some purpose.

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