We were talking about “Must See TV”the other day in our house.
Our house is atypical and typical at the same time. It’s a mother and father and three teenage daughters. Everybody has their own smart phone and there are multiple computers and tablets. We have a Netflix account for actual DVD’s and for streaming. The oldest teen (who now is away at college) also keeps a Hulu account. Everybody has a lot of work to do in the evenings, either from homework load or extracurriculars or actual work. That’s the typical part.
Here are some atypical parts:
- one TV
- no cable (and no, we are not Amish)
- the TV is rarely on, never during the day; occasionally on late on a school night, more likely on the weekends
And now, here are some outcomes:
- Nobody watches sports. (We didn’t grow up in Detroit if that makes this statement more palatable.)
- Exceptions to the no sports: certain college football games, maybe the World Series, the Super Bowl depending on who the halftime performer is, pieces of the Olympics and lately the 15 year old thinks Rory Mcilroy is “so hot”, so we’ve seen more PGA action than ever before.
- Nobody watches the news. We still get a weekly newspaper and the parents get online news. Truly, the kids might be getting their news from their friends. Another example of how we’ve failed them as parents.
- We are unaware of TV schedules for the most part. Because of Hulu and Netflix and other ways to find content, everybody in the family is divorced from any set tv schedules.
- We still binge watch and various members of the family “crowd around”the family computer. There will be times when I have seen a daughter watch dozens of episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress”. We all binge watched “Arrested Development”…and then we watched it all again. When Joan Rivers died, we found every performance we could find and the documentary “A Piece of Work”and watched that. One daughter is obsessed with Elizabethan history, so we watched all the seasons of “The Tudors”. “House”was a project during the summer, as has been “Bones”. The father watches comedian performances ad nauseum. The mother and oldest daughter are obsessed with”Orange is the New Black”, partly because the mother was a huge fan of “Weeds”, a show that she binge-watched, having never seen it on Showtime (back to that Amish thing).
- We still can’t wait for “Downton Abbey”. Perhaps because we have a historical fiction gene going in the family, and because it’s on PBS on Sundays, and it was so easy to get all of the earlier episodes, we do seem to know when it restarts every year and we rearrange our lives for that.
- We rarely see commercials and when we do, they really bug us.
- When we go on vacation, the kids attack the cable television like it’s Halloween candy.
The lessons from the above ruminations: We are still searching for content, and we continue to find things that amuse and entertain us; we are hard to reach for advertisers, but not impossible, we do spend money on getting content, although it may be “atypical”, and we do represent the “nichification”of the viewing marketplace, where we create no water cooler talk about shows.