I had this half written as I was adding up the hours of tv I watch a week (5-6?) and feeling kind of icky about it. I wanted to make a list of what I watch to help myself see where maybe I could cut back. But now I’m considering this a response to Zoë Stagg’s call for recommendations.
I grew up in a tv house. My mom loved her soaps. I loved Saved by the Bell in the afternoons. We generally watched tv while we ate dinner. I have a hard time turning it off if it’s on.
Which is why about six years ago I dumped my television, to kick the habit. Literally, I put it in the dumpster. (Which, in retrospect, I regret. But I was 22 and I didn’t know about electronics recycling.) I had a gym membership to a fancy Y with tvs on every cardio machine. If I really wanted to watch something, I could watch it on the treadmill.
I also had a blockbuster online membership, so I watched some shows via DVD in the mail, and I owned Felicity on DVD. I think abc started putting some shows online around 2007? I remember streaming Desperate Housewives on my laptop while I blow dried my hair.
And then I was introduced to the world of file sharing. And then hulu came along.
So now, although I don’t own a television set, I may as well since I own a computer. And even have an older iMac downstairs set up in front of a couch that is pretty much only for tv watching.
I’m nearly back where I started. And I don’t love it. But I’m not sure which of my shows, which of my stories, I can stop following.
Can’t miss, and they’re really good:
Grey’s Anatomy – Makes me cry every episode. I started this on my own on a long weekend by myself when Chris was out of town, and then re-watched the first few seasons when he started it. Then I started on season one again a while back. Love. Probably has the most fleshed our characters of any show I can think of.
Modern Family – Makes me crack up every episode. Discovered last October after an open bar library fundraiser. Chris and I spent the entire next day in the dark, eating junk food, drinking gatorade, and falling in love with this show. I think we plowed though a good 14 episodes of the first season that day.
How I Met Your Mother – Hilarious, and reminds me of living in San Diego. What I love abut this show are the running jokes, the ridiculous continuity. Something from season two can easily pop up as a gag in season five.
Don’t want to miss, but they’re embarrassing. Usually watch in the tub or on the treadmill:
The Bachelor – I’m fascinated by the editing and trying to tell what’s real and what’s editorial story telling. I don’t ever trust a close up facial expression happened in sequence, or that a voiceover is uncut.
Gossip Girl – When it’s good, it’s really good, and when it’s bad, you can still watch for the wardrobe (headbands!) alone.
Glee – I get why people don’t like it but I love it. It has hit and miss epsiodes, but when it’s really on, it cracks me up, and the soundtrack has gotten me though many workouts.
On in the summer only, so I don’t feel so bad:
Royal Pains – Cute and silly. Love seeing what Divya’s wearing and shows about savants are always fun.
Drop Dead Diva – Silly and cute. Like Royal Pains, there’s something fun about a main character who always saves the day in the end. It’s the kind of show that makes being a lawyer look about 1,000 times more fun than it probably is. Like Ally McBeal, except the main character is on the opposite end of the body type spectrum and less sappy sad parts.
Parenthood – Hi, Lauren Graham. Hi, awesome ensemble cast. Hi, layered scenes with lots of people talking dialogue. Hi, adorable kiddo with Aspergers.
30 Rock – Normally saved for when I have nothing else to watch, it makes me giggle. Tiny Fey is adorkable and scenes with Tracy Morgan are infinitely quotable.
Parks & Rec – I really like it when I’m watching it, but if I miss it I don’t, ah, miss it.
Weeds – Season one was awesome, fun satire of the suburbs, but each seasons since I’ve liked a little less.
Not on anymore, but worth hunkering down with the boxed set from time to time:
The West Wing – Most amazing television show ever. Aaron Sorkin, you can do no wrong. (From the same canon: Sports Night and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.)
Scrubs – So funny. Again with running jokes. Fast timing, extended day dream sequences, and the minor characters make it (Janitor and Ted). Plus Sarah Chalke. Love her.
Pushing Daisies – Beautifully shot, clever stories, and Kristin Chenoweth. Plus I’ve noticed I really really like shows with narrators (Grey’s, Gossip Girl, Arr Dev, Scrubs, Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives, How I Met Your Mother…)
Arrested Development – I’ve had many fun debates about who the best character on this show is. There are too many to ever choose.
Felicity – I still have a crush on Scott Foley (and am thrilled he’s on Grey’s Anatomy now) and every time I wonder if Felicity will still be as good and gut wrenching to me as when I watched it in high school, I watch it again and it totally is.