People Who Don’t Have TV’s
So I was at a christmas party a few weeks ago and I found myself talking to this fellow who was writing a book (something about the cold war – I dunno) and we got on to the subject of television. I was about to start my standard “The Wire is awesome ” speech when he said he didn’t have a TV.
He didn’t have a TV.
I understand why you might want to not watch much TV, most of it is god-awful (see the recent episodes of Heroes for proof of this), but to refuse to have one in the house?
If someone said that they didn’t have any books in the house you would naturally assume they were an idiot but, when someone says they don’t have a TV, we have a weird reaction where we assume they must be too smart. In my head I imagine them constantly reading, or going to the Opera, or having long discussions about politics but that really can’t be the reality. Can it?
If you don’t have a TV then you’re simply missing out on something that gives us a common pool of experience – you can talk to someone from any background about it. Television doesn’t have an in-built class structure (even if it’s just a perceived one) like going to the theatre or watching a ballet. It’s a great unifier, when I talk to my friends our conversations can range from ‘The Sopranos’ to ‘I’m a celebrity…’ to ‘Wallace and Gromit’ and I don’t believe theres any other art form that would allow that wide range of experience.
Also, I have learned more about the structure and pacing of a story watching ‘The Wire’ than I ever have in any class room I’ve been in. There are some shows (well most shows) that wash over you and you’re none the wiser at the end, but there are others that engage you and when you finish watching it, you really feel like you’ve learned something.
That’s just with drama, documentaries on television can introduce subjects in a very accessible and entertaining way. Some like ‘The World at War’ allow you to see interviews with people who have lived through world-shattering events and you can connect with the subject in a way you never could with words on a page.
Obviously, television should never replace any other art form but it shouldn’t be looked down upon as the idiot step-child.
Now I’ve got that off my chest, here’s 3 things that are awesome on tv right now:
The Shield, The IT crowd – Channel 4, Charlie Brooker’s Screen Burn – BBC 4
and 3 things that are terrible:
Jonathan Creek – BBC 1, Heroes – BBC 2, Survivors – BBC 2