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

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7 Comments

  1. Gordon says:

    Re: Awesome TV list, you forgot ‘Ninja Warrior – Challenge’.

    It’s an amazing programme which shows humanity’s struggle of physical development versus the pressures of the modern world in the face of spreading ubiquitous technology, threatening our natural state of being.

    Plus it has hot Japanese chicks falling on their butt.

  2. Zukhramm says:

    Don’t know where you live but here in Sweden there’s a license you have to pay of you own a TV. And owning a TV and paying is not enough, you’re forced to own another piece of hardware to be able to use it at all. And if you want anything more than the standard three channels you need to pay some more.

    In short, it costs. And if you rarly use it, there’s no sense in paying.

  3. Hammerfaust says:

    True story mate:

    My girlfriend doesnt have a TV since about 4 years in her flat but when she is at my place she is watching everything what is on it…even casting shows and really poor, bad stuff.
    Her argument not having a TV is that if she would have one she would become stupid of watching every nonsense… I am believing her.
    But dont be afraid buddy: My girlfriend isnt a bookworm or strange in some way… she uses the internet a lot, loves to listen to the radio or does just nothing (alhtough she should study but well, thats an other story lol)

    Anyway I know your reaction when you are talking about a great TV show and the person you are talking to doesnt have a clue cause of the lack of a TV…it is indeed a strange feeling…

    Unfortunately on weekends I dont have TV as well and I really miss it. Strange feeling not to be entertained when ever I want… but after some weekends I got used to it (it wasnt easy although)

  4. Manga says:

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  5. Baktru says:

    The only reason I have a TV is for the XBox 360, really.

  6. adam says:

    The Pastor at our local Baptist church might wonder how I know as much about the bible as I do, NO TV! He should try it so we can be on the same level come bible-study on Sundays. P.S. I’m half his age and don’t get paid as a “Pastor” but even as I’m writing this I’m listening to Genesis 19 where an Angel of God is trying to get Lot and his wife and two daughters to leave Soddom before God destroys it with fire and brimstone.

  7. James Riske says:

    I haven’t had a tv for 20 years. I just stopped watching it and when I did turn it on to watch the news, I found that it was broken and I threw it away. Never replaced it. Growing up, I watched a lot of TV but in the 90’s, it started to get really bad and everything now is reality shows. Everyone tells me ‘Oh this show is different, you have to watch this..” and when I do, it’s boring, cliche garbage. I’m not above it or anything. I watch a lot of movies on my computer. And I watch a lot of live plays as I live in L.A. I’m just saying that broadcast and cable TV really sucks and I’m done with it.

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