I get a lot of flak from friends, and occasionally relatives, for not devoting hours of my life to watching TV. Because I write and perform comedy, people seem to regard my not watching TV as if I were a runner who shoots herself in the foot. The prevailing opinion seems to be that, since I’m wildly out of the TV loop, how could I possibly create anything of value.
And worse than the people I love, are the desperate salespeople over at Time Warner Cable, who relentlessly try to sell me both a landline and cable, neither of which I need, having no phone affixed to my wall and no TV, except my computer. When I explain that I don’t have a TV, the voice on the other line seems to spin in place, like a robot with one very essential gear that has been removed and replaced with a slinky.
When I’m asked point-blank, “Why don’t you watch TV?”, I typically fail to give a proper answer because I don’t think anyone really cares to listen. However, with enough people asking, and a lot of really good TV on these days, I’ve now taken the time to think it out. Here is why I don’t watch TV… really… ever:
-Sitting still makes me sad
-The people on TV are too attractive and/or accomplished. It makes me feel inferior.
-The people on TV are too stupid and pathetic. It makes me feel superior and misunderstood.
-TV stimulates the part of my brain that makes me feel less alive.
-On TV, sometimes the writing is too good. It makes me feel talentless.
-On TV, sometimes the writing is too bad. It makes me feel the writer is talentless… ergo I’m a loser for watching.
-I get emotionally invested in every commercial.
-The news makes me cry or feel nothing, both BAD.
-Advertising reminds me that money is the reason people care about one another.
-I slide into darkness.
I also feel, and boy is this gonna sound self-important… that my most original thoughts come from NOT doing things other people are doing. I actually feel… this sounds terribly self-serious, but only because it is… I actually feel that it is somewhat DANGEROUS for EVERYBODY to be watching TV. Shouldn’t somebody be maintaining some sort of vigil? A vigil to my particular and unique inner thoughts that no one has yet successfully pinned down as a demographic? When I turn on the TV, I feel assailed by information. I feel overwhelmed and my personal voice gets squashed and replaced by one big voice that belongs to no real person except the lady trying to sell me detergent, whose values are a conglomerate of hundreds of polled individuals who all once had a divine self, but turned it to mush from watching TV.
Believe me, I’m reading this over and judging myself, too. What pretentious hogwash! And yet, I really feel this way and I really don’t watch TV… really… ever. …Sorry.