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Zer Netmouse
March 17th, 2014
11:38 am

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On not having a TV

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From:cos
Date:March 18th, 2014 01:11 am (UTC)

No TV at home

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I had a weird trajectory with TV.

Growing up, at first we had Israeli TV, 1 channel with programming only at certain times of the week. Black and white. I remember hearing they had color TV in the US when we were planning to move here, and I totally didn't get it. I know because I had a dream about color TV, and it was like black & white TV except that the image in the screen was colored in a variety of colors in various areas of the screen, in a way that had no relationship whatsoever to the image. We had to feed colors into the TV by putting blocks of different colored legos on the back of it :) Anyway, we watched cartoons when they were on (Saturday morning, I think) and that was about it for kids' programming. Maybe we were also able to pick up Lebanese & Syrian TV; I know that was possible from Haifa when I visited as a teenager, but I don't remember if it was possible when I lived there as a child. In any case, I know we saw some cartoons in English, and whether their subtitles were Hebrew or Arabic didn't matter because I was too young to read. Another thing we knew about moving to the US was that we'd learn "the language of the cartoons". We also always watched the political ads together as a family - in Israel, there was a block of time set aside regularly during election season a few times a week (or every day?) and each party got a share of that time proportional to their share of the vote in the last election, for free. It was like a daily drama, followed by the entire country. Everyone watched it.

Age almost-7, we got to the US, and from then on we had a TV in the living room until college, with very little restriction. I'm sure our TV time was occasionally banned if we'd failed to finish homework or did something bad, but in general we could watch what we wanted. Maybe my parents set the tone by watching some things together. I remember PBS shows as being most of my favorites. We had Sesame Street heavily encouraged to us at first as a way of learning English, but I continued watching PBS kids' programming like Electric Company and 3-2-1 Contact eagerly into high school, IIRC. (Well, Electric Company stopped running before I got to high school). Also adult nonfiction programming, especially Nature, Nova, Wild World of Animals, etc. & some British comedies, or at least Yes, Minister, which remains my favorite TV comedy series.

Our TV watching was probably less than average for American kids, but still substantial. We watched TV more days than not.

Then I got hit by a car in the middle of junior year of high school, and spent 5 weeks in the hospital, followed by 3 months immobile at home. Especially during my time in the hospital, even reading books was too much strain. There was nothing to do besides eating or sleeping or watching TV. If I was awake, I was watching TV. I got into all the shows and knew the schedules of all the stations by heart. When I came home I got into some soap operas my mother watched. I started getting a tutor from school a couple of times a week, and homework, but I was still watching TV 12+ hours a day.

When I first started being able to go to school on crutches, I stayed in the TV habit for a while, but when I stopped, it was like something snapped. I'd had too much. Soon I almost couldn't stand TV anymore. It was like listening to only Top 40 pop for years and suddenly being exposed to a wider range of music. TV just seemed like a narrow little thing. More than that, it was probably mentally linked to that part of my life when I was hurt and immobile.

When I went to college my dad gave me a small TV that I set up in my dorm, to my roommate's delight. I only used it to watch the news when something big was happening.

I carried that TV around with me to several apartments in a row after college, but after a few moves I stopped setting it up. The last apartment in which I set it up, my housemate Lauren used to watch the Simpsons and Futurama and King of the Hill, which I joked were all The Simpsons. Regular Simpsons, Robot Simpsons, Redneck Simpsons. Several months after she moved out I wanted to watch something and realized the TV was unplugged, and remembered unplugging it during her move-out - which means it had been unplugged for months and I didn't even notice.
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From:netmouse
Date:March 18th, 2014 01:26 pm (UTC)

Re: No TV at home

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Interesting!

Wild World of Animals... That was such a good show.

Now all the fave shows of my youth are coming back -- The Muppets (we have two seasons on DVD; Rosie watched them when she was 2), M.A.S.H. . The A Team. MacGyver.

We have a copy of Cosmos. Wonder when we should break that out for Rosie.
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