Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out

When I was in Singapore, I didn't watch TV for the entire ten days. Not sure why, really, only that I had better things to do, I guess, things like eating at buffets. Do you know how many buffets I ate at while in Singapore? Hundreds! And they were all really fancy buffets too, the kind you want to go back to again and again and again.

Hang on, let me just count the actual number of buffets I ate at last week, including both lunch and dinner. Hmm, five. Alright, so not hundreds, but still, five buffets is kind of a lot of buffets for ten days, don't you think? In fact, you could say I'd been buffeted to death.

(When my parents were younger and in school together---did you know they were in school together? They met when they were thirteen!---a boy in their English class made a rather embarrassing mistake that has since lived on in infamy in my family. The English teacher was making everyone read aloud to the rest of the class, and when this poor boy got to the phrase "buffeted to death by the wind"---wherein "buffet" should be pronounced, obviously, with a hard "t," like, say, Jimmy Buffet---he wasn't quite sure what to do or how to say it and so, rather sweetly, he pronounced it as though you would a lunch buffet. This, of course, gave the impression that the character---"boofayed to death"---had met a tragic demise by going back to the platter of shrimp cocktail one too many times.)

Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh, television: the lack of watching it. That's kind of a new thing for me, see, because I'm absolutely unashamed to say that I like watching television. Nothing drives me crazier than a person who says loftily (and often with an arched eyebrow of disdain) "oh, I don't watch TV," because really? Really? You don't? Ever? I'm not saying we should all be devoted fans of American Idol (never seen it in my life, actually; I prefer my reality TV stars to be vapid and talentless), but come on: television can be fantastic! What about The Wire? Or The Office? Or Extras? Or Freaks and Geeks? Or My So-Called Life? Or Peep Show? Or Little Britain? Or Flight of the Conchords? Or Six Feet Under? Eh, non-television-watchers, I will never understand you. It's not all A Shot of Love With Tila Tequila, you know.

That's not to say, however, that I do not have my limits. I tried to catch up with all the Fake Tivo-ed shows on my Fake Tivo last night, top among them The Bachelorette, which I figured would be nice and fluffy and light and silly, and Internet, I don't know what has happened to me but I HAD TO TURN IT OFF. I only started with the premiere---which: really? two hours?---but I just found the whole thing so grotesque and ridiculous that I couldn't stand myself for watching it. Seriously, I started to hate myself! I actually found my self-esteem dipping! Does DeAnna Pappas, pretty girl though she may be, really think she's going to find a husband among 25 over-tanned, over-plucked, overconfident gameshow contestants, among them men who say things like "I'm a snuggler" and "she looked like the perfect wife for me"?

(Oh my god. Who says that? Do you know men who say that? In public arenas? Will you do me a favor and cut them out of your lives forever?)

I don't know, dude, I just think I've finally found my own personal bottom of the barrel. I can't explain it, but for some reason The Bachelor---although, yes, it's horrifically trite and twee---is fun in its triteness and tweeness. It's almost ironic. It's almost kitschy. You know there are going to be cat fights and bitch slaps and most dramatic rose ceremonies ever, and you know the happy couple is never going to last because the bachelor will eventually let fame go to his head and think that a wink from Hayden Panettiere at the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards actually meant something and end up leaving the girl he chose for a Hooters waitress, or, I don't know, have a brief fling with Marla Maples or something. The Bachelorette, on the other hand, just seems sad. There's something too clawing and desperate about it. I'm just not sure I'm going to last the season. 

Speaking of sad, and I swear, this is the last thing I'm going to say about television, because have you noticed how I CANNOT SHUT UP AT THE MOMENT, WHAT IS WITH THE POSTING? APPARENTLY MOTORMOUTH IS A SYMPTOM OF JETLAG TOO, did you happen to catch the season finale of ER......um, three weeks ago? (Sorry, just catching up on that too.) Now, I know we've talked before about how Sean and I feel like we might be the last two people on earth actually watching ER---because yes, eleven billion years later, it's still on!---but in the comments to that post, a surprising number of people came out of the woodwork and said that actually, they too watched ER, so I figure by this point there must be eight or nine of us at least.

And to those eight or nine, I say: Oh Em Gee. Seriously. Oh Em Gee! I was inconsolable at the end. I was weeping! I probably actually needed to go to the ER, just so they could use some sort of IV or something to stop the tears and the shaking and the wailing. Was it Pratt who died in a fiery ambulance explosion? Was it Sam? Was it Abby? I cannot stand to know.

And come to to think of it, perhaps those people who don't watch TV do have a point after all. Because, you know, between the shuddering revulsion and the minor hysterics, I do wonder if I should be having quite such a visceral reaction to watching the box on a Wednesday night.

1
Hevang
Jun 05, 2008

First: Oh god a chocolate buffet, two words that go perfectly together. Yummy.

B: Have you watched Burn notice on USA? Not a bad show at all. Also I could not live without The Office. How do you kill brain cells if you don't watch trashy t.v.?

Last: Did anyone else watch Trista and Ryan's wedding on VH1 last weekend? I had forgotten about the horror of the pink, everything was some lurid shade of pepto bismal.

2
Raven
Jun 05, 2008

I have never watched The Bachelor or The Bachelorette...until yesterday when I caught the marathon of the first season of The Bachelorette. I watched pretty much the WHOLE THING and felt bad for it.

I would much rather watch "Charm School: The Rock of Love Girls" with Sharon Osborne as the head mistress (and yes that is a real show coming this fall) than that stuff. I love the over the top trashy fakeness! I don't want any hint of someone trying to be REAL because then it just seems desperate and I am embarrassed for them and have to turn it off.

I haven't watched American Idol since the Kelly Clarkson season. One was enough for me. Oddly, I do continue to watch Top Chef and the Design Star shows.

3
andrea_jennine
Jun 05, 2008

"Buffeted [boofayed] to Death" would make an awesome title for a farcical mystery novel.

4
emily
Jun 05, 2008

If it's any consolation, I watch a lot of PBS, and I end up crying at the end of more shows than I care to admit. I will admit, though, that once it was because of "Antiques Roadshow," but I think there was more going on in my life that contributed to that crying jag.

5
sizzle
Jun 05, 2008

I love ER.

I want to know who died RIGHT NOW!

:)

6
ali
Jun 05, 2008

ER? really? i haven't been able to watch since Mark Green left.

7
Stacey
Jun 05, 2008

I will tell you this, don't even start watching One Tree Hill. I used to think, "Oh that show is for 14 year old high school girls." Well, now my mother & I have all four seasons on DVD. So many things happen in one episode! They are king of cliffhangers too. Actually, start watching it. It's amazing.

8
Audrey
Jun 05, 2008

My godmother once said, on the way to a Jimmy Buffet concert, "So, who's this guy we're going to see? Harry Smorgasbord?"

Also: I have a coworker who I swear waits in high anticipation for someone to ask her if she caught last night's episode of whatever just so she can haughtily say "We don't HAVE TV." Makes me want to punch her in the face every time.

9
Mrs. Who
Jun 05, 2008

I too, find those condescending, I am too-good-to-watch TV people a big pain in the ass. Sure, some TV blows, but some books blow too! You just have to sift it out and find the good stuff. Netflix has been our savior and allowed us to find GREAT shows like "Coupling" and "Planet Earth" and that combination right there shows you what truly versatile people my husband and I really are.

10
NothingButBonfires
Jun 05, 2008

Harry Smorgasbord! I just snorted AUDIBLY.

11
Elizabeth
Jun 05, 2008

Okay, so I don't have a TV. And sometimes I'm at a loss for what to say when someone asks me about a show, because I don't want to come off as a smug, superior, judgmental I-don't-HAVE-TV person. So usually I just say that I haven't seen a certain show when asked about it.

It's not that I think all TV is crap. It's just that I know that a lot of it is and that if I had a TV I would totally watch the crappy stuff ALL THE TIME. I have very little by way of self-control or will power and it's better not to have the temptation.

12
April
Jun 05, 2008

Men who say that in public arenas are usually stalkers....just ask Uma Thurman.

13
Abigail M Schilling
Jun 05, 2008

When I was a kid my family totally didn't have TV and I was totally fine with it. Of course, NOW, TV is definitely my favorite hobby. It makes my mom crazy. She is all, "where did I go wrong? WHERE?!" and I'm like, "lady, please, TV is awesome."

Also, I didn't watch American Idol til this season (which was weird because I watch every other show), but omigod, it was so fun. I mean... Ryan Seacrest. I seriously could watch him do his thing all day. And the whole sing-then-be-judged thing? I can play at home too! I heard myself making the most haughty remarks about contestants despite the fact that I have no musical training or ability. Awesome.

14
Monkey Girl
Jun 05, 2008

You can imagine all the good tv shows I missed when we lived in Singapore.

At least they had Survivor!!

15
Gretchen
Jun 05, 2008

Further to the "buffet" thing, my dad always pronounced hors d'oeuvres as "whores' Dovers". Although I'm pretty sure he knew better.

16
Jen
Jun 05, 2008

I still watch ER!!! I thought *I* was the only one left ;) I cannot wait to know who was in that ambulance!!

17
Meghan
Jun 05, 2008

I also get annoyed when people smugly talk about how they never watch television. But if that means that they've never seen an episode of "Six Feet Under" or "The Wire," then really, I just pity them.

The only season of The Bachelor I've ever watched was the one with Andrew Firestone, but I actually saw former Bachlorette Trista and her husband and baby at LAX this weekend. (I'm not sure why I recognized her, but she's actually quite pretty in person). This was right after I got off a flight on which Screech from Saved By The Bell was sitting two rows behind me. You have to love L.A.

18
Catharina
Jun 05, 2008

That reminds me of a guy I worked with (at a summer camp!), who ALWAYS seemed to wear preppy clothes, designer jeans, etc. (at a summer camp!!). Even to just hang out in the evenings, when I was basically running around in my pajamas. And I asked him, innocently: "Don't you ever wear comfy clothes, sweatpants, old t-shirts? Not even when you're hanging around at home on a Sunday, watching TV?" His answer? "I never watch TV, it's a waste of time." So, no comfy clothes and no TV and, essentially, no being lazy, just wasting time? Damn, that is not the life for me!

19
Keely
Jun 05, 2008

Oh wow I haven't heard someone mention Peep Show in aaaaaages!! I love that show!! Oh the awkwardness!

20
Erin
Jun 05, 2008

I went to high school with one of the batchelors...but I don't think I can handle watching the show either.

And also...I love tv too. Couch potatoes unite! It relaxes me and I get attached. I mean, who didn't feel a twinge in their gut when Jim didn't get to propose to Pam...or the very idea of Dwight naked! Blarg!

Last year was my last year of ER. Couldn't handle it anymore:(

21
Leah
Jun 05, 2008

My response to people who say they don't watch TV is usually along the lines of "then we can't be friends anymore."

Even worse is people who say they don't watch TV, thinking it doesn't count that they Netflix entire seasons of TV shows and watch them in one sitting. THAT SO COUNTS!

22
Nicole
Jun 05, 2008

I always watched the Bachelor off and on, never religiously or all that invested in who won. But man, this past week with the marathon on VH1? I can not turn in off. I'm addicted to all the crying and bitchiness and declarations of love after 2 dates.

But I defenitly agree that Bachelorette is more pathetic somehow. Maybe because all the guys seem like tools and fame whores and I can't imagine anyone living happily ever after with any of them.

23
NothingButBonfires
Jun 05, 2008

Oh Leah, it SO COUNTS! Totally agree. And even if they watch these Netflixed shows on their laptops, rather than an actual TV? STILL COUNTS.

24
Ryan
Jun 05, 2008

I don't watch ER anymore, but I totally love television. I have a fake tivo and it was supposed to make it easier for me to turn the television off, but now I'm all, "but something else is taping so I have to finish watching [my second tier choice show]." Even if that show is Ghost Whisperer, which I never watch but now I've seen three episodes, so I kind of know what's going on.

I just started the whole netfix tv shows thing (except I really have a blockbuster account) and I've seen the first season of the L-word and started Entourage* and now I want to watch the second season of Dexter since CBS showed the first during the writers strike. It's an addiction and I would do more other things if I didn't have a tv, but I LIKE tv.

* I just has to IMDB Mellisa Joan Hart to find the movie she was in with Adrian Grenier so I could spell Entourage - 'cause I couldn't spell Adrian Grenier either. French words - you can't guess how they're spelled using phonetics, ever.

25
Stephanie
Jun 05, 2008

I just got back from a three-week long road trip and COMPLETELY forgot about my ER season finale. I had watched Greys Anatomy and Lost and caught up on Top Chef within 24 hours of walking in the door, but somehow spaced on the ER. Then I logged in to read your post today and was all "WHAAATTT!?!?!?!? Ambulance?!?!?!?

As SOON as I got the baby down for the nap, I had the fake Tivo fired up so I too could be horrified at all the tragedy/drama. And of course, Neela and the blond surgeon doing the dirty, dirty.

And now we have to wait until September...the horrors.

26
Piglette
Jun 05, 2008

Oh, noooo! I never thought about it the way you guys are making it sound. So..uhm..*lowering voice* we don't have a TV. We moved around quite a bit, so the last time we changed countries, my parents bought a TV, but we never got around to taking it out of the box. 3 years later, and it's still there. We're all obsessed with our laptops though, so watching TV on top of that would basically eat away all our free time. It's a good balance, plus I watch everything I want online (Gossip Girl, then Gossip Girl, more Gossip Girl and Coupling (for the upmteenth time)).

A little added note, just to make myself feel better: it's got nothing to do with principles..more like..circumstance.

27
Alexandrialeigh
Jun 05, 2008

Wait! I am totally late to the party here (as usual), but are we now spelling out the pronunciation of the abbreviation of "oh my god"? Because really, that seems like a lot of work. On the other hand, I do try to keep up with the latest in word-fads, so I'm probably going to use it. I mean, let's be honest. What else am I missing out on, Holly?! I demand a vocab lesson. What other things are people saying/writing in San Francisco?

28
CharlieSue
Jun 05, 2008

I swear that I am forcing myself to watch The Bachelorette, FORCING myself to watch her blink, blink, blink at these shameful men and all their "in five years I want to have a baby with one on the way TOOOOOO!"

Good Lord, I think it's punishment. Or something. I can't stop.

29
Kate
Jun 06, 2008

Hi Holly,

I don't know when you'll be arriving in Berlin on Sunday or whether you'll be staying in the city centre. However, I just thought I'd point out that Euro 2008 (the European football championship) will start on Saturday and Sunday night is Germany's opening match against Poland. There will be plenty of football supporters about... So don't wonder at all the flag-waving and strange people dressed in black-red-gold.

30
Nothing But Bonfires
Jun 06, 2008

Ha! Thanks for the heads-up. I actually won't be arriving until Monday morning, so should miss that (sadly).

31
Catheroo
Jun 06, 2008

I too also watch ER still, but it is waiting on my TiVo for me now. I'm very behind.

Also, I hate people who do not have TVs. What do I talk to them about then? I once worked with a woman who said she and her family got rid of TV and they spent evenings reading the Bible aloud to one another. Which is fine, if you're into that, but you can also have a TV! Sheesh.

We have three TVs and each one has a TiVo or some sort of recording device on it. It's sick, isn't it? We're moving this weekend though, and there may be a day or two or eight where cable has not been set up yet. This is when the multiple DVRs will come in handy. They do work without cable, don't they? Please tell me they do!

32
Kristin
Jun 06, 2008

Your entry is perfectly timed, because I actually met Andy Baldwin yesterday in DC! I was working an American Cancer Society event downtown, where we were inviting passersby to sign the side of our Fight Back Express bus that is currently touring the country; typically people write a message about finding a cure, or in honor of someone who lost their battle. Andy - whom no one recognized - walked by and when one of the interns asked if he'd like to sign, he loudly responded "You want THE BACHELOR to sign your bus?" Naturally, word got out into the crowd and people started to recognize him and get excited about The Bachelor being there, which was clearly his intention. He took the proffered marker (I should have asked “Will you accept this Sharpie?”) and signed the bus with his name AND A HEART NEXT TO IT. So basically, he's as big a dbag as you'd expect him to be.

By the way, his imdb resume says he's 6 feet tall - not even close.

33
NothingButBonfires
Jun 06, 2008

Kristin, that just made my day. Or maybe my entire June.

34
Ryan
Jun 06, 2008

Wait! Reality tv "stars" get IMDB entries now too? You know you have to pay to have your photo/headshot added to your entry (unless maybe you're really super famous or dead(?)) - I just know he ponied up that money as soon as he got his listing.

35
Mandee
Jun 06, 2008

Had to pause in my reading to go watch the final two episodes of ER. I just can't give up on it. Especially now that we know next year will be the last.

Also, I've never been a big Bachelor fan, but I've loved reading your recaps. I may have to start watching the Bachelorette this season, though, since I shop at the same grocery store with her. I feel like I have a vested interest.

36
Emily Acton
Jun 07, 2008

Holly, I have to ask you (and the Internet I suppose) how to correctly pronounce the word 'buffet,' because I have now been thrown for a loop with your transliteration of it. Hailing from the dear old South (Alabama, to be exact), I have gone through my life pronounce this word as "buff-ay." Is "boo-fay" merely an English pronunciation?

37
Sheila
Jun 09, 2008

Oh No! I am one of the nine left who watch ER, albeit sporadically, which is why I have not seen the finale. There was a fiery crash? Someone may or may not have died? But I can only see two-minute recaps on the web! I have no TIVO thingy! Auuugggghhhh!

Also, why is fire spelled F-I-R-E, but the adjective spelled F-I-E-R-Y?

38
Daniela
Jun 10, 2008

We never watch TV when we go to Rio either. And we eat as if we may never see food again.