A typical family dinner on a weeknight at my house: ‘Turn off the TV.” Silence. ‘I said turn off the TV, girls.” The characters on the show continue to talk while my sister, dad, and I exchange glances.
Then things really start to heat up. My mom continues her lecture on how we never listen to her and how dinner is a family time and how she wants to hear about our days and our lives, etc.
Finally my dad jumps in, ‘OK, turn off the TV.” Then one of us would turn it off. ‘Oh so you listen to him!” my mom says.
Then we hear the drama about how she feels like she gets no respect from us and we never listen to her even though she always does everything for us, etc.
After any lecture such as this one I remember always hearing about the idiot box. My mom would always tell us how grandma told her and her siblings to shut off the idiot box. Why are you watching the idiot box? The idiot box is a piece of junk. No idiot box during dinner. Sound familiar?
Well, now a full-fledged college student and living on my own, I have my very own idiot box. I even have an idiot box recorder. Good thing, too, because I think my brain would self-destruct without it. I’m what you could call a television addict. Yes, that’s right. I admit it. I’m addicted to the idiot box.
You could say that I somewhat live through the TV shows that I watch. I go to the same bar every Monday with the gang of ‘How I Met Your Mother.” In the same night I diagnose numerous patients with the renowned Dr. House.
On Wednesdays I head to the Midwest to sing along with McKinley High’s Glee club.
Thursdays, otherwise known as my own personal hell on earth, are when my very own time-turner, known as a DVR, comes in handy. I descend into the basement of Harvard University to learn about Fringe science. I attend Community College to learn about the fine art of getting by. I play pranks on Dwight with Jim and Pam. And I save lives with the doctors of Seattle-Grace Hospital. Don’t ask me how I have time to do anything else; I’m still trying to figure that out.
As you may or may not have noticed, I have decided to take my addiction and share it with the world, or at least with this campus. Television is one of the most influential mediums out there. Millions upon millions of people tune in each night to escape into lives that have been created for the small box in their living rooms.
While a movie keeps you interested for a couple of hours, it feels like a one night stand compared to the long relationships you form with the shows you can watch for years on end.
‘Smallville,” for example, may be just one of the worst scripted shows on television. Despite that, it still has a coveted spot on my DVR because why give up after eight years of loyalty?
People become passionate about the shows they love and livid about the shows they hate. We talk about the characters of shows as if we know them in our day-to-day lives. What’s not to love?
Each night, television provides the world with provocative questions about humanity. Whether it be political, ethical, or religious. Science fiction shows like ‘Battlestar Galactica” delve into the what-if questions of our world; what if the very technology we created turned against us? Dramas like ‘Mad Men” take advantage of society’s love of gossip and turn it into a well-written hour of character-driven story. Procedurals allow us to observe the lives of doctors and FBI agents and comedies make us laugh until there are tears in our eyes.
What I hope to accomplish with this column is to make you see television the way I do, if only for the time that you are reading what I have to say. And, if during the process, I convert you to an avid ‘Lost” or ‘Chuck” fan, so be it.
So sit back, relax, click on that idiot box and enjoy, because it’s an addiction that can’t be kicked.
Rosenberg is a member of
the class of 2012

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