and have a coupla brews



As part of an ongoing conversation (and personal research), I’ve got a fairly easy question for you lot today: when you distill it to its basic elements, why do you watch television? What basic quality does it fulfill?

No worries if your answers are short, un-profound, or based on any emotions you’re not proud of. But your answers will go towards a larger theory I’m working on…

0 thoughts on “and have a coupla brews

  1. CM

    These days because it fills time and provides some background entertainment. Tuesday night, I was filing my baby boy’s nails after he went to sleep, and having the Kardashian wedding show on made it a little more interesting. I probably wouldn’t have watched that if I had something better to do, but it was entertaining while I was stuck in the living room.
    My answer would have been much different when I was a kid and looked forward to my favorite shows all day (Greatest American Hero, A-Team, General Hospital during the Luke & Laura years)…I could give you the primetime lineup for all 3 networks for each night if you wanted, when I was 12.
    If there was still a show on that I loved, I’d make it more of a priority, but I’m busy these days so it’d have to be really good in order to get me to sit down at a particular time each week. I do love Unsolved Mysteries and it’s on every night now, so I’m happy about that. My hubby and I also watch the stupid housewives shows sometimes.
    I guess the short answer is that I watch for entertainment. It’s not a priority these days, though. If the Sopranos and Sex and the City were still on, I’d probably make time to watch them.

  2. Bozoette Mary

    Entertainment (Always Sunny, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, Top Gear UK, So You Think You Can Dance), Education (any Ken Burns series). Edutainment (Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs), Horrified Fascination (Toddlers and Tiaras, Say Yes to the Dress), Sport Fandom (hockey – especially Capitals, football – especially Redskins).

  3. wottop

    Mostly to stop thinking. I don’t have to figure out anything, it just tells me. I watch the full range of stuff from Big Brother to Science Channel. It lets my mind take a little vacation.
    Except for Carolina basketball, then I have to be on top of my game so that I can help the boys win. Its clearly up to me.

  4. another sue

    Like wottop, I use it to shut my brain off. My brain frequently loops, feeding and refeeding itself on most depressing/distressing topics. I find that the mindlessness of television helps shut that down for awhile. That being said, I am generally reading a book while I “watch”.

  5. killian

    There are certain TV characters/people that I just LOVE, and it comforts me and gives me great pleasure to watch these folks in action: Michael, Fiona, Sam and Jesse from Burn Notice; Mary and Marshall from In Plain Sight; used to feel that way about a few of the Gray’s Anatomy people, too. And Nate Berkus. Basically, smart, beautiful, flawed and fearless people forging their own tribes. I aspire to be like them. I don’t watch much else.

  6. Scott

    1. Cultural touch point with fellow Americans. Point of commonality that does not engender the kind of vitriol that politics does.
    2. Entertainment.
    3. In some cases, witnessing the craft. Sometimes acting, sometimes story-telling, sometimes production or directing.
    4. Boredom – though I am finding that I turn off the television at night when there is no longer anything I enjoy watching.
    5. Living with a serial story – Doctor Who for example. There is a joy in embracing the continuation and evolution of characters, if done well. If done poorly (tends to happen in middle seasons of otherwise great shows – ER, West Wing, Lost) then I stop watching all together.

  7. chm

    Sports. And Louie. Even though I realize we’re living in a tv golden age, I’m just not that into it anymore. And not for some principled reason–I let my kids watch a fair amount. I think it may have something to do with valuing quiet time more now that my life is so noisy.

  8. tregen

    I really try not to….. no new news there…. but when I do it is to try to have a laugh and take my mind off of cases at work so I can sleep without thinking about other people’s problems.

  9. caroline

    I’m a TV junkie. I didn’t read all the comments because there are so many and my attention span is too short, probably from all the TV. Some shows I watch for the ongoing story, some I watch because I actually think they are good, most I watch for the weird pleasure/ability to completely shut off my brain. A lot of it is just background noise to what I am doing now, for example, although WNYC is on but I feel bad that I’m not paying closer attention to the radio program. I never feel that way about TV. Anybody LOVE the new show RINGER?? Or is it just me? :)

  10. dct

    I either don’t watch television at all, or watch a recommended series that’s already aired on DVD obsessively. Part of that is personality–I HAVE TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. But part of it feels a little like addiction. I’ll watch til my head hurts, til I’ve stayed up too late. When the series is done, I’m always relieved and happy to go back to my non-watching tv self who is much more balanced and productive.

  11. Laura

    There are a few shows I watch because I am truly interested in the story arc – these are mostly procedurals (The Good Wife, Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, Revenge). There are few sitcoms I like because I am rooting for one of the characters or the dialogue is quite funny (Two Broke Girls, Big Bang Theory, Parks & Rec, Happy Endings). Frontline always ranks high as well. Mostly, these are DVR’d to watch in one fell swoop on Sundays. I wasn’t allowed to watch very much tv until I was 12, so I sometimes feel like I’m making up for lost time.

  12. Julie

    I get into the story and/or the characters. I am an active participant in the willing suspension of disbelief and can really love most any drama. If allowed I will likely follow the show to the bitter end (the original 90210, Friends, Seinfeld, Lost, and ER to name a few). TV helps with some of the more tedious chores such as folding clothes and also with working out.
    @Caroline – love Ringer! Tuned in originally b/c of SMG, and now I’m hooked.

  13. Rizzo

    As they say in sports talk radio – first time, long time. Saw today’s post and had to contribute this passage of writing about television from Frederick Exley’s A Fan’s Notes. Given the unsparing nature of Exley’s assessment of the medium, I’d say it’s ironic that today it was announced that A Fan’s Notes will be adapted for television. As someone who endeavors to write good television and is a fan of the book, I would just about kill for that job. Without further ado, Frederick Exley on the tube. Please enjoy….
    “I watched [television] – but there is no need to enumerate. Not once during those months did there emanate from the screen a genuine idea or emotion, and I came to understand the medium as subversive. In its deceit, its outright lies, its spinelessness, its weak-mindedness, its pointless violence, in the disgusting personalities it holds up to our youth to emulate, in its endless and groveling deference to our fantasies, television undermines strength of character, saps vigor, and irreparably perverts notions of reality. But it is a tender, loving medium; and when it has done its savage job completely and reduced one to a prattling, salivating infant, like a buxom mother it stands always poised to take one back to the shelter of its brown-nippled bosom. Save for football I no longer watch the tube, and yet my set is always on. In the way one puts a ticking clock in a six-week-old puppy’s pillowed box to assure him that Mom is always there, I come in from having one too many beers, flick on the switch, and settle comfortably on the davenport. The drone reassures me that life is there, life is simple, life is unending. Starting up abruptly at 3am, I am at first conscious of the hot hum of the voiceless and turn to receive the benediction from the square of brilliant light shining directly upon me from out of the darkness. How I envy those people who live in areas where all-night movies are shown.”

  14. xuxE

    because i love it. sometimes it’s for pure fun and sometimes it’s educational. it’s a variety of content pushed into many rooms of my house on giant colorful hi-res tablets on stands.
    weird question. kind of like asking “why do you like reading”? umm – because that’s how ideas get from a piece of paper into my brain?
    i guess i would watch live theater more if it would come into my house every day and perform.
    it would also be fun if the TV’s projected holograms.

  15. craighill

    speaking of entertainment, the black flag concert at the milestone club (charlotte ’84) was all world. we were 15 and snuck in the back door. that shit ain’t on tv.

  16. Neva

    I thought black flag was just a bug spray..
    anyway, I watch very little TV but when I do it’s to laugh and forget the day (Daily Show, Colbert) or to enjoy a huge escape from my own reality (Breaking Bad, the Wire). I can’t watch medical shows. Too close to my own day to day life (and too hard for me to criticize how unrealistic they are)

  17. Stasia

    Bad habit … mindless addiction … when folding clothes … when I’m waiting for a friend to suggest the next good novel.
    Or when I need a laugh … most likely with Stewart or Colbert.

  18. Salem Suber

    Craighill! If that was the Slip It In tour and Henry Rollins was 115lbs of Charles Manson, wearing only running shorts; we were all there!


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