Couch Potato Fried

11 11 2009


City Homicide, NCIS, Bones, CSI, Law and Order, Ghost whisperer, Rush, The Mentalist, Lie to Me, Castle, Life, Burn Notice – the list goes on and on… and on!

Switch on the telly on any given night and these shows flood the screen. Why do we love them? Because they are filled with adventure, mystery, murder and good looking people with unnatural intellect and a knack for solving crime. The only problem is – what happens when I want to watch something else? Sit down and try to find a TV show that isn’t riddled with death, sex, violence. Sure you can find it – at about 3:00pm on ‘Play school’. But I think most of us have graduated beyond that.

These ‘cop’ shows are for adults – but it doesn’t mean that they like them. Who really wants to come home after a long day work and watch someone get their throat cut out? Who really wants to sit glued to the television for hours on end because there is nothing else to do or because ‘that’s just my way of relaxing’? Because this is what we do, day in, day out. One question –WHY?

What happened to a family dinner – at the table!

What happened to stories and OH MY GOSH books!?

What happened to walks after dinner – not just from the table to the couch or the couch to the fridge but actually OUTSIDE!!!

Modern day teenagers are being thrust into this world of TV and internet. They sit down and watch ‘Bobby go out with Lucy who really loves Freddy who is in jail because he killed Sally’ and ‘Mr awesome tracks down Mr evil because he killed Mr ‘we’ll know when the autopsy is done’ with a bucket of liquid nitrogen and a twig’. So a new generation of people are being brought up on this? Why do we do this? Who really wants this? I’m not saying that TV is bad; I’m just saying ‘err hello? There is more to life than what the TV shows us – instead of getting our ideas of the world from the telly set, actually go out in the real world for a bit and stop to smell the roses!

Go on couch potato – I dare ya!






One response

12 11 2009

Sure, there is plenty more to life than TV, and it’s important that we experience all those other things – time with family and friends, reading, taking long walks and just generally experiencing life.

But television, just like books, can serve an extremely important purpose: to engage us in thought and to make us feel.

Why do we encourage reading so much? Because it immerses us in worlds and experiences and with characters that are different from our own and offer new perspective. And because they immerse us in experiences we do understand and characters we relate to, reminding us that we’re not alone and allowing us to feel connected to something.

Television can do the same.

Of all the shows you listed, Life jumped out at me. It happens to be one of my favourite TV shows for the simple reason that at it’s core Life is, unlike many cop shows, a subtle exploration of relationships. It presents us with characters who, far from being perfect or superficial, are incredibly flawed and damaged and it’s that quality that makes the show so compelling. These characters tell you it’s ok not to be perfect, it’s ok to make mistakes and find yourself at rock bottom. It’s easy to connect with these people, to feel for their struggles and to question our own flaws because of them.

Life is not like most cop shows. It’s incredibly thoughtful and even philosophical. Zen abounds! “Every minute you spend wishing you were somewhere else is a minute you can’t get back’. It’s challenging and engaging.

This, in my opinion, is what makes TV just as valuable an experience as reading.

Though of course, that’s not to say that all TV engages us in this way – there’s some shockingly unengaging shows out there. And there are certainly many people who do simply sit in front of the TV because they can’t be bothered doing anything else.

But for those who are fascinated by the world, by people, by relationships and humanity, the right TV show can be an education, thoughtful and beneficial experience.

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