But in reality, this a little like saying an alcoholic is better than you because he doesn’t drink alcohol. No sir, not having a television doesn’t make me a better person, it just makes me a TV addict who had to choose between television and a life.
You see I am a TV addict. I know this, because whenever I am confronted with an actual TV on a house-sitting gig, much like an addict falling off the wagon and going on a bender, I lose days. Last winter I housesat for ten days in the hills of Silverlake. My cell didn’t get reception up there. A storm knocked out the wireless internet. The plan was that I would reclude like Salinger and write like Sylvester Stallone, knocking out a screenplay in ten days.
However, the people I was house-sitting for did have a television, and even worse, they had TIVO.
I don’t remember much – it’s still kind of hazy. But ten days later when I walked out of that house, I had a new appreciation for (in no particular order) Lost, Desperate Housewives, Veronica Mars, music videos, every VH-1 show there ever was, including Best Week Ever, and most addictive of all, Diary of Affair (a Style Channel show that dissects an extramarital affair in the same eerie re-enactment style of Unsolved Mysteries – it ran in marathon on Christmas Day).
And I had written five pages of my screenplay – okay four – okay three and a half -- but they were three-and-a-half very solid pages. People still compliment me on the opening of that screenplay . . .
I think this is when I realized I’m not a well-rounded intellectual who has thrown away her TV. I am an alcoholic who has poured all her bottles down the sink – but is in dear danger every time she passes by a bar.
So, I did what any self-respecting TV addict should do.
I re-subscribed to Netflix.
Or as like to call it Meth(as in adone)flix.
I now watch all my TV as God intended it: a year late and all in a row. While my other friend suffer through the suspense of Lost from week to week, I’m watching it in a leisurely fashion on my lunch hour every day. And because the dang thing’s only about 40 minutes long, I can watch the first fifteen minutes of the next episode before I go back to my desk – therefore diffusing the constant cliff-hanger angst most real-time Lost watchers like stay in.
And this also solves other problems for me. I can’t read Entertainment Weekly, because it’ll ruin the latest twist in the Nip/Tuck storyline for me. And when they reveal that Matt is actually Michael Jackson’s – not Christian’s -- lovechild, I want to be there to see it firsthand. This means I also can’t read or watch entertainment news, because then I’ll know how that whole first season Veronica Mars murder-mystery got resolved.
And heaven forbid, I stay in on a Friday night. How about if the DJ, who lives below me and never leaves the house until after 10pm, blasts the Sci-Fi channel too loud as he does every other day of the week – then I’ll know how the human race is faring on Battlestar Galatica.
And no way am I going to waste work hours around the water cooler. The married soccer moms that make up most of my office live for Desperate Housewives.
So, Methflix has actually made me a better person. Paying this service 20 bucks a month means I don’t watch live TV (promos for next week’s episode of whatever could be anywhere), don’t spend money on magazine subscriptions (every single one of them are timebombs of potential show-spoiler celeb interviews and items), don’t waste time gossiping at work. This also means I have time to write, be super social, skate and cause general mayhem. Best of all, I still get to watch a lot of good TV, without the guilt of wasting precious primetime hours on America’s Next Top Model. And because I play all my DVDs on my laptop, I can even watch TV while I cook, clean, and surf the internet. Awesome.
Today, I apparently don’t feel like a movie.
Maybe I’ll move to Cornish, New Hampshire and live next door to Salinger. He's a huge television watcher, too, according to Sarah Morrill's online biography:
It might depress you to know that Salinger has always been an avid TV watcher. Gilligan's Island, Leave it to Beaver, Peyton Place, Dynasty, and obviously, Mr. Merlin. His favorite was and maybe still is The Andy Griffith Show. He watches TV while eating dinner off of a folding metal TV tray. There's now a satellite dish on his house which you can see from the public road at the foot of his driveway.