NOT A VAST WASTELAND

Fandango’s Provocative Question #175

The Emmy sits on top (more or less) of the actual TV. It’s visually redundant.

I don’t watch quite as much TV as Garry, but he’s a serious movie buff. Probably 80% of what he watches are movies, many of them westerns. He loves them. He always has. He can give you — at lightning speed — everyone who was in any movie prior to the 1990s, down to director and including people playing minor rolls. They aren’t just an interest. They are his hobby — along with baseball.

For anyone who doesn’t already know it, Garry worked as a TV news reporter for more than 40 years. He’s got three regional Emmys and a pile of other awards. So yes, he likes television. So do I.

When Garry was on the news pretty every day all year round, year after year, we watched a lot more news. Not only did we watch Garry’s pieces (he could never see them in final form except at home), but he also liked to see how other reporters covered the same story. We were a very newsy household.

Shooting something with PBS

When he wasn’t on the air, he watched sports. Baseball if possible, but he doesn’t turn his nose up at other sports. I like baseball. Good thing or he’d go missing for 165 games every year.

There have been a lot of been interesting, well-produced shows since streaming services began to come into their own. They cover subjects I would never have expected to see on TV. As a result, I watch more television ever before. The shows are more sophisticated. Production values are better. The scripts and performances are good. Plus there are tons of movies available which I missed when I was younger because I was always at work or on my way to or from work.

Recently, we’ve watched some really excellent series on HBO and Paramount in particular. I’ll get to them later.

First, the questions!


What country do you live in?

U.S.A.

How many televisions do you have in your home?

Garry and I have two, one in the living room and another in the bedroom. The one in the bedroom is set up for Garry to watch with his hearing aids using headphones, so there is no sound. That’s when I read. It’s probably the only time I have time to work my way through a book. Right now I’ve moved out of the gilded age into 1914 and and the beginning of the first world war. This is not reading I can do while watching television. I have to pay attention.

On average, how many hours a day do you watch TV?

Three hours? Four? It depends on what’s on. If I’m not interested in what’s on, I use the time to write or process photos. There’s never enough time to do all the things I want to do. For example, today I was up just after 7 which is very early for me, but I had an idea of something I wanted to draw. Once the brain engages, it’s impossible for me to go back to sleep. I didn’t finish the project until 1 in the afternoon and then I moved on to processing a series of photographs followed by cooking and eating dinner (sweet & sour pork on steamed rice) and now, it’s yesterday’s Colbert. I still haven’t managed to read anyone’s blog and I’m too tired to start now. I’ve already been up for more than 12 hours. This is also the first time I’ve written anything today.

If you think retirement will leave you oodles of available hours, HAH! I think I’m busier than ever.

What kinds of programs do you typically watch?

We used to watch a lot of procedurals — Law & Order, NCIS, and so on. They are all on recess at the moment so we have been watching various mini-series — and the January 6th hearings which is pretty gripping stuff. It’s hard to believe it was real though I saw it while it was happening. These days, it’s hard to believe reality is real.

Do you watch programs as they are aired or do you record them and watch them at other times?

We used to record things, but most streaming stations make recording unnecessary. Entire shows — often multiple years — are available, so why record? I do buy movies I love because they may or may not be available when I want to see them. I really prefer owning my own media.

Do you mostly watch “network” TV? Premium cable channels? Streaming channels?

We don’t get cable. We cut that cord years ago and are never going back.

We’ll watch anything if we like it. Things we’ve watched recently that we liked a lot? “Gaslit” about Martha Mitchell. “The Last Movie Stars” about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. “The Offer,” about the making of “The Godfather.” “Sketchbook” about the people who draw for Disney Animation and a couple of shows about the making of some of their animated movies. Anything Star Trek-related. Colbert. “Voyager.”

We usually watch the news at dinner time, at least for a while. Now that we also have an antenna and can get the networks and so much more, it’s way more than we have time to watch.

We have a lot of streaming channels and I don’t even remember all of them. Add them to the 60+ channels from the antenna and its a bit overwhelming. On the other hand, the world is overwhelming. I need all the distraction I can get.

How often, if at all, do you use other devices than television to watch programs?

We don’t. I think Garry watched one movie on YouTube because we couldn’t find a copy to buy and it wasn’t showing on any movie channel. That was a few years ago. We once watched TV on my computer in a motel where they wanted to charge us to watch, but wi-fi was free. That had to be more than 20 years ago. So, the answer is still, we don’t.



Categories: #FPQ, Anecdote, Provocative Questions, Television

Tags: , , , ,

13 replies

  1. Interesting post. We are all so different.
    I watch several hours a day. Mostly streaming, PBS and nightly news.
    I stream BritBox and Acorn TV because I like the quality and the more “real” characters of British and some foreign shows. An excellent procedural crime show is Line of Duty (British).
    I rarely go to the movies, but just did recently and saw “Where the Crawdads Sing”. I had not read the book, but the movie was superb.
    I drop and add streaming services, as I see all that I want. Amazon has some good original shows..The Dig and The Queens Gambit. Spectrum cable and Crackle have a bunch of free movies too.

    And yes it can be all rather expensive, so it’s just what you enjoy and are willing to pay.
    I don’t like reality TV unless it’s the Jan 6 hearings. It’s so important to know just how close we were to losing our country and the danger we are still in. And all this not to mention the biggest one of all…climate change.

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  2. I, too, think that your comment about whether reality is real is probably the most poignant sentence in this post. It’s almost hard to tell these days what reality really is! The J6 hearings recently have been a good attempt to bring reality back to the world, but even those seem unreal!

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    • The world feels like a long nightmare that won’t go away. It’s not that I don’t believe that we are on the edge of a real catastrophe. It’s just that I don’t feel I’m in any position to do much about it — except write. I think this is my last chance to have even a minimal chance to affect my world. It isn’t much, but it’s something. We may all get crushed, but I’d like to at least do my best — not that I think I’m going to accomplish much. It’s too big a world and I’m too small a fish.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Like Garry, I enjoy the old westerns as well as many classic movies. I hardly ever watch network TV anymore, but the few network shows I do watch are recorded on my DVR, as is Stephen Colbert.

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    • We get Paramount, so they automatically give you a few days to catch the show. There’s nothing on cable anymore that we aren’t getting somewhere else. I dumped Netflix and Hulu as well as Fubo. Fubo was far too expensive and the only reason I got it was to see the Sox play. They’ve decided to charge $30/MONTH just to watch the Sox and Bruins. Considering that the Sox are now in LAST place in their division, I think we’ll take a pass on that!

      Netflix never had anything I wanted to see. If they get some new material, I will drop something else and pick them up until I finish their shows. Hulu never seems to have anything I want to see. At least we more of less got the streaming services under control. Our basic CABLE (wi-fi service only) — with NO TV is $90/month! And they suck.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As a non-TV-owner I just realised that I have not really missed out on much. Stuff like Colbert and news of interest I get from YTube and our paper/e-paper subscriptions…. but I do own some 800 DVDs of which many I couldn’t view so far, because I always only buy the original (language) version.

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    • The shows we’ve been watching have been excellent. Well-written, good performance, high production values. So whether or not you consider it as something of value is a matter of whether or not you like to see interesting productions of good shows about interesting stuff. I listed a bunch of them in the post and they were all REALLY good.

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  5. You have a beautiful home, Marilyn. I enjoyed this post immensely, mainly because my TV has been on non-stop for a couple of years. I actually don’t watch it all the time, but sometimes just need the sound of other voices to remind me I’m still alive. I think what got my attention about Garry was when you said he likes the old westerns. Back in the day of three channels my dad watched all of the Western shows and I grew up with “Gunsmoke”, “Rio”, “Wagon Train”, “Wanted: Dead or Alive” and seems like hundreds of others. With one TV set we watched what what dad watched or nothing at all. I still watch all of them on MEtv.

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  6. Hi Marilyn, I enjoy these posts where you answer questions. I learn more about your life and life in the USA. “These days, it’s hard to believe reality is real.” That comment made me laugh. I have been feeling like Alice in Wonderland lately. This quote in particular: Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrariwise, what it is, it wouldn’t be, and what it wouldn’t be, it would.

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