TV – Confessions of a New Mom

After Levi was born I began breastfeeding, and after the mothers paid their visit, I discovered that we actually got a reception on our cable-less TV. Soon, the lengthy breastfeeding sessions were supplemented with soap operas. I used to catch Days of our Lives in high school, back when Sami was so conniving it made you sick, and it seemed that she and Lucas should both be in jail, and the search for the real Roman was in full swing. I found that it was easy to get caught up, I remembered who all the characters were, and I just needed a few episodes to fill in the blanks. I must not have been breastfeeding correctly because Levi and I would sit there for an hour, and he was always hungry. Those first three to six months were a very frustrating time for all of us, Peter included. So, to pass these hour-long breast feedings sessions that occurred every two hours (that means an hour in between), I watched television. Soon, Peter purchased Rabbit Ears, and now we had channels 2-ABC, 5-PDX CW, 6-CBS, 8-NBC, 10-OBP, 12-FOX, 24-Trinity, 49-PDX49, and 54-ION/Infomercial. That’s NINE channels! I had the entire day lined up with morning news, local talk, Rachael & Martha, Passions, Days, and As the World Turns (a new soap I’d never experienced). As one can expect, I lost motivation, became overly enthralled with the TV, and sunk further into a cycle of Levi and TV. I’m not sure how I completed two classes, with As, Spring Term.

With the summer’s tragedy and frustrations, TV became less important. When we would be at the house, and during July and August it felt like we were home less than we were out, I stopped looking forward to these shows. My soap fix was fixed; I could care less about Katie and Jack. Game shows will always be there in some form. Local talk is being outsourced. The news is always repeating the same stuff, so there is no new news. In addition, primetime has the same script just a different name on the show.

Regardless of these realizations, I do have favorites. I admit two, but really, it’s four. Heroes and Desperate Housewives. The former has an intriguing plot while the latter is simply guilty pleasure. Who really lives like that? And, are they near Chicago, or did Illinois suddenly become coastal? But, I also enjoy Bones and House. I realized that I like the “smarter” shows. I enjoy the shows that have clues and mysteries to solve, however leading. I enjoy the shows where the nerd prevails and the underdog brings down The Man. I do not enjoy the mindless fluff. I do not enjoy the catty, gossipy shows that put people out there to make fools of themselves. I do not enjoy staged dramas pretending to be reality. I know what reality is, I’ve lived in dorms, I live life.

I also forget that I am not average, which is good. But, it’s surprising to learn that on Thursday, Survivor: China wins out at the 8 o’clock slot! It’s a broadcast version of The Real World with more stunts! Who watches these shows? And, by examining a ratings list, www.tvweek.com/ratings, it seems that many of the days highest are these reality shows, or shows that I simply don’t understand.

I recognize that TV is iconic and a symbol of the dumbing down of America, but to see it in full frontal view is, well, astonishing. It makes me mad. And, although I don’t foresee giving up Heroes or Bones, I am getting fed up. Why would we sit there, every night, minimum of two hours a night, or 14 hours a week, and watch this crap? Have books become so unpopular that we no longer remember what it was like to have an imagination? Are we so embroiled in our debt-ridden lives that the only release we have is to turn to gooey Jell-O on the couch? Why don’t we get mad? What would it take for us to stand up, turn off the TVs, and shout, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

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