When Jeff and I were first married, and lived in our lovely tiny apartment in East Nashville, we had no cable. We had those terrible bunny-ear antennae and the then-new HD converter box. The antennae quickly lost their "stick" and would flop from side to side. It was a real technical skill figuring out how to tweak them juuuusstt so, so they would stay in place and you could get a signal. And this was in the middle of a large city. I can't imagine how one could achieve this in a rural area.
Then, as now, Jeff worked many nights. I was going through kind of a hard time, so I indulged myself in mindless vegging out on the couch. I had the puppy for entertainment, but we watched a lot of television. We got about eighteen channels, twelve of which were televangelism. Sometimes I watched those and tried to make sense of them. Mostly I avoided them. That left me with: NBC, ABC, CBS, CW, Nashville Public Television 1 and 2.
I had never had a TV in college. I mostly just watched whatever anyone else was watching when I lived with the roommates. I had never been "into" the popular series on the major networks, and I fancied myself very cultured and above such things.
Before I knew it, I was sucked into the nightly routine of switching from channel to channel, watching one-hour blocks of "That 70s Show," "The Office," "90210," and worst of all, "Two and a Half Men." After dinner, it was time for "Family Guy."
Charlie Sheen still makes me feel really greasy, especially after all his recent antics. But the rest of the cast became my friends.
And don't even get me started on "That 70s Show." I love it! I feel like Donna Pinciotti was my real life friend. How many freaking seasons of "That 70s Show" are there? I watched an hour of it every night for like two years, and I don't think I ever saw a repeat.
And "The Office"! Oh, "The Office." I went from not really "getting" this show to absolutely loving it. I have been known to actually laugh out loud at this show. My favorite character goes back and forth, but I think it ends up being Angela. She's so genuinely awful. I have trouble when I see Angela Kinsey (the actress who plays Angela) in those Nice'n'Easy hair color commercials. Is she being facetious? Is she being snarky? Is she trying to be genuinely girlfriend-ish to the ladies who need hair-color help? I have so completely identified the actress with her character that I get confused.
"Family Guy" and "90210" are other guilty pleasures. I think it's so funny when people act like "The Simpsons" or "Family Guy" are like the downfall of polite American culture. Or they act shocked that a pastor (of all people!) would watch such tripe. I agree, it's not "Mad Men," but hey - I need entertainment too!
When we moved to Topeka, we got 124098132580 channels included with the cost of our rent. It's been a mixed blessing, at best. The worst part is that the Topeka syndicates of the major channels don't offer those one-hour blocks I'd been used to. I still get a good dose of "That 70s Show," but "The Office" is a rarity. Now you know my bad television secret.