There are very few things we disagree upon, but the main reason we could never be roommates is… wait for it… we’d have a huge fight over whether to pay for cable. It’s an argument most twenty-somethings have at some point in their shared-apartment life, especially in the age of Hulu and Netflix, never mind DVR and HBO. Herewith, the double-edge sword that is twenty-something television:
Ellyn says… TV makes me think of greasy chips and dirty homes that smell like cats and garbage. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have my nose in the air, but I do have my fingers in my ears and better things to do. I hated paying my share of the cable bill when I lived with roommates, but they all thought I was nuts for suggesting we cut the cord. Shaun and I didn’t have cable for the last six months, but even Shaun didn’t miss it, because he could watch sports in the common area of our building and it was a good way to make friends in a new town. While he did that, I read or watched Friends on DVD (although that’s a television show, there are no commercials or bills). We subscribe to Netflix too, which mostly works out especially when I log in and move all of my Rom Com choices to the top, pushing Ninja Assassin down the line.
When I was little, Mom made us feel lazy if we watched as kids. She seemed to vacuum the living room every time we tuned in to the tube:
“Ugh! Mom!!” we’d shout.
“Turn off this idiot box! Dust your room!” she hollered back, windexing the TV screen.
These days I can still hear Mom calling me a “couch potato” which is code for lazy degenerate waste of space. TV is mostly a lot of noise: shouting, flashing, and selling. The problem with cable is that you have to pay for 5,000 channels of crap to watch one decent show a week which is polluted with commercials.
Miriam says… I probably love TV with as much passion as Ellyn hates it. My parents didn’t have a TV when I was growing up, because they thought it would make me more of an intellectual and wanted me to do old-people things like listen to NPR instead. I’m still an intellectual–which is exactly why I’m obsessed with television. Correction: I am obsessed with a good freakin’ story, especially when told in television format. I love to watch stories unfold almost as much as I love to write stories. My dream job is to create my own show one day.
Here is the thing though… I’m a television snob. I hate reality TV (with the possible exception of Say Yes to the Dress, and no, I do not and will never watch The Jersey Shore. I think The Wire was the best show ever produced, with Breaking Bad coming in a very close second. I think Grey’s Anatomy is ultimately a better show than The Sopranos because the characters in the former have better longevity. And while I appreciate the cleverness of a show like Modern Family, I’m way more of a sucker for a comedy with some kick-ass heart, which is why Cougar Town is my favorite show right now.
So if Ellyn and I were roommates, I would tell her to educate herself. That yes, there is a certain kind of TV-watching that is lazy and degenerative and a waste of space. But there is also plenty of TV-watching that is an art form, that makes you stay up all night reading various reviews, debating story arcs with your friends, and spurring your own creativity. That is the kind of TV I do. And yes, some of my friends refuse to watch with me for it.
Oh, and there is one more thing: I find Glee absolutely, tremendously vile, and no, not because they sing. If only that were their problem.