On TV…as addiction

I watch tons of TV. So much so I decided to downsize and switch to Comcast’s Internet Plus plan (high speed internet, antennae channels and HBO for 69.99). Look I’m addicted to well-written scripted comedies and dramas but I have this thing for reality shows. I love them-specifically those of the Bravo and VHI variety. Which is why I had to do something drastic; enter Internet Plus. I knew I needed my Comcast bill to drop after it reached a record $200 high. I couldn’t justify throwing that kind of money away just to be entertained by TV, the thing that prevents me from cultivating relationships and writing more routinely.

When I presented this information to my b.f. I was all like, “We should cut the cost of our cable bill.” He was cool with it. What I didn’t tell him right away is that while cutting costs was a bonus, I was trying to quite reality TV cold turkey. I was hopelessly addicted to Real Housewives (minus Miami-ick!), all Basketball Wives (especially LA, that Jackie Christy is must-see) and each rendition of Love and Hip Hop (shout-out to NY although last season I preferred ATL). But I wasn’t just going to lose my beloved trash television; I was also going to lose access to AMC (I’ve been faithful to Mad Men since the beginning), FX (Always Sunny, my fave episode “The Gang Gets Invincible” aka Philadelphia Eagles tryouts in season 3), and TV One (no more Unsung…). What was going to become of me?

I’m a couple of months in to only having ABC, NBC, CBS and PBS (I still have Downton Abbey!). I’m surprised to find I don’t miss any of my reality shows. I still miss Unsung and am trying to figure out a way to watch the final micro-season of Mad Men, but I’m good. Let’s be clear, I’m not remotely above watching any of the aforementioned reality shows should an opportunity present itself and I still watch my fair share of TV but I’m not pining for Real Housewives the way I thought I would. Now when I watch TV I claim I’m doing research for my writing and in a way I am.

Over the holidays I indulged in a days-long marathon of The Wire. I fell in love all over again with the stellar dialogue and storytelling. It was different watching McNulty and Bunk, Avon and Stringer, Bubbs and Kema, Chris and Snoop and Michael and Dukie again. This time I paid attention to the dialogue and how each conversation propelled the story forward and I felt proud to know that graduate school has taught me plenty.

I attribute my renewed fascination with The Wire to my fiction class I completed this past fall. Had you asked me last January if I was a fan of writing fiction I would have said “Hell no, I write non-fiction but love to read fiction.” Well this class not only helped my non-fiction writing, but it also made me a more critical viewer of television. I can’t wait to apply this theory to Game of Thrones. I’ll be all set if I can turn this love of TV into a paying gig…or would that ruin the love?

In the meantime, I have a new TV show I’m all about, Empire! Taraji P. Henson gets the best lines. Check it out in all its campy rugged glory, Wednesday nights at 9 on Fox.

What’s your favorite show/TV addiction? 

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