The fall season started just in time to give me something mindless to do when recovering from the last miscarriage. I tried a whole slew of new shows, most of which I’m no longer watching. None of them were awful but they just didn’t capture my interest. The only new show that I’m still watching is Modern Family. It’s like an updated Cosby Show and it makes me laugh. Oh, and Adam and I have watched a couple of episodes of Outsourced but it remains to be seen if we’ll continue with it. Adam is watching some kind of Zombie show and I try to watch it with him but I keep falling asleep. I also gave up on Caprica, the Battlestar Galactica spin-off. It would be nice to have a great sci-fi show again.
My old standbys aren’t very exciting right now either. I’m watching this season’s Survivor but I have to force myself to keep up with it. Some seasons are fantastic and some suck. I watch it as a game show or almost as a sport, and there is no team worth rooting for this year. I still watch House but the thrill is gone. Mad Men was great but it’s over for the year already. The Office is always good for a couple of laughs, but it’s really past its prime.
I guess my favorite show right now is Intervention. I’m totally addicted to it! There’s something about seeing drug addicts totally self-destructing that is fascinating to me. I don’t think I’m enjoying seeing them suffer or reveling in depravity. I think part of what fascinates me is the “co-dependence” of the families involved. (I don’t really like the term co-dependence; I think it’s more accurate to say that the friends and families of the addicts are evading the consequences of the “help” they are giving.) I have some firsthand experience in this area and it’s good for me to get a reminder of how counterproductive and self-destructive it is to try to “fix” another person.
Also, I don’t think all the addicts are totally immoral, hopeless losers. Many of them had severe trauma in their lives and they never figured out how to deal with it and they’ve put themselves in this kind of limbo as a way to cope. And then they have the physical addiction which makes it that much harder to get out of the whole mess. I do believe that their problems are 100% a choice, but that doesn’t mean that moral, healthy choices are equally easy for all people. So I root for the ones who seem like they want to face reality, but just haven’t figured out how yet. There are some addicts like that. There are also some who are too far gone, and some who are nihilists at heart and just slowly committing suicide and burning a path of destruction while they do it. Sometimes I can’t watch the show if it is about someone like that, but usually it’s not. Most addicts are somewhere in-between, and I like to try to guess which ones will make it and which ones won’t. Unfortunately, at the end of the show you find out how they’ve done, but only a few months later. I’d like to know how some of them are doing years later.
The other thing I’ve been trying to watch on TV is football. I joined a Fantasy Football league as a way to try to jump-start my efforts to watch more football, but it didn’t work. I’ve watched about 2 half-games all season. There is no reason I can’t invest 2-3 hours a week to watching one single football game on Sunday or Monday night. Sam is asleep and I watch that much other TV in a week anyway. I think I’d enjoy just that much, but there is another problem: the games are on way too late here on the East coast. I just can’t make it through a night-game, and I have no interest in watching the last half the next day if I record it. So, I think football is going to have to wait for a while. I’m hoping Sam will want to watch with me on Sunday afternoons when she is a bit older.
It’s interesting to me, though, that my favorite shows, reality television shows, do seem to replicate watching sports. Survivor, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, and even Intervention, all involve rooting for someone who is trying to accomplish something challenging. They all require a lot less time-investment, though, and the challenge is not usually purely physical. Everyone seems to mock “reality TV” as something that panders to our baser instincts, and some shows do. But as a genre, I think the appeal of reality TV over the past decade has been due to its similarity to sports and game shows. So, I miss football, but I’m glad to have an alternative.