In a nutshell, television wastes time… but why do we love it so much? After a four day holiday weekend, much of which has been spent binge watching our latest favourite (The Good Wife) on Amazon Prime, I thought I would mull over the subject of television.

In this category I include pre-recorded programmes, DVDs, Blue Ray discs, Netflix, Amazon Prime and all the other ways to watch television shows or movies at home, on a box sat in the corner of a room; or in some really dedicated households, hung on the wall like a prized piece of artwork.

Like so many habits or activities our fascination with television probably began in our childhoods. Personally I loved a whole host of childhood fantasy shows: Bagpuss, The Flintstones, Andy Pandy, Bill and Ben (yes, the originals with the wires and everything), Trumpton and Camberwick Green.  ‘Pugh, Pugh, Barley McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub’ (names from my memory).  These shows have such an impact phrases from them such as this list of firemen being called, stick with you for many years after watching.

As I grew older, Blue Peter, Grange Hill and the Monkeys played a role, and during the school holidays, Why Don’t You?  This, ironically, was a television show aimed at teens giving them ideas to stop watching television and ‘go and do something else’ instead.  So on a Saturday morning, what did we do instead?  Go to the Cinema and watch something on the big screen instead!

I shall come to the Cinema another time, but as a nation we have a tendency to be drawn towards the television rather than find something else to do.

There is no doubt it is great when you feel tired and can’t be bothered to do much. This is likely the main problem.  We often watch just about anything, flicking from channel to channel even through the advertisements of our favourite programme, just to be watching something rather than having to talk or get up to make a cuppa.  I have found myself during these type of television sessions, watching the dullest programmes: dating while cooking, dining with complete strangers, watching houses being auctioned, families moving to other countries, repeats of shows I have watched previously, sport (need I say more?).

I love to watch television but nowadays I try (mostly) to watch it purposely. I sit down with the intention of watching my favourite show(s).  Often I will have these pre-recorded so that I can see them when I have spare time rather than being limited to when they are being aired.  I can also fast forward past bits I don’t care to watch.  On a particular entertainment show I forward all the bits in-between the main sections where they tell us about their personal journey and how desperate they are to reach the final.  This bores me completely.  Sometimes I forward the advertisements, but often I will use this few minute period to go and do something useful: put on a load of washing, whizz a duster around the room, tidy the kitchen, load the dishwasher; and still be back on the sofa for the next part.  It makes me feel productive and less guilty for watching television.

I have guilty secrets to share:

  1. We mostly watch television as we eat our meals – I know dieticians say this is bad. We don’t digest our food properly or some such thing. I have been doing this for 50 years and it doesn’t seem to have done me much harm. Yes, we should be talking but we do this when we go out for a meal and we do this quite often. I work with my husband and we are together pretty much 24/7/365 so I think a little television watching is not going to harm us.
  2. I love American crime: CSI, NCIS, derivatives of both, Criminal Minds, Law and Order (all variants) Scorpion…the list is endless.
  3. I once spent most of my spare time watching the complete box set (every series until the end) of Desperate Housewives! This was several years after the series ended and I had watched them all before. I would scurry home from work and put another on, then another… and then suddenly it would be bedtime. I know, don’t judge me. I went on a 10 step programme after that to ban television for a couple of weeks at least.
  4. I would move heaven and earth to watch BBC’s Holby City at the time it is on, preferably while drinking a glass of wine. I often now teach that evening, so IPlayer is my new friend. I can’t tell you why I am so addicted to this except for my extensive medical history and my love of hospitals – remember my last blog. I used to love ER in the same way.

So there you have it, whilst I consider television a waste of time, I also love it and find it difficult to leave it alone.

I would love to know your television guilty secrets!

When you are not watching TV don’t forget to check out my website http://www.theautisticvoice.co.ukand perhaps purchase one of my books instead – much healthier J