TV Guide

Last night I was out in Lexington, MA having dinner with an old friend and I was telling her all the normal stuff about how your life (and availability to go out for a quick dinner) changes dramatically when the kids come. Blah blah blah. You’ve heard it all before. She told me that she’s become a TV-holic lately, so we started exchanging shows we watch on a regular basis. My list, of course, was short. It’s basically 30 Rock, The Office, Lost and Grey’s Anatomy. And the Bruins when they’re good.

However, since all the shows are now in summer reruns, Steph and I have turned to Verizon FIOS On-Demand to find something new to watch. We haven’t seen season 4 of Weeds, which I love, so that’s always an option. We also gave United States of Tara a couple of viewings and I think we may stick with it – very interesting and cool. A while back we caught a few episodes of Flight of the Conchords and we loved that. And finally, we have seen the first episode of Edie Falco’s new show, Nurse Jackie, and that looks quite promising. I doubt we’ll see every episode of these shows, but I think there’s enough on our plate to fill the 22 minutes we have per night if we’re lucky.

One show I used to watch but can’t bear to anymore is Jon & Kate + 8. What started out as a show about a family of multiples has taken a quick and sad turn into a soap opera. What TLC is doing with these people is a bit heartbreaking. There is nobody to blame for what’s going on here, either – it is everyone’s fault. It’s TLC’s fault for exploiting them, it’s the parents fault for actually continuing the show and it’s the viewers fault for continuing to watch it in droves. Millions still watch it, so it doesn’t make a different in the ratings if I elect not to, but I’m not supporting that tripe. Plenty of other constructive things to do with my time, like read or sleep. I got a kick out of this short piece from Slate on a recent Jon & Kate episode.

Get The Wire Cutters

Stephanie and I had an interesting conversation the other night. What if we were get rid of Comcast entirely? Our phone would go away and we’d be on 100% cell. We’d have to pay for an internet connection, of course, but could get that through Verizon’s Fios. TV is easy – you can now get pretty much any show (HD and non) via the Apple TV, which we have. We only have about 4-5 shows that we watch regularly, so it’s not like we’d be breaking the bank for it.

Yes, other costs would go up (cell bill, internet since it’s not packaged) but it seems like we’d save some relatively significant money. This is a problem the cable companies are going to face sooner than later as Apple TV-type boxes make their way into people’s living rooms. Getting TV shows and movies via the internet instead of via your coaxial is coming fast! 

Alas, there’s one major issue here – sports. Still can’t get that via Apple TV. And while I don’t watch much sports these days, I still want the option to watch it and it needs to be there and available to me, even if I only watch four games a year of whatever. But I can’t imagine it’ll be long before the pro sports leagues realize the importance of the “on demand” model and start piping it in to you the same way we’d get our shows – live via the Apple TV or some similar contraption, for a per game fee. Oh yes, I’d do that in a second.

No Offense….

Whenever someone starts off a sentence with “no offense, but…..” – then prepare to be offended. Even a little bit. That being said….

No offense to divers, but is it really necessary to have color commentators for diving competitions? I mean, I can understand a play-by-play person telling us who’s diving, where they’re from and who’s winning the competition, but I don’t need to hear color commentary, especially when everyone is virtually doing the same dive. There’s really nothing you can add. Last night, in our never-ending battle to find something (ANYTHING!) compelling to watch on television this summer, Steph and I stopped at diving for a few minutes and watched 3 divers. The color commentator said virtually the same thing each time. Steph summarized it best when she mocked, “in order to jump high, you MUST jump high.”

Someone should pay her big money to do this!

ID, Please

Seriously, who believes these Chinese gymnasts are 16 years old or older? Steph and I are channel flipping tonight and we stop at the Olympics because, well, 60 Minutes is over and there’s literally nothing to watch. I mean it – we went through just about the whole online guide. Nothing of interest. More on that in a second. The gymnasts from China look like they are 7. I’m not even kidding. Steph and I were pretending that we were the color-commentators and saying things like “and here’s Lio Zinzan, she’s 18 (minus 10)” and “here’s Siano Yuanyuan, she just entered pre-school last year.” Honest to god, can they find fake 16 year old that are least 50 pounds and taller than 2 feet, 4 inches?

I’m beginning to wonder if having cable TV is worth it. Seriously. We watch very little TV nowadays. I guess when fall comes and Lost, The Office and 30 Rock are back on, it may make it worth it, but I’m thinking maybe my money could be better spent elsewhere. We’ve also been thinking about removing the TV from the family room and setting it all up in the basement. Imagine that – no TV in the living room. That would be the first time in my life and you know what, it’s not sounding too outrageous right now. Having to go down into our basement (it’s finished) for TV isn’t ideal, but with the amount we’re watching, it’s acceptable.

I’ve been digging on Blitzen Trapper lately. They’re a group of lads from the Pacific Northwest who are fairly hard to classify, although somebody on Wikipedia called them “an experimental folk band,” which I take exception to. I don’t like experimental folk bands. I poked around on the web for a better explanation and I guess I found one on Pitchfork, from a review of their last album:

While I’m loathe to make a Pavement reference (lo-fi recordings! Slackers with guitars!!!), ‘Wild Mountain Nation’ comes closer to catching the carefree fuck-off sprawl of [Pavement’s] ‘Wowee Zowee’ than any record in recent memory. Here the band sail through any number of genres and styles without giving off a whiff of effort, their apparent West coast breeziness covering for the judicious amount of detail crammed into nearly every song.

Yummy. Here’s a taste for you, a song called “Wild Mountain Nation”
[audio:mountain.mp3]

Random

  • The combination of the writers strike and the arrival of twins has caused me to be watching far less television. I wasn’t a TV junkie by any stretch, but I did have shows I watched. What I’ve found with the strike is that I don’t miss it as much as I thought I would. One thing I do miss is movies. No time for those anymore. An hour-and-a-half to watch a movie feels impossible to accomplish right about now.
  • I’ve never been so glad that we’re on the cusp of spring. A new house has benefitted us greatly because we have a shorter driveway and a two-car garage, but for some reason this winter I felt way more stir-crazy than I ever have. I think it’s partially because I am dying to get the kids outside and introduce them to outside. I mean, REALLY introduce them to stuff, not just carrying them from car-to-house. Can’t wait! Also can’t wait to be using our new enclosed porch!
  • Feeling less attached to MLB this year and more attached to the NHL again. Odd. Is it the steroids thing, the fact that the Bruins are, at least, competitive, or is it both? I’m sad I can’t really watch west coast baseball games anymore.
  • My Dell computer at home is on the fritz after two years. TWO years! WTF? I run ad-aware quite often and always have Norton running, yet still something is gumming up the computer and causing glitches. It may not be ad-ware, it might be the guts of the machine itself, but it’s annoying to have to even think about another computer. It is, however, exciting to think about what’s next – maybe Apple. Maybe not. I dunno.
  • I’m hearing the Extreme Makeover Maynard, MA episode runs May 11
  • The new REM is out and I bought it. Haven’t listened yet, but their new single is the best song they’ve done since the mid-1980s. The Black Keys new album also came out today. They are becoming one of my favorite bands of this decade. It’s unfortunate that they constantly get classified as “bluesy” because it’s an unfair categorization. There’s some of that in their foundation, sure, but blues? Not even close, really. What I’ve heard of their new record is fantastic.
  • I don’t like this site design. It’s going away soon.