Sometimes I really hate the TV. Sometimes I'm angry at myself for sitting in front of it. It just sort of sucks you in, your body motionless while your eyes are glued to the images flashing past at high speed.
Since the sister at MyHijab brought up her feelings about her daughter watching the Simpsons, I started to think a little more about my own tube-gazing habits. Which might be odd, considering I don't own a TV. That's right, I don't own one. I have never bought one, I have never had one in my bedroom, and as soon as I moved out of my parents' house I resolved not to ever get one.
But in both my current apartment and my previous one, I had a roommate with a television in the main sitting room. Now my bedroom is very small and it's uncomfortable to be in there all the time, so usually I am out in the living room instead. And occasionally even turn on the television. For a while, it was more than just "occasionally" but several times a week!
Now, most of the time I do spend watching it is either to watch the news, CSI reruns on Spike, or Star Trek. The news for legitimate reasons (especially on primary nights), Star Trek because I have a bizarre fascination with the show (especially Voyager), and then CSI I turn on because I don't really want to watch television (the prime-time evening shows) but I'm here by myself and sometimes want something to do.
But I've unfortunately been watching enough TV now to be acquainted with a couple of shows--shows which really ought to remind me why I don't want a TV in my own home, and why I don't think I would want my kids watching it. My parents were actually pretty strict about what we could watch on TV--adult humor shows were off-limits. Anything from Saturday Night Live to the Simpson's, it was just not allowed in our home.
One of the worst shows on TV right now, I think, isn't even that but a show called 'Gossip Girl' on the CW. The fact that it is a show about teenagers should attract a certain audience, but the behavior of the characters has yet to demonstrating anything to redeem the show. Among the evils:
1) Drinking--the characters who are high school juniors (or less than that) have a tendency to wind up in fancy bars, falling-down drunk. They don't have to hide beer under the bed, oh no, they can drink in public. Which they do quite often and it's gross to imagine.
2) Drugs--as if the drinking wasn't bad enough, they have easy access to drugs and nothing to stop them... except perhaps their moral compass which seems to be broken.
3) Sex--the characters with their boyfriends/girlfriends and also with their arch-enemies, and their best friends' boyfriends and girlfriends. Often this is a result of aforementioned reasons for impaired judgment.
4) Lying--naturally, to their parents about what they've been doing, and to each other, about who they've been sleeping with.
5) Envy--those with less wealth want more wealth, and popularity, while the ones who are rich and popular already want the happiness of the others, resulting in catty torment of younger characters who don't yet subscribe to the politics of mean girls. And of course, envy of someone else's boyfriend/girlfriend or how much time they get to spend. I could call it jealousy but envy seems even more appropriate. They want everyone else to suffer...
6) Gossip! Naturally on a show called 'Gossip Girl' there is going to be the backbiting, slander, and innuendo which comprise gossip. An anonymous blogger of sorts manages to get all the dirt on the major characters and SMS it to everyone in the school, with pictures, with lightning speed.
The whole show just makes me sick (which is why I never watched more than a couple episodes.) But I guess that since I have watched, and can point out how icky it is, I should remember why exactly I don't want to have a TV in my home, and probably make more of an effort to keep it off. And I should point out to anyone else that society in general (thanks to shows like Gossip Girl) doesn't make staying on the straight path any easier. And if there were ever a reason to shun part of American society, I'd say that prime-time television ought to be near the top of the list of things to be avoided.