(It's probably worthwhile to point out that I grew up with no television in the house AT ALL, and Michael grew up eating frozen dinners on trays in front of the TV most nights. And, of course, I am now the one who needs an hour or more of TV before bedtime in order to fall asleep, while Michael stoically struggles to read the latest Thomas Pynchon opus with reruns of "Scrubs" as background noise. Dudes, marriage is all about compromise.)
The It's-Not-TV-It's-Netflix thing worked pretty well, for a while. We watched "Sex and the City" and "24" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Six Feet Under" and "The Sopranos." After the kids went to bed, we watched an episode (or two) or a movie (or a portion thereof) and then hit the hay. It was very civilized, I got to bed sort-of mostly on time, and best of all, there were no commercials.
Then we got a new TV.
About 18 months ago, we succumbed to the high-definition flat-screen hype and got a relatively modest set for the master bedroom (the only room in the house with a TV). It's pretty and shiny and you can see the razor-sharp picture without squinting. I may have made out with it a little.
Then Michael got hold of the remote control and the owner's manual and he pushed a few buttons and ALL OF A SUDDEN, there were a gazillion times twenty channels showing up. And some of them were playing cool movies, like "Sense and Sensibility" and "King Kong"! We kept channel-surfing into movies-in-progress, surfing away, and then trying to come back and find said movies and not being able to. It was very very weird, and I suggested that we'd fallen into a "Twilight Zone" episode akin to the classic episode of "Friends" where the guys are suddenly getting free porn on their TV, and refuse to turn it off for fear of offending the TV Porn Gods and losing their free porn.
You know where this is going, right?
After making this comment, I went downstairs for a glass of water, came back up, and found our TV set to porn (bad porn) and Michael cackling gleefully. Thus convinced we had entered an alternate TV dimension, we kept channel surfing and trying (and failing) to get a handle on which channels were showing the good movies (and not the bad porn). Because
Fake Boobs: Iz not the sexay.
It wasn't until a few days later when we surfed into a showing of the awful Nicholas Cage movie "World Trade Center" that the light bulb clicked on. The movie skips around a bit and there are (mercifully) story lines without Nicholas Cage, and we entered at one of those points. When the story segued back to the Nicholas Cage story line, ALL OF A SUDDEN the movie began to fast forward. On our TV screen. Without any intervention from us.
Not only did we have serious TV gremlins, they had taste! I instantly forgave them for the bad porn -- gremlins who blip over Nicholas Cage are welcome in my TV set any old time.
It took only a few minutes for us to realize what was really happening (because we are smart like that): our fancy-pants new TV was picking up the signals from all of our neighbors' On Demand selections. Whatever they are watching, we can watch. From bad porn to Jane Austen to Nicholas Cage movies, man, it's all in there. You just have to be willing to channel surf and catch it in a timely manner. (And also try not to dwell too much on WHICH neighbors are watching WHAT, 'cause, Dudes. Really. Bad. Porn.)
As you might have guessed, this is a double-edged sword. Because the grass might always be greener on another channel, and someone down the street might be watching the episode of "The Tudors" that I missed, my channel surfing has gotten OUT OF HAND, as I'm sure Michael would agree. The Netflix account lies languishing and neglected, good only for episodes of "24" that Michael watches while riding the stationary bike. An intervention is clearly needed. "Top Chef" ends this week, and then I'm going to fall off the cliff For Realz.
With the exception of a few semi-decent movies on the Universal HD Channel (more about which tomorrow), my TV watching is clearly in need of an intervention. I end up staying up much too late, chasing that ever-elusive show or movie fragment that will provide sufficient distraction for my brain to turn itself off so I can go to sleep. For the love of all that's holy, make me some Netflix suggestions in the comments. One-hour episodics would be best. Big fat smoochy thanks in advance.