What's on TV? Nothing at all.
April 19, 2004 4:31 PM   Subscribe

What's on TV tonight? Nothing! That's right, it's the tenth annual TV turn-off week. I've actually done this in the past three years, though last year I cheated and just watched everything a week later on TiVo.
posted by mathowie (86 comments total)
And miss The Shield and Survivor? Man, I need a Tivo badly!
posted by fenriq at 4:33 PM on April 19, 2004

Hockey playoffs, sorry. But other than that, my full support.
posted by loquax at 4:35 PM on April 19, 2004

i don't understand how you guys have time for TV and The Internet.
posted by th3ph17 at 4:37 PM on April 19, 2004

From my cold dead hands . . . .
posted by archimago at 4:39 PM on April 19, 2004

Go Leafs go. And two episodes of 24 this week, nope I'll be passing.
posted by bobo123 at 4:40 PM on April 19, 2004

More Info on why the TV is a bad thing.
I'm a TV junkie, but may try and participate this year.
posted by seanyboy at 4:43 PM on April 19, 2004

Is TV turn-off week something you'd need a TV to appreciate?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:44 PM on April 19, 2004

seriously, what mr_crash_davis said. I think the only "tv" we've watched recently has been all 3 seasons of 'the greatest american hero' and a whole lotta jdoramas and kdramas.
posted by dorian at 4:53 PM on April 19, 2004

is this something i would need a pretentious attitude towards tv to understand...?

seriously, screw them. i'm not missing the 5th to last ep of angel just because some folks easily zombify and can't control their tv viewing habits. there's nothing dangerous about an hour of storytelling once in a while.
posted by t r a c y at 4:55 PM on April 19, 2004

I went without TV for most of my adult life. Now, I'm catching up. Actually, I'll just be watching some of the NBA playoffs.

Does this include rented movies?
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 4:57 PM on April 19, 2004

No, really, I've got it under control. I can quit anytime I want.
posted by fuzz at 4:58 PM on April 19, 2004

What's in it for me? If I turn off my TV, then will all the people who delight in bragging about not liking/watching TV be giving up their misplaced moral superiority and uptight pretensions for the day? Otherwise, I'm not sure I see the point.
posted by willnot at 4:59 PM on April 19, 2004

TV is an appliance. You can use it to watch interesting things, or stupid things.

The blender is an appliance. You can use it to mix interesting things, or repulsive things.

When is "Blender Turnoff Week"?
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:02 PM on April 19, 2004

the internet has utterly replaced my TV addiction. I use the TV for movies and xbox.

As soon as i can load TV shows when i want them, Ill switch back. I don't have the time to sit around and wait for something good, or the memory to go sit down when i know something good will be on.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 5:03 PM on April 19, 2004

my take is that it's not so much about not-watching-buffay/angel/etc. as it is about not-watching-tv -- tivo/mythtv/etc. owners and bittorrent/donkey/etc. users are sort of automagically exempt... watch stupid things (see my previous comment, heh) or interesting things, just make it follow your schedule rather than the wrong way 'round.
posted by dorian at 5:03 PM on April 19, 2004

Also, I hate people who say "I never watch TV." Don't blame the medium for the content.

There are lots of inane, crass books out there in the world, but that doesn't make my copy of Philosophical Investigations any less intelligent.

If someone said "I never read books", would they draw the same kind of applause from the "Free Tibet" crowd?
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:04 PM on April 19, 2004

Am I allowed to watch DVDs or is that missing the point?
posted by feelinglistless at 5:05 PM on April 19, 2004

I can see the point if you're someone who just zonks out infront of the box, and whose life enters suspended animation as a result, but I pick and choose only the programmes I really want to see and watch them at my own convenience, so I don't feel the need to cleanse myself of the mind-hobbler's influence. Pass.
posted by Blue Stone at 5:06 PM on April 19, 2004

I hate people who say "I never watch TV." Don't blame the medium for the content.

I guess you hate me. It's too bad. I'm a thrilling conversation partner. I'm not complaining about the technology that transmits video pictures over the airwaves when I say TV sucks. Just that the end experience, in the world as we know it, sucks.

Just for you, this once, I will say: "I don't watch the content they put on TV, because they have misused this promising medium to propagate shit." There, you happy now?

TiVo Turnoff Week!

posted by scarabic at 5:10 PM on April 19, 2004

Lets face the obvious here. Most of you are in denial. Its time for the intervention. . .
posted by Quartermass at 5:11 PM on April 19, 2004

What t r a c y said.

And everyone should get a Tivo. I'd marry mine if I could. Pre-Tivo there were only four shows I would tape if I was going to miss them. I have my Tivo set to record 51 at last count. Oddly, I spend less time watching TV/Tivo now because instead of channel surfing for a few hours when I'm in a Watch Something mood, now I always have something I enjoy on hand and can quickly satisfy the urge.
posted by Cyrano at 5:15 PM on April 19, 2004

I stopped watching TV when I started working nights. Not because I hate TV, but because I'm too cheap to buy a DVR and right now I have other things that occupy my time that aren't regularly scheduled programs.

This TV turnoff thing is more for people like my parents who have the TV on from waking until sleeping, instead of people like most MeFites who timeshift programming or just have too many other things going to watch TV regularly. It's not for us.
posted by Electric Elf at 5:20 PM on April 19, 2004

Concentrated memetic pitch to the base instinct's virtual experience of a corporate agenda-Off Week.

posted by petebest at 5:22 PM on April 19, 2004

Meh, I don't feel the need to turn off my TV. I'd say there's maybe 2 hours a month where I sit down and watch TV to the exclusion of all else. Generally, my TV is background noise for whatever else I'm doing. Knitting, Mefi, whatever. I live alone and I like the sound of voices around me.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:23 PM on April 19, 2004

Meh also...what jacquilynne said. TV's the kinda thing you have on in the background while you live your life (like the radio used to be), occasionally glancing over to see what you're missing.
posted by amberglow at 5:31 PM on April 19, 2004

Scarabic, is there really nothing you want to see on television?

Documentaries about remote places to which you could never afford to travel? Legislative debates? Shoah? Obscure pre-Hays Code Hollywood movies?
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:32 PM on April 19, 2004

Jacquilynne and Amber, I couldn't disagree with you more. Do you leave your blender on all day in case you might want to blend something?
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:33 PM on April 19, 2004

I live alone and I like the sound of voices around me.

I leave the radio on for that. For having a voice in the other room, nothing beats it.
posted by y2karl at 5:39 PM on April 19, 2004

You'll pry the NHL playoffs from my, etc...only good reason to watch the tube anyway. Go Sens.
posted by Succa at 5:40 PM on April 19, 2004

Do you leave your blender on all day in case you might want to blend something?
Why, yes...yes i do. : P

Sidhedevil, I'm betting you didn't grow up in a loud house. Or in a loud house where the tv was always on. It's normal for many of us to have tv noise in the background while we're doing whatever we're doing. (like typing this post, for instance)
posted by amberglow at 6:30 PM on April 19, 2004

Sidhedevil, no, but if my blender held amusing scripted conversations, I might. Or, you know, if I had a blender.

In any case, your analogy is false. You imply that I'm leaving the TV on in case I might wish to use it at some point in the future. I'm saying that my preferred use of the TV is as background noise and occasional distraction. If you want to use kitchen appliance analogies, I'd say the most accurate one might be suggesting that I use my oven to heat my apartment. It's not necessarily the best use of the appliance (cooking / specifically watching programming), or the optimal solution to the problem (turning up the thermostat on the furnace / having actual people around) but given the constraints of the situation ( no access to the thermostat / live alone ) it serves its purpose.

y2karl, between my crappy radio and even crappier radio reception, that's not an option. I do listen to CDs sometime, but I don't find it gives me the same sense of people that the TV does.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:34 PM on April 19, 2004

TV is just a tool... and like any tool it can be used poorly or wisely. I'd be more likely to support , "If it's crap, just don't watch it" week. I hear people bitch way too often about how horrible the shows are that they watch every day.

Using a tivo is the first step in smart TV watching. After I bought mine I lost the habit of surfing around wasting hours watching crap. Now my TV works for me.
posted by uftheory at 6:43 PM on April 19, 2004

I've heard from many people with Tivos saying that the machines not only simplified their lives, they did watch alot less of the box. I surf channels some nights and realize that all I've been doing for more than an hour is switching channels.

I know what I like, I try to watch what I like.

Turning off the TV isn't the problem, the problem is people who turn on the tv and turn off their brains.

Also, a good friend with a young son says the Tivo is awesome because he can keep a dozen or two kids shows on tap for when he wants or needs them. Brilliant!
posted by fenriq at 6:53 PM on April 19, 2004

This is Matt's 911th link here. Oooh! Scary!

Is he trying to say something about propaganda and manipulation? I think he is.
posted by jon_kill at 7:04 PM on April 19, 2004

i watched a xvid encoded copy of alias i downloaded off of bittorrent - but only because i missed it last night in a meeting. does that mean i've already unwittingly broken the promise i make to myself every year?

*shrug* i break it every year anyhow.
posted by boogah at 7:05 PM on April 19, 2004

I think the better analogy with television would be the microwave, and "Microwave Turnoff Week" is in Mid-August.

Personally, when I entered a cable/satellite-less household, I put my TiVo in storage. But a few weeks ago, while putting something else into storage, I dropped the TiVo onto my foot, breaking my big toe... and I'm not looking forward to plugging the box back in again.
posted by wendell at 7:08 PM on April 19, 2004

Dude. I'ts all about the ads.

"You are an inferior human being! But with new Rectal Product, you'll be smiling all the way to the proctologist!"

I can't take more than ten seconds of that shit, even as background noise. I can't stand the idea of that crap seeping unnoticed into my subconscious.

I'm not a total snob. I have TV now, for the first time in years (with free cable, no less), but most of my viewing revolves around C-Span, for the reason cited above. And there's really only so much C-Span one can watch. Generally about an hour a week, tops, for me. But I still think that those of you who take your marketing doses and enjoy it are insane. But, hey, if you could groupthink millions of germans into killing millions of Jews, the same methods should work fine to get you to think that without your household marketing device, you're somehow 'missing the world.' So, yeah, not a total snob. Just think you're crazy to put up wit' dat' crap.

If someone said "I never read books", would they draw the same kind of applause from the "Free Tibet" crowd?

No, but if you only read one, it's cool.
posted by kaibutsu at 7:13 PM on April 19, 2004

Amber and Jacquilynne, I do actually get what you're talking about. I didn't grow up in a loud house, or indeed in a house with any kind of "background noise"--my parents believed that people should do one thing at a time.

This was annoying to me as a kid when I wanted to keep reading through lunch, for example, but in later life I recognize the wisdom of this approach. For me, of course--I understand that the "background noise" works well for many other people.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:14 PM on April 19, 2004

Don't you mute the ads? I always mute the ads.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:15 PM on April 19, 2004

Isn't the Internet as mindless and time-wasting as TV? Maybe not all of it, but at least as high a percentage as for TV.
posted by smackfu at 7:19 PM on April 19, 2004

I wish I had a TiVo for MeFi so I could skip past all these rerun threads.
posted by Stan Chin at 7:34 PM on April 19, 2004

hey stan what the hell happened to your website...?

posted by t r a c y at 7:40 PM on April 19, 2004

hey stan what the hell happened to your website...?
his Nielsens were terrible, so he got cancelled. (and don't even ask about his Q rating)
posted by amberglow at 7:44 PM on April 19, 2004

2 hours of television/computer = 1 lb of CO2.

[Assuming 150W appliances, $0.12kW-hr electricity rates, and EIOLCA GWP for the Electric Services (Utilities) commodity sector at 0.012 metric tons/$]
posted by eddydamascene at 7:45 PM on April 19, 2004

The best thing about not having a TV is the freedom of not feeling you are missing somthing important.
posted by stbalbach at 7:59 PM on April 19, 2004

Go Canucks Go! What the other NHL fans said. They want tv turn off week, they need to schedule it for another time....oh, game's back on...gotta go watch tv.
posted by Salmonberry at 8:11 PM on April 19, 2004

We have this same conversation every year, but the options we have for TV viewing keep expanding- many have got their TiVo mojo going, & I find I read recaps on Television Without Pity now sometimes instead of tuning in. I also download a lot of TV now, since storage has become more affordable.

Tune Out Week (or whatever) is what you make it; it's just an exercise in mindfulness. Maybe Jaquylline & amberglow could give radio another try. Maybe people with families could at least pay attention to each other's usage. I love TV, but I think that spending too much time zoning out to commercials (or just having them as background noise) is damaging to the soul. I'll use the week to curb my exposure to them.
... as well as to Reality TV. That shit is bad for my brain.
posted by obloquy at 8:18 PM on April 19, 2004

Bump that. Aqua Teen Hunger Force goes to strip tonight!
posted by Laugh_track at 8:47 PM on April 19, 2004

I don't mean to brag, but I haven't really watched any TV for the last couple years. Moving out of my apartment with free cable helped along a process that had been beginning for a long time--I just don't like to have my schedule dictated to me when it comes to entertainment. As it was I was taping most things (and by "most things" I mean "movies on AMC") and shelving them to watch later. Ironically most of the shows I was watching were bootlegged MPEGs from Kazaa and the like, even for normal network shows. It was just so much more convenient. Now that we only have bad broadcast reception there's *not* nothing left for me to watch, just nothing I ever want to watch at the very time the urge strikes me. I'm something of a casual fan of CSI and 24, but I've only ever watched the shows on DVD on my terms, not theirs. Likewise M*A*S*H, Homicide, Mr. Show, the Sopranos and early Law and order.

I don't mean to say that TV shows are bad; I just don't want to watch them on TV anymore. A week without even TV on DVD (or movies on DVD) is still a breeze 'cause I've got a lot of books backlogged too.

All that I regret is not being able to converse with everybody at the office about the newest reality TV series. Boo hoo. They know to come to me for real conversation, or, failing that, bemused pity for them for having nothing better to talk about than what Donald Trump said the night before.
posted by codger at 9:19 PM on April 19, 2004

I haven't watched much tv since I was about 16 years old. I blame this on my parents, and on society. I used to eat an excessive number of carrots - until the Beta Carotene turned my skin orange : so I lost that habit.

And so I also lost tv.

On bad days I have been known to watch it. Otherwise I merely turn my head and wince.

Good Night.
posted by troutfishing at 9:37 PM on April 19, 2004

I used to come home from school, turn on the TV, and watch whatever was on until I fell asleep. Every damn day. At some point, I moved somewhere with crappy reception and no cable, and it just sort of fell out of my life. I can't say that I miss it - although I feel like I've lost some resistance to advertising, because any time I'm somewhere with an ad playing, I just cannot tear my eyes away.

So, I haven't watched TV on my TV in several years. That being said, I spend a whole hell of a lot of time parked on the couch watching DVDs and playing video games. Whatever shows I do want to watch, I download via BitTorrent or whatnot, and watch them here, on the other screen that I spend my life in front of. I think I'm pretty down with the school of "it's not television that's crap, just 99% of the stuff they show on it". I'm plenty happy watching the few programs that I know will be great, and I'm plenty happy not drooling at the rest of the junk the rest of the time. There's plenty of other junk for me to waste my time on.
posted by majcher at 10:00 PM on April 19, 2004

Mitch Hedberg has this great joke where he says something to the effect that "people say I don't know how hard it is to quit smoking. I think I do. I've tried to start flossing."

I figured out a while back that I am addicted to not watching television -- it would be as hard for me to start as it would for me to start flossing. Probably even harder than it would be for me to stop using the net.
posted by weston at 10:39 PM on April 19, 2004

I talk about this every time TV comes up, but, living in boradband-saturated Korea as I do, with BBC World as my only English-language station (and my Korean skills leaving something to be desired) I only watch TV that I download, these days with Bittorrent.

As an example, the Chris Rock special on HBO a couple of days ago was on my harddrive within a few hours of it being aired. I only follow a few programs (Trailer Park Biys, Sopranos, Simpsons etc), but I find it extremely convenient.

Similarly, if we move overseas again, my wife will be able to watch Korean programming, which is streamed live by all major Korean broadcasters.

The future will probably look something like this for everyone, I reckon, what with in the integration of RSS and Bittorrent clients and so on already happening....
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:06 PM on April 19, 2004

tv has got some good stuff.

plus, how else am i supposed to keep my dirty thumb on the pulse of america?

do you want me to read maxim or something?

fuck that.
posted by fishfucker at 11:37 PM on April 19, 2004

screw you guys, history channel is not bad for you. Also, does this also go for television shows downloaded?
posted by Keyser Soze at 11:55 PM on April 19, 2004

Having been exposed to US TV for about a week, I've been put off entirely. I can see why the TiVo is so popular as otherwise the blizzard of ads pretty much kills off the fun.
posted by i_cola at 12:06 AM on April 20, 2004

My complete Babylon 5 DVD set just arrived, so I think you can guess what I'll be watching this week. And the next... and the next...
posted by kindall at 12:27 AM on April 20, 2004

Yeah, when's the "Sanctimonious Condescension Turn-Off Week?" I could use a break from all the snobbery.
posted by Down10 at 12:30 AM on April 20, 2004

Well, seeing as I don't generally get home from work until between midnight and two a.m., television options are somewhat limited.

The wife does tape Mythbusters and Monster House for me, though...
posted by Samizdata at 12:51 AM on April 20, 2004

Every week is Turn-Off Week for me!!!!

Six months ago my girlfriend and I got rid of our TV and have not looked back.

While previously I would complain about not having anytime to do the things I want while managing to squeeze in 3 hours of TV, now I have plenty of time and television seems like a waste...... I sometimes have to go out to see sports and do go to the cinema a lot but feel really liberated..........so there!

Don't hate me like that area man mentioned in the onion who always bugs people with he TV-Free status (could not find the article)
posted by kenaman at 1:14 AM on April 20, 2004

Whats the point of owning a TV since Buffy ended and Wonderfalls got cancelled? Oh sure there's good educational stuff, but personally, I'd rather read it. And lets face it, there isnt a single televised news program that's worth exposing your eyeball to.

Well, then again there is my PS2... Sigh. I still pay 40 bucks a month for cable and I'm sure I havent turned it on in 2 months.
posted by elendil71 at 8:52 AM on April 20, 2004

But...AMERICAN IDOL is on tonight!!!!
posted by jasper411 at 9:29 AM on April 20, 2004

I have a TV, but I watch about 15 minutes a day (the first half of the evening news).

It's primarily because once TV shows started being widely released on DVD, there was no longer any reason for me to watch broadcast or cable. The thing I miss least about TV is cliffhangers that last a week--nothing beats scarfing down an entire season of Alias or 24 in six days, commercial-free (though the gaping plotholes that are hidden between episodes become more apparent when you watch them in rapid succession).

Plus TV seasons on DVD hold their value on eBay, so I get hours and hours of quality entertainment for next to nothing. So, yeah, most of TV programming stinks, but I looooove my television (and the PS2 and Gamecube that are attached to it).
posted by Prospero at 9:33 AM on April 20, 2004

My wife and I left our TV off over lent, and it was great. We didn't have the option of vegging out in the evening, which made us figure out ways to enjoy time together. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn't... but it taught us a lot. Pretty cool.
posted by psychotic_venom at 9:36 AM on April 20, 2004

I only use my television for movie watching. Until I can get channels a la carte I probably will continue to not watch TV. All I want is Cartoon Network, the Weather Channel and Food Network. I don't have anything against TV, it just doesn't appeal to me. I've got enough stuff going on in my life that I don't even miss it.
posted by sciurus at 9:46 AM on April 20, 2004

I used to watch TV all the time, but now I can't afford cable, and I get bad antenna reception, so I pretty much just said 'screw it' to the whole thing. I still watch hours and hours of television in the form of Netflix DVDs, and occasionally I go over to my friend's house and watch The Daily Show, but by and large I'd say I've weened myself from network and broadcast shows.

But, the experience of watching regular television at other people's houses after almost a year of not seeing it at all is sort of like what I imagine it feels like to not eat meat for a while, then have a steak -- it tastes good, but you notice a lot of gross things about it that you didn't before, and it makes you feel kind of dirty afterwards.

That said, if I could afford it, I'd snatch up cable in a minute, and probably go back to watch 2-3 hours of TV a night.

It is a little unsettling, though, how people in this thread are saying, "what's the big deal, TV is just an appliance," while at the same time getting very defensive about being urged to take a break. Like smack addicts, you are!

posted by Hildago at 10:05 AM on April 20, 2004

Mark down another vote for the hockey playoffs. Plus another "Go Sens" tally.

Succa: we need to look into starting a "Sens fans in Toronto" support group.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 10:23 AM on April 20, 2004

I'm another one who doesn't watch TV on the TV. Watching Angel on the other PC as I type. Its the way forward.
posted by Orange Goblin at 10:40 AM on April 20, 2004

It's almost embarrassing but, um, well, we haven't had t.v. for, oh, let's see, 19 years come June 1. But don't worry, I don't miss much. I can count on you all to post anything important that's been on t.v. here, I'm sure. ;)
posted by Lynsey at 10:50 AM on April 20, 2004

his Nielsens were terrible, so he got cancelled
bwah! nice de-derailing.

if I could afford it, I'd snatch up cable in a minute, and probably go back to watch 2-3 hours of TV a night

good grief, here's hoping you can never afford cable again. or at least find better uses for the money. you've made me see the point of tv turn off week, heh.

tv's great, but only if you know how to use it. apparently many of us ("snobs" included) are without this skill.
posted by t r a c y at 10:52 AM on April 20, 2004

I find it kinda funny that several TV-watchers think that those of us who don't watch much TV are being condescending or snobbish. Like Weston, I used to watch hours of TV a week; pretty much any time I wasn't specifically doing something else the TV was on. But two things happened very close together: I got a computer and online access, and I moved to a house without cable. Consequently, my TV watching dwindled, and my time online went up.

The small amount of time I have spent watching commercial TV in the last few years, though, I realize exactly how little I miss it anymore. It's not that the shows all suck, although quite a few of them do (Reality TV, I'm looking at you). It's really all the ads, and every time I watch it seems that there's more and more of them - and even more time is spent by the network or channel hyping other shows over and over until one feels that one has already seen that particular show and doesn't need to tune in for it. (From what I've read, there really are more ad minutes per hour now than what there used to be, by a fairly big margin.) I like watching some sports, mainly football, and the occasional network entertainment offering, but I, like an earlier commenter, don't like having to plan my schedule around the tube, and I'm not going to buy a Tivo for the one or two shows a week I'd actually record.

A thought occurred to me a while back: Since I don't watch much commercial TV or listen to commercial radio (just lots of NPR), not only do I avoid thousands of marketing messages a week, during the campaign season I also avoid having to sit through all the political ads, which I have always detested (I remember a few from the 1988 and 1992 presidential races that pushed my blood pressure close to stroke levels).

All that said, though, I should disclose that I went out and bought a widescreen HDTV a couple of months ago. Still don't watch any network stuff, but DVDs are very pretty on it.
posted by deadcowdan at 11:08 AM on April 20, 2004

good grief, here's hoping you can never afford cable again. or at least find better uses for the money. you've made me see the point of tv turn off week, heh.

To continued poverty! Here, here!

Actually I can't get all high and mighty -- I have the choice in a given month of paying for cable internet, or cable television, and I always choose internet because it is a much more potent drug.

2-3 hours of tv a night, by the way, means having the television on in the background, by the way, not focused attention. Like most well-adjusted people, I would only watch Simpsons reruns, The Daily Show, and Adult Swim on a regular basis.
posted by Hildago at 11:08 AM on April 20, 2004

I guess I sorta drifted off my original point. I'm not snobbish toward those of you who chose to watch TV (at least I don't think I am). I do wonder about those I know and hear about that use TV as video wallpaper - my thinking says that if you're not watching or listening to it, turn it off. Holding a conversation with someone who is not watching their TV yet refuses to turn it off is really annoying to me; it's like having a person in the room who no one is paying attention to but refuses to quit talking.

I also think that parents would do well by their children if they made TV not be the default for entertainment in the home. I don't think there's anything wrong with TV watching by children, but having it always there and on is probably not a good way to encourage more healthy activities.

To borrow a common saying, who on their deathbed has ever said, "I wish I had spent more time watching TV?"
posted by deadcowdan at 11:17 AM on April 20, 2004

deadcowdan - i would classify the snobs as those who think they're somehow superior or "doing the right thing" because they don't watch tv. i wouldn't consider you a snob just because you don't watch much of it; i don't watch much of it either. some people clearly watch it too often and without much discernment.

I always choose internet because it is a much more potent drug

it most certainly is. there's more likely a greater need amongst mefites to hold an internet disconnect week than a tv turn off week.
posted by t r a c y at 12:01 PM on April 20, 2004

I think the point of TV turn off week is to make us mindful of how much we watch - because as a society, we do watch too much and it's not doing us any favours. To cite one extreme case, I had a roommate who watched TV all evening every evening, and all weekend. She watched crap shows, like those produced by Aaron Spelling, but never the news or anything remotely informative. She never read anything, except perhaps one romance novel a year. She constantly complained about being bored with her life, and she was one of those most limited people I've ever met. She was 22 and 5'2", weighed 200 pounds, and suffered from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, etc. Watching less TV wouldn't be a magic solution to her problems, but it would be a start.

Campaigns like this one that come from the government and from concerned agencies may seem condescending to you personally, but they really are not. Sure, you may not need to be told to get more exercise, to eat more veggies, or to read to your children, but there are plenty of people out there who don't do those things and who need to be encouraged to do so. I often hear this kind of defensive reaction to what is really a sensible initiative, and it always puzzles me. If you don't need the advice, shrug it off.
posted by orange swan at 12:04 PM on April 20, 2004

Scarabic, is there really nothing you want to see on television?

I will watch some stuff. But putting aside the general low-quality of most programming, you've got the ads to worry about. And even when something good is on ad-free, it's never on-demand. Except pay-per view, of course, which is limited and expensive. That's one thing I hate about television. You have to work your schedule around it. I like Masterpiece Theater on PBS, for example, but I'm not about to start saying "No, sorry, I can't get together with you Sunday evening. I have a date with my television."

I guess you might say that TiVo is my answer. But I refer you again to the crap programmming. People loooooove TiVo, but do they love it because of the crap it cuts out, or the priceless gems of television programming it delivers? My personal theory is that they love it for the crap it cuts out, and the scheduling slavery it allows you to avoid. This still leaves the incentive to buy one dubious, for me.

For myself, I just can't be bothered. There's not enough I want to watch on TV to make it worthwile. When cable or otherwise premium TV is available to me, I give in to its hypnotic effect, losing hours per day to crap I didn't really need to see. I'm sure TiVo would only make this worse, allowing me to watch more Star Trek than ever before. This, above all other reasons, is the impetus for the turnoff week. Just to break the damn habit.

The rash of reality TV crap is so utterly embarassing and bad, in particular, that frankly it's a toss up between a commercial for "extreme makeover" and goatse in terms of which is worse to see flashed across the screen for a few seconds. You say TiVo can deliver a cringe-free television world to me? Cool. I'll take your word for it.

But personally I'll take the internet, NPR, PC games, Netflix, books, and 30-minutes-a-day of sitting in bed giggling with my gf before sleep. That's my news/entertainment life and I'm more than happy with it.
posted by scarabic at 12:19 PM on April 20, 2004

I have a question, dear Mefites.

When I was single and living alone, I too had the TV on all the time, like jacquilynne and amberglow. It's become a bad habit for me personally, and now it drives the spouse crazy. I'm doing fairly well at weaning myself off of it, with one exception: I can't seem to get to sleep without the noise. Fortunately the small TV in our room has a timer, so I can set it to turn off 1/2 hour after I fall asleep, but if it's quiet I toss and turn. Can't use the radio, I find myself following the music. Those nightsound machines? I haven't found one that I can program to turn off.

Any other suggestions?
posted by vignettist at 1:30 PM on April 20, 2004

Well, I'll be watching a little less TV now that the Canucks are done :( Go Sens!

Otherwise, what orange swan said. Everything in moderation, and if you don't need the advice, ignore it.
posted by sharpener at 1:42 PM on April 20, 2004

Meh. What Sidhedevil said.

And I hardly ever watch TV. I make it for a living. Like sausages, your appetite goes away if you're too well-acquainted with the manufacturing process. ;-)

Actually, I stare at TV screens all day and don't really feel the need to stare at a TV screen when I get home. (So I stare at my computer's screen instead. Go figure.)

If I could justify the cost of cable + a TiVo, it'd be great. But I don't really feel the need, and don't really feel like I miss much, aside from the Daily Show. Besides, as th3phi7 said, MeFi takes all my time.
posted by Vidiot at 2:14 PM on April 20, 2004

I have the super-cheap cable (so I can get cable internet), and i watch maybe 4 hours of television a week--sometimes more, sometimes less. I tape my programs about 40% of the time, and when the 4 shows I watch are in reruns, I don't replace that time with other programming. I have the ability to completely tune out the ads to the point where my girlfriend will be over and we'll be watching Survivor together, and she'll say, "Wasn't that a cute ad?" about 10 seconds after the ad ended and almost always, I have no idea what ad was just on, even if I was actually watching it.

Go Red Wings!
posted by eilatan at 3:54 PM on April 20, 2004

I like Masterpiece Theater on PBS, for example

Heh. You mean ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theater, right?
posted by JanetLand at 4:53 PM on April 20, 2004

Any other suggestions?

Audio books?

Or maybe drugs. Drugs are nice.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 5:10 PM on April 20, 2004

vignettist- you could try books on tape- if you find a boring enough one, you can keep using it indefinitely, as you'll probably keep falling asleep on the first chapter! Or choose a book that you enjoy, but have already read. Or listen to the archives of This American Life online. Or make a bedtime tape of some family home movies.

eilatan- I can have the same (non-)reaction to TV ads too, but although I try to kid myself that they're not getting through to my conscious mind, I know they're really still seeping in there. They should be periodically purged.

Train your TiVo, download some Trailer Park Boys, turn on the radio or learn to use the mute button. Play an album or program your VCR. Even if nobody leaves the set off all week, one can still take a lesson from the concept- for those of you too cool for school or a TV, call it "No streaming internet porn week" or "Turn off appliances when not in use week"- For me it's "Don't let commercials in the house week".

I'd say something about makeover reality TV, but just thinking about them goes against my personal no-TV-week plan. ~shudder~

I'm too cheap to pay for both hundreds of crappy channels and wicked bandwidth, so it's rabbit ears for me. Now please excuse me while I go read some "West Wing" recaps with no commercial interruptions.
posted by obloquy at 5:12 PM on April 20, 2004

Succa: we need to look into starting a "Sens fans in Toronto" support group.

Especially after tonight...

*sips from the good bottle*
posted by Succa at 10:41 PM on April 20, 2004

*grabs the bottle in sympathy*

Ok, so no Canucks, no Sens. The two teams I supported. I guess it's go Flames!

Sure, I could just say "screw it, I won't watch tv since my teams are gone". But that would be un-Canadian of me. Unpatriotic!

The people who created "Turn off tv week" have never heard of hockey.
posted by Salmonberry at 11:34 PM on April 20, 2004

there's more likely a greater need amongst mefites to hold an internet disconnect week than a tv turn off week.
Wash your mouth out!
posted by dg at 12:15 AM on April 21, 2004

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