Get Organized for Better Quality Rest/Recreation: Have a TV Viewing Policy

Get Organized for Better Quality Recreation: Have a TV Viewing Policy I’m a huge TV fan – HUGE. As an introvert, screenwriting aficionado and general geek I can happily while away entire decades chuckling with Chandler and Joey, navigating world crises with Jed, whacking upstarts with Tony, staking vamps with Willow and Xander, and making huge mistakes with Gob.

I never turn off these shows thinking I’ve wasted my time. They make me laugh, think, see the world differently and/or enjoy the thrill of fine scriptsmanship (well, I find it thrilling).

The secret to avoiding that empty feeling that follows most TV is to make a show ‘qualify’ for your attention. In a world where the options run from the sublime to Jerry Springer, you need to protect yourself from crap TV that slowly and painfully sucks your soul out through your eyeballs.

Have a TV Viewing Policy

Here’s my TV viewing policy. I only watch if it ticks at least one, and usually several, of these boxes:

  • Makes me laugh (Arrested Development; Friends; 30 Rock; Boston Legal)
  • Makes me think (The West Wing; Boston Legal)
  • Shows me a different perspective on the world (The L Word; The West Wing)
  • Has fun, original, or intriguing characters (Buffy, Dexter, Boston Legal)
  • Is beautifully written (The Sopranos, The West Wing, Boston Legal)

Choose the criteria that matter to you – perhaps relaxation, education, great recipes, relatable situations or escapism. But do have a policy if you want to spare yourself viewer’s remorse.

Once you have a policy, you’ll no longer throw yourself at the mercy of network programing (a form of self-torture). You’ll probably check the TV guide in advance and invest in DVDs.

But when you do watch, it will be quality recreation that leaves you feeling relaxed and satisfied – not lobotomized. Oh – gotta go. They’re here!

What’s your TV viewing policy?

Image by Aaron Escobar

 

Michele Connolly

Michele Connolly is into writing, books, simplicity, love, TV, productivity, and staying thin in a world of chocolate.

11 thoughts on “Get Organized for Better Quality Rest/Recreation: Have a TV Viewing Policy

  1. Laura says:

    Michele, I recently created my own tv viewing policy; little did I know that other people out there, like you, have been thinking the same thing. Thanks for your suggested criteria and other ideas. I’d like to share some of the other criteria that made it to my own list of standards.

    Not only do I have inclusion criteria (similar to what you suggested), but I have exclusion criteria. I realized that some of the crime-based dramas, reality shows, and sitcoms were actually fostering negative views about myself or others. Indeed I watched thought-provoking, well-made programs. But, negative impacts on my emotions, values, and beliefs slowly and subtly developed. For example, romance-based reality shows lowered my self-esteem as a I judged myself against an impossible standard of physicality. Another example: sitcoms and dramas that depict highly dysfunctional families were making me think it’s okay to be in my own dysfunctional relationships; that is, they normalized acting jealous, petty, selfishly, as well as speaking sarcastically and not taking personal responsibility for things.

    As an intelligent person, it’s not the case that I saw these shows and thought, “oh okay, it’s fine if I act like these people.” Far from it! I laughed at them, saw them as ridiculous, and so forth. But, the influence was slowly evolving within me. As I am now on a path of redesigning my life, — and your website is full of great information to help with that — it’s become clear to me that much of the television I previously watched wasn’t really good for me for the aforementioned reasons.

    Now, I try to restrict my tv watching to programs that: are smart, thought-provoking, funny, educational, or inspirational AND that do NOT model dysfunction in any kind of realistic way, depict horrific crimes that will lower my faith in humanity (and turn my dreams into nightmares), or hold up unrealistic standards of beauty as goals we ought to all be striving for.

    One note I’d like to add: there is something to be said for over-the-top ridiculous character depiction. You mentioned enjoying “Arrested Development.” This program would qualify here. While it clearly demonstrates mass dysfunction within a family, it is so unrealistically ridiculous, that it does not normalize it for me in any way. In fact, it has the opposite effect: it reminds me how important it is to NOT be anything like these characters.

    I hope this idea of exclusion criteria will be useful to other readers of your website.

  2. Laura says:

    Michele, I recently created my own tv viewing policy; little did I know that other people out there, like you, have been thinking the same thing. Thanks for your suggested criteria and other ideas. I’d like to share some of the other criteria that made it to my own list of standards.

    Not only do I have inclusion criteria (similar to what you suggested), but I have exclusion criteria. I realized that some of the crime-based dramas, reality shows, and sitcoms were actually fostering negative views about myself or others. Indeed I watched thought-provoking, well-made programs. But, negative impacts on my emotions, values, and beliefs slowly and subtly developed. For example, romance-based reality shows lowered my self-esteem as a I judged myself against an impossible standard of physicality. Another example: sitcoms and dramas that depict highly dysfunctional families were making me think it’s okay to be in my own dysfunctional relationships; that is, they normalized acting jealous, petty, selfishly, as well as speaking sarcastically and not taking personal responsibility for things.

    As an intelligent person, it’s not the case that I saw these shows and thought, “oh okay, it’s fine if I act like these people.” Far from it! I laughed at them, saw them as ridiculous, and so forth. But, the influence was slowly evolving within me. As I am now on a path of redesigning my life, — and your website is full of great information to help with that — it’s become clear to me that much of the television I previously watched wasn’t really good for me for the aforementioned reasons.

    Now, I try to restrict my tv watching to programs that: are smart, thought-provoking, funny, educational, or inspirational AND that do NOT model dysfunction in any kind of realistic way, depict horrific crimes that will lower my faith in humanity (and turn my dreams into nightmares), or hold up unrealistic standards of beauty as goals we ought to all be striving for.

    One note I’d like to add: there is something to be said for over-the-top ridiculous character depiction. You mentioned enjoying “Arrested Development.” This program would qualify here. While it clearly demonstrates mass dysfunction within a family, it is so unrealistically ridiculous, that it does not normalize it for me in any way. In fact, it has the opposite effect: it reminds me how important it is to NOT be anything like these characters.

    I hope this idea of exclusion criteria will be useful to other readers of your website.

  3. Terry Wood says:

    Thanks Michele!
    I would add this if you have children watch TV, Video or DVD with them and then ask them what the show meant to them.

  4. Terry Wood says:

    Thanks Michele!
    I would add this if you have children watch TV, Video or DVD with them and then ask them what the show meant to them.

  5. hon says:

    yes,I have a tv viewing policy,just like you said,but I will watch the show all day,from one season to the current season.And I follow too many tv show ,sometimes I can’t stop,just keep watching,and after that I reliaze I wasted too much time. what your advice for this situation?Thank you.

  6. hon says:

    yes,I have a tv viewing policy,just like you said,but I will watch the show all day,from one season to the current season.And I follow too many tv show ,sometimes I can’t stop,just keep watching,and after that I reliaze I wasted too much time. what your advice for this situation?Thank you.

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