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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