№27 My New Year’s Resolution: Watch More TV

Photo by Sven Scheuermeier on Unsplash

In 2019, I resolve to watch more TV. The problem is I prefer to work. I’m preoccupied with getting my stories published and producing a podcast, which is why I hardly ever cozy up in front of the TV and veg out.

The TV was always on in my house growing up. My brother was addicted. And because the TV was on, I watched from the day I was born until the day Tony went to college in 1984. I was 16. In those 16 years, I logged 23,296 hours, which is a conservative estimate based on the 1970s national average.

I consumed some really good shows: The Brady Bunch, M.A.S.H., Charlie’s Angels, The Jeffersons, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley. And when my parents went out and we were left with a babysitter, we’d stay up to watch The Love Boat and Fantasy Island.

When my brother went to college, my pop-cultural education ended and now it’s so embarrassing to talk about life between 1984 and today because if it happened on TV, I missed it. Whenever anyone mentions 90210 or The Sopranos, I feel like a total dodo.

I know watching too much TV gets a negative rap, but my brother, who didn’t turn the TV off in 1984, just moved it to his dorm room, and hasn’t stopped watching since, turned out to be a pretty well adjusted and successful guy. Last year, he was voted the number one realtor in North America. I’m not sure who voted, but it wasn’t just my mom and me.

I’m not jealous of his success; I’m jealous of how good he is at figuring out story plot. He always knows who did it — even before the first commercial. (I was just informed that people don’t watch TV with commercials anymore or they fast forward through commercials.)

Once, on a family vacation, we watched the first season of Homeland. Two shows in, Tony knew who the mole was and who was bipolar.

My brother learned story. And that was an important education that would have served me better than the Ivy League education I got because I write stories and I want to be good at it. As it is, I’m 50, and I don’t want to die before producing something worth a shit.

So, while there is a significant gap in my TV knowledge, and while it may be impossible to make up for lost time, next year going forward, I resolve to tune in.

This is №27 of my #weeklyessaychallenge I started when I turned 50. The challenge was inspired by a quote by the author of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, who said, “Write every week. It’s impossible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.” #Jointhechallenge!