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How to Watch More TV

Posted by NumberSix , 15 November 2011 · 456 views

[NOTE: 95% repost. From time to time inspiration hits me in the middle of someone else's thread and something like this happens. Rather than let it disappear into the back-pages aether, I decided to archive it here for my own use, as a future reminder in case I ever stop having time for TV again.]

The original question was put to those of us who have found ways and means to follow multiple TV series this season, even though last May's upfronts looked like a dead zone at first sight. To wit:

How do you people find time to watch this much TV?!

Handy tips to maximize your TV viewing time:

1. Find shows that can be shared with other family members. That way we can watch together and I can chalk it up to "quality time". With only two exceptions, either my wife or my son are each following all the shows I'm following. It's nice to have things in common.

2. Don't have babies or small children. I stopped having one of those ages ago. That freed up some time.

3. Pace yourself. We average about a show a night, except our Thursday three-show comedy block. On busy nights that threaten a logjam, we'll procrastinate one show to another night via On Demand. Weekends are used for catchup.

4. Try not to think about your looming, unwatched pile of DVDs. That would just cause guilt, which is distracting.

5. Set boundaries, either by being picky or allowing obstacles. Part of this goes back to #1, but not all of it. I was a fan of Buffy the show, but I didn't watch Buffy just for Ms. Gellar's sake, so I don't watch Ringer. I'm a little curious about some of ABC's much-ballyhooed comedies, but most of them are on Wednesdays, which is not a TV night for me, so I haven't gone out of my way to try them, even on On Demand. I've seen occasional random scenes from House and Castle that I liked (and probably some other shows named after things people live in), but just never felt compelled to nail them down on the weekly calendar. I can't and don't watch everything. Whether those self-triage criteria are internal or external makes little difference to me.

6. Curtail other hobbies, by which I mean Internets. I've cut back on Facebook participation (short version: other people's preoccupations with partisan politics, plus a preponderance of Photoshop parodies, pushed themselves in my face so much that they became ponderous pet peeves); backed out of comics message boards that were wasting my time and hurting my brain cells anyway; reduced my "refresh" reflex; gotten bored with news of most kinds in general; and kept hitting a wall on the one big writing project (now resolved and completed).

7. Multi-task. As shows get weaker, but not weak enough to cull just yet, I half-watch just in case interesting things happen. For example, my viewings of Hawaii Five-O have a set pattern: I watch the first ten minutes for the lush HD scenery, the murder of the week, and the theme song; read something during the initial technobabble phase of the investigation; lift my head up for the mandatory cute-car-chat between McGarrett and Danny; go back to reading while they have an action scene chasing a red herring (unless this is one of the two scenes for the Special Guest Star, such as past examples Robert Englund and Zack Ward); look up again for the poorly lit interrogation; read for ten minutes; look up just in time to miss Masi Oka's only scene; read for ten more minutes; look up for the underwhelming final arrest (seriously, the payoff never makes up for the wait, not even in the James Marsters episodes) and the tear-jerking denouement; and flip a coin as to whether or not to pay close attention to the final scene, which may or may not be part 750 in the McGarrett's Dad's Cold Case Subplot That Never Ends. So I have a system, and it works. Also considered spare time: whenever the teenagers on Terra Nova have dialogue; often while Robert California is away from The Office; and whenever the Evil Queen-Mayor is lecturing her "son" Henry at length that if he misbehaves just fifteen more times he's gonna get it.

8. No reality shows. Ugh. That key word again: no.

9. Sleep less. Not really recommended by most doctors, or my wife, who will be pretty upset with me someday if staying up late every night gives me Alzheimer's or something.

10. Tell yourself it's fodder for Nightly conversation. Y'know how we complain when other members are too quiet? Why not give 'em something to talk about by bringing something to talk about? TV works well for that, what with it being mostly immediate and accessible to the majority here. The alternative is for all of us to agree to listen to Top-40 radio together and compare notes on Ke$ha.

Hope that helps!

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