You’ve met them. The people that like to boast that they don’t watch TV. “I don’t really have time for TV, I am too busy with biking / golfing / landscaping / reading / work / tweeting / splitting the atom / anything other than lowering myself to watch the boob tube busy.” And when you meet these people, what stands out is the mighty tone in their voice when they tell you they don’t watch. Like TV is the most lowly, time-wasting, bottom-feeding, passive-minded activity a human being could do.
Now many of these same people also like to throw out movies as a higher life form. How watching a movie for two hours is time better spent than watching two hours of TV. How a movie is like getting your Master’s degree while TV is the equivalent to completing the Pre-Tech course at NAIT.
So here’s the thing. I love TV. And I’m not afraid to admit it.
In the last number of years, TV has become consistently smarter, more insightful, more influential and just plain better than the movies. Thanks to networks like HBO and AMC, and writers like Aaron Sorkin and Armando Iannucci, television repeatedly pushes the envelope, thoughtfully entertains, transports us to another time, and just plain makes us think.
After watching Veep, Breaking Bad and The Newsroom, I realized TV gets a bum rap. The brilliant comedic writing and acting in Veep makes for a smart, clever half hour of laughs that makes you want to remember every single line. Shows like Breaking Bad are like a front seat at a compelling dramatic accident that you can’t turn away from. The fast-paced, real life-based story telling of The Newsroom opens the door on television journalism and makes an important (but still entertaining) statement every episode. In fact, in the pilot, when Jeff Daniels’ character launches into an impromptu speech about how America is not the greatest country in the world, you are sucked in for the entire season. If you can watch this scene and still say television is a joke, you’re lost to me.
And there are more TV shows where those came from.
I’m not saying it’s all good. There is a lot of bad television out there. I cannot defend American Idol, The Bachelor, or The Real Housewives of Anywhere. But your movie-elite would also admit their breed has runts in the litter too.
When asked the question about the last good movie I saw, I really had to think. I haven’t been compelled to go to the movies in a long time, remaining quite content to wait for them to be available on demand or by download. The Hollywood machine has turned out so few truly memorable, entertaining and thought changing films in the last number of years. Sometimes they hit the mark, with films like The King’s Speech, Margin Call and The Hunger Games, but most of the time I’m reminded why I didn’t pay money to see it in the theatre. And Hollywood wonders why people aren’t going to the movies anymore.
Going forward, whenever someone tells me they don’t watch much TV, or god forbid don’t own a TV (these freaks exist), I am going to tell them they’re missing out. And as they judge me for being in love with TV, I will judge them right back for not.