Top 10 Reasons To Turn Off Your TV: A Review

Day 2 of my one week with no television.  It’s quiet.  Seems like a good time to talk about this great list I found on About.com

Top 10 Reasons to Turn Off your TV (by Mark Stibich, Ph.D) …. let’s discuss!

1. Television Eats Your Time – duh!
2. Television Makes You Stressed – people are stressed about not getting stuff done so then they watch TV because they are stressed and then even less gets done.  Sometimes, I just feel too tired to actually DO anything else.  A wise friend once said, if you are really that tired, go to bed.  Makes sense.
3. Television Makes You Overweight – apparently people eat between 31 and 74 percent more calories while watching TV.
4. Television Makes You Uninteresting –   I feel more interesting when I think about and write about stuff other than TV but some TV is pretty cool and fun.  (zombies, multiple universes, and vampires for example)  And I sometimes learn some wise things from my imaginary friends (usually the human ones).
5. Television Ruins Your Relationships – or possibly prevents you from having any.  But I do bond with some peeps around TV (hey BFF!) so I could lose friends if I stop watching TV completely.
6. Television is Not Relaxation – apparently the stimuli you are receiving from TV keeps your brain working which does not count as relaxing.  And by relaxing, they mean meditation!  Ah ha!
7. Television Loses Opportunities – “Watching TV isolates you. Nothing is going to change in your world if you are watching TV.”  This is my favorite one.  I might post it on my fridge.
8. Television is Addictive – “If the idea of giving up TV for a week is horrifying, you may be addicted to television.”  Hmmmm…..
9. Television Makes You Buy Things – personally, the internet makes me want to buy things.
10. Television Costs Money – which is why we love Hulu!!!  Spoken like a true addict.  Not that I would get rid of my cable or my TiVo in a million years.  This is just one week people!

There really are some good points in this article.  Thanks Mark, for giving me the strength to get through Day 2 and carry on to Day 3.

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Pulling the Plug

What I did not mention yesterday (in my post about getting out and doing scary stuff) was that while I was writing that post, I was supposed to be headed to the airport for a business trip to Istanbul.  Here is why that did not happen.

I woke up yesterday with what felt like, the beginning of a cold.  I had been feeling run down for days and has a very busy week. I am a wimp about being sick, I am a wimp about travel, and there was almost no business reason for me to take this trip.  (It was a boondoggle with a full day of sightseeing planned and only two scheduled meetings. And did I mention it is a 10 hour flight and you have to wear suits to the office there)  I made the mistake of Googling “flying with a cold” and found lots of evidence that supported my desire not make the trip.

I was well aware that my anxiety about going to a new country could have been feeding my symptoms, but the thought of my ear drums exploding on the plane, developing a sinus infection in an emerging country, and potentially spending 5 days holed up at the Istanbul Marriott trying to order chicken soup and orange juice from room service, consumed my brain.  I also thought about all of the things I could do with the two full travel days and jet lag adjustment time I would get back!  (I am the master of excuses) I decided to cancel the trip and stay grounded in NYC.  Then I wrote the hypocritical Fraidy Cat blog post and hoped that I would get really sick to validate my decision.

Imagine my disappointment when I woke up this morning with only mildly annoying sinus symptoms and not a full blown cold.  Of course, things might have been worse if I had hauled myself to the airport and gotten on the plane instead of blogging, and catching up on In Treatment (which was awesome by the way!)  But overall, I felt like I screwed up and failed my first Fraidy Cat test.  I should have just rallied and gone to Istanbul to see the Blue Mosque.

I had a very productive day today, but I am still feeling like I have to turn this lemon in to lemonade.  I had an idea a couple of weeks ago that if I could refrain from watching TV for a WHOLE WEEK, I could get a lot accomplished.  The sheer boredom could drive me to break right out of my shell and do stuff I would not normally do  (or drive me to drink.)

I think the only way to recover from this wimpy decision is to take on the one week television ban THIS WEEK.   This is a particularly bad week since I have nothing on my social calendar (because I was supposed to be in Turkey) and there are some big TV finales this week (The Walking Dead, In Treatment, Boardwalk Empire) but the punishment fits the crime.  I am feeling slightly panicked at the thought of it, but as soon as I hit “Publish,” it is set in stone and I am committed to it.  Sunday – Saturday.  No TV OR MOVIES.  Reading, thinking, exercising,  listening to music or NPR, interacting with other human beings.  (Going out the movies would be OK)

Wish me luck and I will keep you posted!

The Walking Dead and In Treatment

The only thing these two shows have in common is that they have both been added to my TV watching repertoire.  I have actually lost interest in a lot of shows and I fell way behind on vacation.  This is all good news for my TVaholic recovery.  But, now I have two new shows that I like, so lets discuss.

Paul (The Therapist)

In Treatment is an old favorite, now in season three.  I have been in therapy myself forever and I am super interested in how people feel and what they think, so this show is right up my alley.  It is not realistic of course. (My therapist hates it.)  In reality it takes years and years to get to the stuff they get to in 30 minutes but that would be REALLY boring to watch.  I find Paul, the therapist, annoying, but that is realistic. It’s impossible not to find your therapist annoying because all they want to talk about is the stuff you don’t want to deal with.  This season I am hanging out with Paul (even though his is annoying), Sunil (a sad man who had to leave India after his wife died and move in with his son and American/bitch daughter-in-law), Frances (Debra Winger playing an actress who’s dying sister who used to be Paul’s patient), Jesse (a gay adopted promiscuous teenager with a variety of issues), and Paul’s new awesome super smart therapist Adele.  They are quite a messed up bunch and by week two I was fully committed to sticking around to see how they all end up.

So after a couple of hours being inside a bunch of sad people’s brains, I am ready for The Walking Dead.  This show is fun.  It is creepy and suspenseful and requires pretty much no thought.  There are a lot of unanswered questions though. Like how did most of the world turn in to zombies while the lead character (“Officer Friendly”) was in a coma.  And what the heck is a zombie?  They are dead but constantly walking around and desperately want to eat people and animals.  If I were dead, I am pretty sure would want to just chill.   I like my Sci Fi, but I need SOME explanation.  Fringe always has some made up scientific mumbo jumbo that I can buy in to.  No Ordinary Family fell in some magical water in Brazil, good enough for me!  The people on The Event came from outer space, so of course they have special powers.  Just give me some explanation, I will buy it.  Clearly, leaving us hanging is part of the plan and they are keeping us well entertained while we wait.  This week we got to see Officer Friendly and his new little side kick cover themselves in zombie guts to walk among the zombies undetected to find transportation.  Now, how is Officer Friendly smart enough to think of that disgusting plan but NOT be aware that his wife was (and still is) sleeping with his partner?  He is going to need a couple of sessions with Paul when he finds out about those two!

Will Rubicon be Saved?

Will we ever find out if and how Truxton Spangler takes his own life as the four leaf clover bodes?  We are pretty sure Katherine Rhumer won’t be back, unless the supposedly lethal  injection was more like what the airplane passengers got on The Event (FYI – they came back to life.)  It Tanya really going to quit and write another book?  Will Miles have a  nervous breakdown and then live happily ever after with the new chick who speaks Urdu?

I was not surprised at all that Will’s new artsy lover (with the fabulous shower curtain) was really undercover protecting him, but who hired her?  Arliss?  So many unknowns..but what would happen next season?  Will Will (ha ha will will) keep trying to take down Atlas McDowell?  Will he find happiness so he can have more than just that one perplexed expression on his face.

I was not as impressed with the Rubicon finale as I was with the Mad Men finale, but I am definitely up for another season.   I am too tired from fighting with Power Point all day to elaborate more or make a great case for James Badge Dale and his crew but my friend Maureen Ryan at TV Squad (she is not really my friend) wrote this great article called “Six Reasons to Save Rubicon“…read it and support the cause.

I Have to Wait 8 Months for More Mad Men?

Season finale, unreal.  Don Draper never fails to surprise me.  The smartest, seemingly most together woman in his life who he genuinely cares about on Thursday, tells him he might feel better if he deals with his “stuff” so he runs off to Disneyland and gets engaged to a woman on Monday because she doesn’t cry over a spilled milk shake,  his kids love her, and she makes him feel good about himself.  I guess I should not be that surprised.  But I always expect more from Don.

The whole thing seemed like a dream sequence but that is the beauty of Mad Men.  He wanted his life to feel like a fairy tale but WE had to all be able to see that it was ridiculous and it worked.  We kept waiting for someone to wake up and tell us it was a dream.  No one woke up.  Mad Men is genius.  I can’t believe we have to wait 8 more months to see how this mess turns out.

Betty is a time bomb that I can not wait to see really explode.  Kudos to Peggy who rocks creative.  She better get a Clio next season!  I love it when Peggy and Joan are friends.  I hope Joan does not turn out to be a mom like Betty!   These poor tortured people on Madison Avenue in the 60’s.   The piece de resistance….the finale ended with Sonny & Cher.  Awesome.  (I have loved Cher since probably before I was born)

The only show that come close to Mad Men in my opinion is Rubicon which I have fallen in love with it.  I can’t lose two shows in one night so I am holding off until tomorrow for the Rubicon season finale… (how awesome I found an image of Don and  James Badge Dale!)

Quick Round up of Week 2

I am feeling the need to provide a roundup of Week 2 of the Fall TV season because there has been some fall out:

Of the 6 shows I recommended to check out, one has already been canceled, Lone Star.   After watching the second week I liked it less, but I still think it deserved a longer run.   I am sad for Bob and really wanted to see what would happen with him and his two wives and crappy dad, but this is helpful for my quest to watch less TV.

Still love The Event, and as mentioned earlier, I am liking No Ordinary Family.  Those stay on the list.  After week 2 of The Whole Truth, I am dropping it to “have on in the background when paying bills on the weekend” status.  Undercovers, Running Wilde did not even make it to Week 2.  Hawaii Five-O which I did not officially recommend but did check out, is a big hit, but cop shows don’t do it for me unless they include unexplained phenomenon.  Apparently, The Whole Truth and Running Wilde are also in danger of cancellation, not a surprise.  (FYI – I get all of the scoop on ratings from my new favorite site tvbythenumbers.com which I learned about from my favorite TV Squad reviewer who made me love Rubicon.)

There is one other show I decided to check out that I really liked and have added to the list, Raising Hope.  It is really funny.  A young man and his crazy family are raising the baby he conceived in the back of his van and got custody of when the baby momma was sentenced to death.  That does not sound funny, so I assumed it would not be, but I was dead wrong.  These characters are ridiculous and miraculously….endearing. The cast includes Cloris Leachman and that awesome actress Martha Plimpton who shows up everywhere lately including The Good Wife and How to Make it in America.  FYI – Just learned on IMDB (love IMDB) that she is Keith Carradine’s daughter (Carradine = Lundy on Dexter).  Had no idea.  Anyway, I think it is a nice compliment to round out the hour for my other 30 minute fave, Modern Family.  I highly recommend it.

Initial Thoughts: No Ordinary Family

I forgot!  There was one more new show to check out and review.  I will keep it brief.

"Conrad" telling "The Sheild" to "think like something that can fly" (I didn't work)

Cute.  Really cute and funny!  In the first 10 minutes, a whole family (husband, wife, and two teenage kids) gets super powers on their trip to Brazil.  Everyone who is watching knows this but the characters don’t know it  and no one knows what the powers are so the way they reveal themselves is suspenseful and (I think) well written in to the story.   Michael Chiklis (formerly of The Shield and the big rock “Thing” in Fantastic Four) is awesome but his side kick  (Conrad the drug dealer from Weeds) is HILARIOUS.   He built “The Shield” a lair in his garage.  “Every superhero needs a lair, with WiFi.”  Hilarious.  The wife  is not using that  baby voice she had as Rita on Dexter so she is less annoying.  And the dad from Seventh Heaven is on the show.  Always nice to see him, but I think he is evil in this one.  If you are looking for a fun family show, check it out.  Well written with a unique premise.  I think this one is a winner (and I happen to know it premiered really well so this is not just my opinion.)  Not in the genre of shows I usually “can’t wait to watch” but I like it!