Life By Kristen

Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. – Little Women

Archive for the tag “tv”

Why Do I Watch So Much Immoral Stuff on TV?

Last night ( well Sunday night but since I don’t have cable we wait a day til it’s available for download) we watched the series finale of Breaking Bad. I don’t remember ever being this into a show since perhaps Friends.  I like the show for its intense characters and amazing acting, but as I was watching the episode and thinking of all the dubious ways the series could end, I realized I watch a lot of TV shows with slightly questionable morals.

I like Mad Men, The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. All of these shows have men doing bad things, drugs, violence, and lots of swearing. All very different from my life as a bookworm/curator/writer/white middle class suburbanite. Thinking about all the things I watch on TV– what does that say about me?

I think some of it is escapism and/or almost like a glimpse into the ‘other’ life ( whatever lifestyle or time period it may be). I think some of it is because some of the rawest, most dramatic moments in life can be seen through actors in dramas where there are huge moral questions and decisions to be made. And perhaps some of it too is just that, in the case of Breaking Bad, it’s just so crazy to think that things like this could happen ( because honestly, with only a few exceptions, not everything that happened in the five seasons on that show are totally out of the realm of possibility of actually happening in real life).

Of course, I also like TV shows that don’t regularly feature murders and gore ( which by the way, I always cover my eyes for those scenes, asking my man to tell me when it’s done). I love Parenthood, Downton Abbey; I have just started watching Parks and Rec ( side note: how did we watch TV without Netflix and online streaming!?), and rewatch The West Wing and Frasier episodes on nights when I just want to feel better about things. When I think about the common theme in all of these shows, the writing, acting, and story lines stand out, but also the ‘feel good’ element is pretty high ( though I know a lot of people cry their way through most Parenthood episodes).

Now that Breaking Bad is over, we started watching Homeland, just finishing season one on Sunday. I think we’ll probably wait to start season two since we’ve been doing a lot of binge watching lately, but at this point I feel like we’re almost OD’d on suspense and drama and part of watching Homeland was to see what all the hype was about ( I’m still on the fence on whether I like it or not). I need a bit more happy, laughter in the weekend and nights after work, so send any recs my way!


In the hopes of reinspiring my creativity in all aspects of life, and to decide the future of this blog, I’m going to try my hardest to blog everyday in October. I know a lot of bloggers do this in November, but that month is one of the busiest of the year for me in my real life job so I know I wouldn’t be able to commit to that goal, so October it is!

Cutting the Cable Cord

Back in 2011, I cut cable for a purely monetary reason. I was handling a huge mortgage on my measly nonprofit salary as my divorce was going through and a lot of things were deemed ‘luxury’ and had to go. But the decision to cut the cable cord was definitely one of the best I’ve ever made.

It started as a necessity to makes ends meet, but it ended up being a decision that has changed my habits immensely. Prior to quitting cable, I more often than not spent my nights after work in front of the TV aimlessly watching whatever was on or even worse, some horrible reality show of D-list celebrities letting cameras into their lives. I rarely watched PBS and neglected reading, watching documentaries or independent movies in favor of watching The Wedding Planner or whatever random cable movie was on  for the 30th time.

Post- cable, I found much better and enjoyable alternatives for my viewing entertainment. I used an over the air antenna for local channels and upped my Netflix account to include instant viewing and 2 DVDs at a time. I started reading more and find myself now often spending an entire night without even having put the television on at all for anything. This past fall, I added basic cable again to get a few more channels than what my antenna could offer to me. My house is at the bottom of a  hill so sometimes with wind or storms the antenna didn’t work, which was most frustrating at times and being super into Downton Abbey, I wanted to insure PBS coverage on Sunday nights during the winter. The basic cable package only was $20 a month, but I found that because my habits had changed, I still wasn’t watching any of the channels still. After I was given a wonderful iPad as a Christmas present from my aunt, I spend much more time watching things in bed or on the sun porch, further eliminating the need for the cable. I kept a diary in April to see how often I was using the television for anything other than DVDs or Netflix— in the whole month ( minus the time I was in Holland), I turned it on to watch an actual TV show only twice. The decision was easy to get rid of the cable again.

And now, I’ll ever look back. A few weeks ago I babysat my friends’ son while they were at a wedding– in the eleven hours I was at their house, I watched a Red Sox game and then the Mad Men marathon on AMC. Didn’t change the channel once or even do a whole lot of channel surfing to see what their satellite TV could offer me. My entertainment preferences have shifted hugely- I am catching up on PBS and BBC miniseries ( if you haven’t seen Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, you’re missing out- I can’t believe I didn’t see it until now!), watching a lot of documentaries, and finally tackling the huge movie list I have. I’ve re installed the antenna on the television to get local news, but in the two weeks it’s been up, I haven’t even done that.

Before, I used the television as a crutch to avoid thinking and feeling. Sure, there are still days when I’m exhausted and come home to watch a few episodes of The West Wing instead of reading a book or writing, but it’s something I’m choosing to watch because I enjoy it and it is interesting to me, instead of just putting something random on to pass the time to bed. It’s entertainment, not escape.

If you’re thinking about cutting cable, it’s not as difficult as you think it will be! Try not using it even for a weekend and I think you’ll see what a difference it makes in your every day, plus on your bottom line!

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