Tuesday, September 20, 2011

On a Crowded Couch

Okay, I admit. I am a television junkie. I made the mistake of assuming the same of my teenage students but years back, the masses told me that no, they have better things to do with their time, namely to communicate with others on social media sites or to play games on their computers. I do hear of more and more teens, however, who are watching TV shows but most are finding series on Hulu or Netflix. According to one research study, "One in six families now owns five televisions, and two thirds have three sets or more", yet it's suggested that individual family members are watching TV in separate rooms of a single house (Parentdish.com). Gone are the days apparently when families all gather together in front of a TV set at a designated time to watch shows together each weekday night, or so I am led to believe. Thinking of how enjoyable I find TV time with my family, I sure hope I am wrong about that.

With the invention of the DVR, I do see my children opting to tape their favorite shows to watch at a later date when they can fast-forward through the annoying commercials and view a 60 minute show in less than 40 minutes. I do this too at times, but to me there is nothing more relaxing at the end of the day than to plop on the couch with my fleece blanket and to enjoy the camaraderie of my family while we see what has happened to Leonard and Sheldon, or as we laugh over the hilarious predicaments Gloria or Phil have gotten themselves into. In fact when it came time to name our new puppy, the characters from one of our family’s favorite television shows (NCIS) came to mind: Jethro Gibbs, Tony, Abby, Ducky, McGee, and Ziva. (Our furry baby Ziva will get to meet Ziva the NCIS agent tonight... if she keeps her eyes open on the TV while she snuggles up against me).

The level of enjoyment watching TV is raised when others are laughing or gasping together. I do admit that I am sometimes hushed when I am caught talking back to the TV or when I tell characters what to do, but overall, I think my family would agree with me that our TV time is family bonding time. Some of us have our own shows that we cannot watch without another. Eric and Paul have "Chuck" for example. We all watch "Survivor" and "Amazing Race". Emma and I try to catch "How I Met Your Mother" together so we can laugh and express our love for Barney, and we all watch the aforementioned NCIS. Before the end of the series LOST, I'd also go to school each week where several of us watching the show would take time to share our reactions to the latest episode. Are we all wasting our time in front of what I grew up hearing others call "The Boob Tube"?! Maybe, but I doubt it. It's not as important the activity we're doing together, rather it's the time we're taking to be with one another.

So this week, being Fall premiere week, I am returning home each evening happy to have a few hours with my favorite people watching favorite characters. No matter how hectic my days are from 7am-7pm, they end with comedy or a touching drama on TV and with relaxing comfort of family and pets on a crowded couch.

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