Friday, January 21, 2011

Domestic Television Wars

By John Gilstrap
I’m embarrassed to admit that we are a ten-television family. It’s even more embarrassing that we are a household of two—just my wife and I, effective tomorrow when my baby boy moves into his own apartment. (Technically, since he’s still in the house today, we are an eleven-television family.)

The MOAT (Mother Of All Televisions) is in our movie room. It’s a 106-inch hi-def front projection wonder with a sound system that could do structural damage to the house if I cranked it up loudly enough. It’s the ultimate man-cave that all too often is pressed into service for the screening of chick flicks. Hey, a deal’s a deal. When I consider what I no longer pay to go to a theater, I figure the movie room might just pay for itself one day.

While there’s a certain utility to the MOAT, the pure luxury of a television is the little flat screen we have mounted in the master bathroom. Make fun if you’d like, but it’s nice to do the morning chores with the morning news in the background.

Ours is a three-bedroom house, and we enjoy entertaining guests, so it only makes sense that each bedroom would have its own television. Then there’s one in my office and the one in my wife’s office. It’s nice to watch TV while cooking and cleaning, so there’s a tiny TV in the kitchen, as well.

When we built the house, our son was still in high school, so we wanted to have a place for him and his friends to hang out, so there’s a television in the downstairs family room. When all is said and done, though, the upstairs family room television gets the most use for routine weeknight viewings of network shows.

See how quickly it adds up? You’d think that that Mars/Venus tug of war on program selection would be a snap. Lord knows we have a lot of options. So, when I want to watch Military Channel and Joy wants to watch HGTV, there should be no controversy. She should watch her programs on one TV and I should watch mine on another.

That logic ignores the complication that after 26 years of marriage, we still like each other and prefer to be together instead of being in different parts of the house. Given our day jobs and my night job of writing books, we spend enough time apart, thank you very much. It’s nice to snuggle up on the couch to watch TV together.

Unless . . .

Well, there’s the rub. The unlesses, I mean. At the deepest levels of my soul, I give not a flying fig what Kate is doing with her Eight, and I’d rather put a fork in my eye than watch another episode of any hospital drama ever to be produced between now and the end of the millennium. Ditto Joy’s feelings toward R. Lee Ermy (one of my top five picks of people I’d like to have dinner with), the latest design of weaponry or colorized footage of World War Two battles.

The good news is that the dark days of choices are behind us now that it’s January and some of our shared favorites have returned. Here are our shared favorites, in no particular order:
American Idol
The Middle
Modern Family
The Big Bang Theory
Two and a Half Men (though this one is kind of on probation; it might have outlived its storyline)
Blue Bloods
Pawn Stars
American Pickers (I’m less an enthusiast than she)
Castle (also on probation, though getting better)
So You Think You Can Dance (okay, technically this is not on yet, but it’s essentially a continuum with American Idol)
I’m sure there are more, but those are the biggies.

How about you, Killzoners? What programs do you and your significant other share as favorites to be watched together?


  1. We love Psych and Monk and BBC crime dramas.

  2. Er... Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs and ABC World News. Castle occasionally.

    And just a note about Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs. My wife and I agree (as do many people) that those guys have got the BESTEST job in the whole frakkin' world.

    As for Dirty Jobs, I think it says a lot to my wife's state of mind about her own job (she's a medical technologist) that she can watch Dirty Jobs and say, "I could do that job. I think I'd like doing that job."

  3. Kay and I have become addicted to Big Bang Theory, but Two and a Half Men has moved from probation to hanging by a thread. We love The Closer, and were big fans of Monk until the series ended. (Somehow, that seems to happen to all the ones we like).
    Of course, I only watch TV to get plot ideas...Yeah, right.

  4. And to think that I'm struggling with the decision of whether to buy a portable television because the fact is that that I hardly have time to watch the one I've got.

  5. My wife, Tara, and I mostly watch TV on DVD -- and are currently working rabidly through Columbo, beginning with Season One and forging ahead through the 1970s. We did the same with The Wire, Veronica Mars, True Blood....

  6. the most wonderful thing i've done for myself is to turn off the t.v. in the i can't comment on all the shows mentioned. why have i done that? well, thanks to so many books that have been written. i used to read while i watched the tube....then thought that was now i just turn on music and b4 i know it....4 hours have passed. and wonderful hours, they are....thx to all authors who have made my evenings so much more SO trump t.v.

  7. Carol and I love watching American Idol, The Good Wife, Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory, The Mentalist, and CSI. I get to watch Fringe on my own.

  8. Personally, I am a food channel junkie. I like the competion style shows mainly. I also really enjoy movies.. My husband is really into home theater so he gave me 12 days of blu ray leading up to Christmas this enjoy of course, in the new home theater he just bought for himself earlier in the year.
    Even though you have many televisions in your home, (all worthy of their locations) I can top it. Not in quanity but to tell you- my husband, who is obsessed with home theater, is blind. :)
    Bet you will never meet another blind guy who is so up on technology and in love with such things as High def and such!!
    Loved the post!!
    Aj Luck :)

  9. BBC: Blood In The Wire, Tutors, Kingdom, Dr. Marten, Kitchen Nightmares,

    US TV: Top Chef, Hell's Kitchen, Big Bang, White Collar, CSI anywhere (wearing thin), Boardwalk Empire, The First 48, Blue Bloods, Lights Out, Hardcore Pawn (this one is truly watching train wrecks),Southland (Favorite cop show), NCIS, Lie To Me, Walking Dead, Dexter, Closer, and so many more...

  10. TV? ...Oh! that thing my kids watch cartoons on, yeah.

    My wife's TV tastes tend to be Korean dramas and comedies via the web. If the kids aren't on the big screen she'll watch there and I'll join her, with my laptop in tow just in case. For snuggling time its that Cake wars show on Food Network or NatGeo or Mythbusters. Movies: Sandra Bullock type romantic comedies (I know, you can't picture me watching, or maybe you can) or one of those epic Chinese ancient war movies. I can't do any regular series or sitcom stuff, just can't stay with it since after The Cosby Show went off. The only exception to that is my favorite which recently she started enjoying too, is The IT Crowd.

    Both of us being IT nerds it struck a chord and has us laughing like mad.

  11. Haven't seen either of these mentioned, but they're faves in our house: Men of a Certain Age and Parenthood.

    And the Simpsons. Always and forever.

  12. I've recently become hooked on Justified, and am cruising through Season 1. Burn Notice is also a favorite, along with Dexter, The Closer, and Medium.
    For reality shows, I'm still a sucker for So You Think You Can Dance (although Idol never grabbed me- I've never been particularly interested in watching people sing). Also Project Runway and Top Chef. I draw the line at anything involving housewives, however.

  13. Aj, God bless your husband! I love it that a blind man enjoys hi-def television. This reminds me of the blind woman I saw in Nationals Park attending a baseball game. I didn't understand the attraction--still don't, actually--but I thought it was great that she was there. She was sitting near me, though, and I kept worrying about my responsibilies in the event of a foul ball. Fortunately, that was never an issue. Unfortunately, the Washington Nationals suck at hitting balls in any direction, but let's not open that wound . . .

    Jim, I like Monk in small doses, but have never bonded with Phych. By the way, how do you do italics in the response window?

    Mark, I completely forgot about Mythbusters--one of my faves, but not so much for my wife. It's one she'll endure. As for Dirty Jobs, I like Mike Rowe more than I like the show.

    I hear a lot of good things about The Good Wife, but I've never seen it. Must be up against something we watch.

    God bless you, kathy d.!

    I'm pretty much burned out on CSI, and Joy gets grossed out by the gore. Miller, you remind me that I really need to spread my wings and get more premium channels. We only get HBO now, and that reminds me of two others on our shared list: Boardwalk Empire and True Blood. (Yes, the gore on CSI grosses her out, but the gore on True Blood does not. Go figure.)

    Deffenbaugh, Joy loves Parenthood; me, not so much. Never saw Men...Age, though it looks like one I'd like. I'm not used to the "re-run" networks having their own original programming.

    Michelle, I forgot about Project Runway, too. Yeah, I like that one, too (he says, striking a very manly pose).

    John Gilstrap

  14. Porn sta...oh, PAWN Stars. You startled me.

    To answer your question: Breaking Bad. Justified. Luther. And occasionally I have been able to coax my bride into watching Sons Of Anarchy.

  15. My husband and I never miss Big Bang Theory. We also love watching the reruns of The Unit, although we know everything that is going to happen in each episode.

  16. Yes! Sons Of Anarchy, True Blood, Californication, Jeopardy, God much great TV so little time.

  17. Ten TV's? WOW! You'd be miserable at my place. My TV of 20 years kicked the bucket near the beginning of last year.

    Someone gave me a TV last fall, which I've yet to be able to figure out how to hook up.

    But it hasn't really made an impact. I gave up watching TV programming about...oh, 1992 I guess, and only ever had cable off and on after that so I could watch Gunsmoke and Bonanza reruns. Well that and I have been known to be a weather channel junkie back in the day. LOL!