Thursday, September 07, 2006

TV Land

Husband and I were reminiscing again the other day. This time it was about our television experiences while growing up. We knew we had very different experiences when it came to television, but he was shocked (and dismayed) to find out that our family went without a TV for almost an entire year. Yes, almost an entire year.

Our family had a console television - you know, the kind that had a knob to change the channels, a slider for the volume, and took up enough space to house a small family. Not that it mattered all that much - we only got about four channels. And that was if it was a good weather day. It quit working one day, and Dad was told it would be very expensive to fix it. So, we just did without. That time without a TV was weird...we even covered it with a tablecloth and put the fish tank on top of it. Yeah, we did. I had to go down to my cousins' house to watch Saturday morning cartoons...and because of that had to watch junk like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles instead of Looney Tunes. Then one day, just for a lark, we turned the TV on and it worked. Come to find out, it was just a short somewhere, and if you hit it in just the right spot it would straighten itself out. And we used that TV for probably 10 more years before it finally died.

Our antenna was in the attic, and if we wanted to watch that fourth channel, we'd have to turn it. It took at least three of us to manage it...not because it was difficult to do, but because it took somebody standing where they could see the TV, somebody turning the antenna, and a cut-off man in between to relay messages like "A little more!" and "No, go back!" Needless to say, that fourth channel didn't get watched very much.

We did watch quite a bit of PBS, however. That was really the only channel we consistently got without fuzz, lines, or shadows. I watched all kinds of stuff on that channel...Captain Kangaroo, Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, The Muppet Show, the old guy who taught you to draw, 3-2-1 Contact, and all kinds of other educational stuff. Mom even sent in some cash once during their semi-annual 5-month-long pledge drives and we got a program guide. Her idea was to use that program guide to find out when all the extra educational stuff was going to be on, and have us watch that. I don't think that lasted very long. You can only handle so much of that weirdo Stargazer guy (who was actually on FoxNews a couple of weeks ago) and all the strange stuff on Nova. But we loved the Saturday night movies...which we would watch right after Star Trek: TNG.

For as few channels as we actually had, I probably watched quite a bit of TV. Of course, we loved those great shows like V, Magnum P.I., and The Dukes of Hazzard. Every now and then I was able to slip in some cartoons in the afternoon - Tom and Jerry, to be exact. But a lot of my television education came while I was somewhere else. Meemom and Mimi had cable, so that's where I got to watch reruns of those old shows like The Brady Bunch, Bonanza, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley...well, you get the idea. I still love those old shows. In fact, TVLand is one of my favorite channels. There's always something to watch there when there's nothing on anywhere else.

I guess you could say that I love to watch TV. Not that it runs my life or anything (thanks to the VCR - the old school DVR). This summer has been a challenge, with Big Brother All Stars on three times a week and two new shows starting up. But that should wind down soon, just in time for the fall lineup. I can't wait for LOST to start back, and of course, The Office. And we may have to ditch an old favorite for a new one - we'll see how that works out. Pin It


  1. A fish tank on top of the TV? Now that right there is class, my friend!

    I totally remember V! I'd forgotten about that show until you mentioned it and every time I think of it, I think of the guy eating the mouse or rat or whatever that thing was. That was probably the grossest thing I'd seen on TV up to that point.

  2. I always remember that they had green skin underneath their "outside" skin. The only way to find out if someone was an alien was to scratch away the regular skin to see the green skin. And eating the white mice. Ewwww! But I loved it!

  3. I love TVLand, too!! My sister and I watched all the good oldies.....Green Acres, Lucy, Happy Days, Andy Griffith, Dick Van Dyke....too bad today's shows aren't as kid-friendly.

    Growing up in the sticks, cable tv wasn't available. I totally missed out on MTV and stuff, which was okay---my parents would have banned it anyway!

    BTW, how was Chris' experience different....I can only imagine.