How much television do you watch? The A.C. Nielsen Company recently reported that 95% of Americans get a strong dose of television every day. The average adult watches a bit more than 34 hours per week; the average child between the ages of two and five watches 3 ½ hours per day; and the average adult over 55 watches more than six hours of television every single day!
“But I’m not average,” you might say… That’s probably true. Okay then, forget “how much you watch”—let’s talk about what you watch.
Except for a solid season of being hooked on American Idol (Taylor Hicks’s grandmother lives down the street…), I have not gotten into “reality television.” And I’ve got to tell you, it’s gotten way past the irritation stage with me.
Now understand, I am not talking about “non-fiction” shows like Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch or our favorite, Dirty Jobs (Mike Rowe is awesome). I am referring to the programs where the idea seems to be “let’s just turn on the camera and see what happens…and if something doesn’t happen, poke it with a stick until something does.” At what point did a television executive decide to lock a few people in a house until they got crazy enough to start screaming at each other? And at what point did we as a society determine, “Yeah, that’s worth watching.” (Isn’t this what the Romans did with animals?)
I remember a few years ago when NBC brought us the wonderful show Baby Borrowers. Described as a “groundbreaking experiment,” five real live babies were given to five teenaged couples to “care for”…and we got to see what happened! Of course, anyone who has ever seen a reality show is aware that these 10 teens were chosen and paired up in order to exhibit as much dysfunctional behavior as possible…and all for our viewing pleasure. Wonderful.
But wait. Consider this… Who (please God, tell me who) were the parents allowing their infants to be used in this manner? How many ways can you imagine that this could go wrong for the babies???
Okay. Take a breath.
BIG CHANGE OF DIRECTION HERE…
Most evenings, in our house, we CHOOSE what we watch. We also CHOOSE the time we watch it. No scrambling through dinner…no stealing glances at the clock while someone is talking. When we realized that enough seasons of programs we loved were on DVD to last us a lifetime, our CHOICES went way up. And to our boys, it’s all “first run” programming!
You will have your own ideas about what to watch, of course, but Polly and I are fond of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Odd Couple, both Bob Newhart series, Get Smart (the boys and I love it; Polly thinks it’s silly), and the greatest show in the history of television: The Andy Griffith Show. Assuming you would like a place to begin, may I offer our top 10 episodes…with a favorite line from each!
1) “Citizen’s Arrest” (Fourth season)
2) “The Pickle Story” (Second season)
3) “Haunted House” (Fourth season)
4) “Man in a Hurry” (Third season)
5) “Barney and the Choir” (Second season)
6) “The Lucky Letter” (Fifth season)
7) “Goober and the Art of Love” (Fifth season)
8) “Opie’s Hobo Friend” (Second season)
9) “Man in the Middle” (Fifth season)
10) “Dogs, Dogs, Dogs” (Third season)
So…most evenings we do watch some television. But we control the content, the commercials, the time, and the conversation. That having been said, I am aware that there are people who will roll their eyes and say that my family does not live in the real world.
And that’s exactly how we like it.
– Andy Andrews
As an added bonus, I’ll send an autographed copy of Return to Sawyerton Springs to the first person who (in your comment) correctly matches the quotes below to the 10 Andy Griffith episodes listed above!
- What’s wrong with saying ‘third party’? It not dirty…
- All God’s children got a uvula!
- Who looks foolish now, Sheriff?
- Go to Thelma Lou’s… Watch a little TV… Have a little cashew fudge…
- Running around…looking out for number one…getting struck by lightning… Boy, giraffes are selfish!
- Tomorrow. It’s the best time to do anything. Tomorrow. Tuscarora!
- Learn to love ‘em.
- Any old tramps down there?
- Your hair’s dripping.
- Opie? If you were Barney, where would you be right now?
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