More TV Or Not More TV: That is the Question

By Ernie Witham   |   June 20, 2019

We don’t watch much TV, so we have a bare-bones cable package. We get the basic networks, some Spanish-speaking soap operas that involve a lot of yelling and scantily-clad women, and about 16 shopping channels all with excited people that probably “just barely” failed their screen tests for action shows, but who now dramatically sell everything from outdoor throw pillows…

“Here, catch, not-as-good-looking-as-me QTV co-star. Now is that the softest thing to ever hit you in the face and smear your cheap makeup or what? Wait, do not throw the wicker porch chair on special today for only three simple payments of $250! Ouch!..”

…To the senior lifestyle Sit-N-Go electric scooter with built-in “ahooga” horn. “Yes seniors, it’s faster than a speeding attendant. More powerful than a Fleet enema. Plus, it folds and unfolds for easy storage in 15 seconds or less with a wireless key fob. Oops. Excuse me, lowly assistant whom I shouldn’t have to share the bright lights of HotDealsToday with, I seem to have gotten my coattail stuck. No don’t touch the throttle. Ahhhhh.”

Every now and then we think about avoiding ad-TV by upgrading to the 500-channel standard package that most people have. “Whew, that’s everything that’s on at 8:30, according to the guide.”

“Swell, only now it’s 9:00, so you have to start over.”

So far, though, we just watch Netflix latest releases. “Here’s another British murder mystery.”

“Father Brown?” 

“Nope Friar Twist. Must be a spin-off.” 

But, we do travel a lot and often experience televisions with different options. “Good news! I figured out how to turn on our Kamakura exchange partners TV.”

“Anything good on?”

“Well, I found an old western, but it’s been dubbed into Japanese.”

“What about subtitles?”

“We have our choice of Chinese or Bulgarian.”

Once, in a German home-exchange, the owners told us how to access English-speaking DVDs, but we could only get one of them to work. After the fifth time watching The Great Escape, I opened Netflix on my laptop.

“Wow, here is a documentary on the history of hot dogs. Look, here is a list of their secret ingredients…”

“Yikes! Quick, put The Great Escape back on.”

Recently, though, in a hotel room in San Diego, I stumbled upon a channel called TLC, which apparently used to stand for The Learning Channel, which had a low viewership, because, well, it was called The Learning Channel. So, like KFC they changed their moniker and their format to include shows that better express day-to-day-living in America, like: Hoarding: Buried Alive.

According to their listing: “Hoarding can destroy the lives of the person afflicted and their loved ones. This series shines a light on the serious condition, with each one-hour episode profiling two extreme hoarders struggling to fight the need to collect things and return to a more normal life.”

“That’s mine!”

“I saw it first.”

“Wait, where’s my wife?”

“Unnddeerrr heerrree.”

 The show features professional therapists and organizers and is sponsored by Thrift Stores of America, Inc.

Another TLC deluxe offering: Extreme Cheapskates profiles people who stop at nothing to spend nothing. “From making reusable toilet paper and reusing dental floss to diving in garbage bins for gifts, these penny pinchers devise outrageous ways to cuts costs by any means necessary. There is a woman who washes her clothes while she showers; a guy who flushes his toilet just once a week; and a guy who makes his own toothpaste.”

“Hey Tom, this toothpaste tastes kind of like gin.”

“I know, great huh? The neighbors’ juniper tree fell down. We have a 10-year supply. Try my used olive oil mouthwash. Together they give you martini breath.”

Finally, the TLC píece de resistance: Extreme Couponing, which they describe thusly: “There’s saving a few dollars here and there by clipping coupons… and then there’s the super couponers. They are driven to finding the best deals and show the amazing ways in which they collect coupons, including one woman who sifts through dumpsters for them.” 

“Can I get a hand here? Anyone?”

Now the L.A. Times has gotten into the act and is offering a webinar by a couponing expert, so you too can be one of those people that holds up the lines at Target and Vons.

Hm. Maybe I’ll just read more books.


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