Thursday, May 22, 2008

What I Didn't Watch

I was one of the five Americans who didn't watch the American Idol finale last night. I've never seen one episode of the show. I don't have any good reason to not watch it; I just don't. Sitting in a restaurant last night surrounded by people glued to the television above the bar while I focused obliviously on some really good pizza made me think about all the television I haven't watched. I didn't have a TV for most of the 1980s, so there's a good lot of it.

I've never seen a single episode of St. Elsewhere or Hill Street Blues, for example. Never watched Cheers, Family Ties, any of that stuff. Name a show that was popular in the 80s and I haven't seen it. While I'm admitting things I may as well confess that I also didn't watch Seinfeld; I thought it was horribly misogynistic and participated in a one-woman boycott. I've never seen even one episode of Murder, She Wrote. I recall nearly my entire college gathering to watch The Thorn Birds together in various commons rooms (yes, I'm so old that no one brought their own TVs to college) but I must have read a book instead.

I never saw any of the nighttime soaps - no Dallas, no Dynasty, no Falcon Crest. In the 1990s, once I had a TV, I did partake of their spawn: I'm talking about you, Melrose Place. Still, I managed to miss an entire generation of television. I don't regret it, but it's odd. My cultural memory jumps from early SNL straight to Party of Five with pretty much noting in between.

What did I do without a TV? I read, wrote a dissertation, worked, listened to music. I met friends for drinks or for dinner. I sat enjoying really good pizza marveling as everyone around me guffawed at The Cosby Show. I lived. I left the restaurant last night just before Idol's winner was announced. I have no idea who won, but here I am, still alive.


tunsie said...

I stopped watching shows that would continue on a weekly basis because murphy's law prevented me from seeing the final tv is 60 minutes or there anything else on? Iwould rathar be on a patio with a glass of wine and the hookah,after some mazza[sliced vegetables].tunsie.tunsie.tunsie

TW said...

I'm another person who didn't watch American Idol last night, though I'll hear them chattering about it at lunch time today. I'll be bored then, too. I've also endured chatter about "Survivor", and other dumbed down so-called reality shows. I have my very own reality, thank you, and my "Idol" sure isn't someone I'd find on a commercial variety show. I'm with and/or a book sounds much more exciting. Or gardening, for that matter. Or sleeping.