Today a friend posted on FB that they hadn’t watched TV for 39 (I think that was the number) weeks. If I were to guess I’d say that was around the start of our first lockdown. My friend posted this fact with a certain amount of pride and it got me thinking. Well more accurately, it got me thinking again, because they’d posted before about ignoring the “box in the corner”.
I think they’re missing out. This year despite all the restrictions I think I’ve watched a little less TV than in the past. Last year I know I watched various property and home improvement shows in the afternoons, often while I was ironing. Now I don’t know whether I’ve done less ironing this year but I haven’t watched afternoon TV. It seemed too weird watching people buying houses in Spain or France when everyone was confined to home. I did wonder about the people who had bought houses, how were they coping with lockdown in a foreign country, and what would happen to them after Brexit? It was never discussed on the show. And of course they haven’t been able to record new episodes this year.
Watching TV in the evenings though is a different matter. It’s become something to look forward to. As lockdown progressed we settled into a routine. Morning walk, lunch, chores, writing this blog (specially if I was on one of my post a day challenges), planning our evening meal, and then afterwards watching something together. Monday night always kicked off with quizzes, “Only Connect” and “University Challenge” but they had limited runs, and were vulnerable to Covid, there were finite episodes. We had to wait until summer time easing of restrictions to see new ones, complete with plexiglass screens between team members.
So for entertainment we had to look elsewhere, and that’s where Walter came in. “Walter Presents” from Channel Four, a streaming service full of subtitled foreign language shows. There were 1970s Sicily mafiosi, Swedish crime capers, serious Scandi crime shows, and “classics” like “Borgen” which we’d missed out on first time around. And not only European shows, over the summer we were hooked on “Sakho and Mangane”, a Senegalese police show. Not everything was good, we gave up on “Seaside Hotel” pretty much after the titles and weren’t too impressed with one Icelandic show. But in a year without travel it was great to be transported elsewhere, and to hear languages other than English.
There were lots of good homegrown shows too, “Life” had us hooked, particularly an amazing performance by Victoria Hamilton, “A Suitable Boy” was beautiful but could have been at least twice as long, and then there was “I May Destroy You”, powerful and thought provoking. On the factual side I loved and learned from David Olusoga’s “A House Through Time”, and then there was the pure sweet entertainment of “Bake Off”. And the comedies, “Schitt’s Creek” (we’re on Season 6 with only a few episodes left) and the sheer, surreal daftness of “Taskmaster” – we came to this late as well, it’s in its tenth season.
Watching TV has been entertaining, and instructive. I know it’s mostly fiction, but so is what I read, and I learn a lot from that. I think there’s quite a bit of snobbery about TV, it’s one of the few “art” forms that people are proud to say they ignore. Even sometimes the people who make it. While I can understand an actor not wanting to see their own performances I’d be suspicious of one who made TV shows but claimed never to watch them. The best TV is written and performed by people who value it. Not all of it is good, but isn’t that the same for cinema, books, music? The best can take you to different worlds, real or imagined.
So I feel sorry for my friend, I think they’re missing out on lots of things. To be honest I think they probably started by trying to avoid the news. I can understand that, some days I can only face the crossword and lifestyle sections of my paper. But what about the rest? Don’t they like drama and stories?
I started thinking about this post because I wanted to reply to my friend. Not here, few people who know me read this blog. In my head i constructed a reply to the FB post. But like all the times I’ve not commented on the questionable and often discredited scientists or conspiracy theories they’ve posted, I held my tongue. My virtual tongue. I know they won’t listen to me, they don’t listen to more eloquent and longstanding friends. So I’ve put it here. Perhaps I’m hoping it can act like a butterfly across the internet? Words rippling like wings?
No pictures today, just rambling random thoughts. The image above is just one I like, unrelated to this post. Normal service should be resumed soon.
The day is drawing in, it’s nearly time for DogS’s supper. Then preparations for ours. After we’ve eaten we’ll probably settle down with the next episode of “Spiral” – “Engrenages” in its original French, which MrS tries hard to follow.* Will Gilou survive? Will Ali stay? What next for Laure? We’re gripped by the story like its protagonists in their web.
Enjoy your evening,
*He’s fluent in French but not the highly colloquial (and sweary) form used in Spiral.