Monday, August 30, 2010

Whats wrong with me?

Hey kids, can I watch?

Ever get that feeling that no matter what, you don't seem to be on the "Hip" side of things? It could be TV shows, movies, video games, the latest virally circulating YouTube Video. I start watching reality TV, get hooked, then everyone starts to bad-mouth it. Last night the Grammy Awards were on. Music, not movies and TV, but the same quandary applies.

I can't tell if I am supposed to care.
Do you?

I mean I watch a lot of the winners; Modern Family, Justified, Walking Dead, True Blood, Glee, Mad Men, House, Grey's Anatomy. But how much TV am I supposed to watch? If I'm getting my grove on with "So you think you can dance?" how do I know what I am missing on 30 Rock (the question is rhetorical, I am aware they air in different time slots on different days).

My kids are no help whatsoever.

They fill their TV time with the Disney Channel & Nickeldeon, which I have determined if you are over 30 and watch "The Sweet Life of Zack & Cody" or "iCarly" for more than four minutes, you begin to do that thing that all older generations do... roll your eyes, sigh heavily (and repeatedly) eventually turning into bellowing statements like "oh c'mon!" and "Give me a break!"

I hate being that guy. So I will fight it until the bitter end.

The kids also look to me for what's new and cool on TV. None of them; the almost 14-year-old, the 12-year-old nor the two 10 year-olds can navigate the overwhelming volume of content on the 120+ TV stations. They get suckered in to watching kid's stations by fast talking toy commercials, candy ads and lame depictions of adolescents and pre-teens dancing through ultra-clean school hallways showing off the latest fashions. On the flip, my daughter (now 15) LOVES watching Grey's Anatomy with me and we track several Reality TV shows together. The boys all seem to waffle, back & fourth over what to watch and when, usually ending up on Comedy Central, Nick or Disney.

So when the time comes for Awards, Emmys, Grammys, Academy Awards, etc. I'm lost. Should I watch those shows? Should I care? My track record of watching TV shows that survive their first season isn't impressive. Most are dying in mid-season! Conversely, HBO wins awards for EVERYTHING they do, so that's a no-brainer. Watching HUNG (w/Thomas Jane, aka "The Punisher") is ok, but the character and the point are both shallow and contain stuff I just don't want my kids watching (if you aren't aware, it's about a divorced Dad whose house burns partially down and is convinced to use his Manhood as a way of making.. ahem... ends meet). True Blood is great but full body sex scenes and Vamps occasionally bursting into showers of blood and goop aren't it either.

Darn few network series have what they/I need. I grew up on B&W reruns of I Love Lucy, Dick Van Dyke, and Mary Tyler Moore. I watched The Jeffersons and All in the Family, Alice and One Day at a time. Please, Hollywood, no more canned laughter. Shows like Modern Family and the Office allow the writing, awkwardness and story-telling provide the laughter.

I guess I just can't watch it all, and then the self-ingratiating award shows as well. Sorry Emmys. I will continue to strive for staying current, though. And yes it is important to me. And no, it's not shallow. Especially being a Dad who is a connected participant in 21st century parenting. As far as I am concerned, a huge part of the world-view my kids develop, comes from TV. If you are under 60 and reading this, it was the case for you, too. While TV does NOT take the place of real-life experiences, it is relevant. The way I see it, we are all in the journey together. While I am on board for this journey, I can help mold my kid's understanding and shape the perceptions they develop.

If I didn't do that, then there would probably be something really wrong with me.

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