Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Yet Another Sternly Worded Letter ... Respectfully Submitted

I like television.

I know this comes as no surprise.

It's not like anyone who has read a few of these little blogs of mine couldn't easily figure it out.

It's not like anyone who has ever talked to me wouldn't have the opportunity to hear me say something.

It's not like anyone who calls me and get's my voicemail for the last couple seasons of Supernatural had any way of avoiding finding it out.

So, it should come as no surprise when a friend of mine posed the following question this weekend, how I might respond:

"What sense triggers memories more than any other?"

While I realize that television itself is not a "sense", it does require the senses of sight and hearing ... or, when I am trying to be quiet or not really wanting the "noise", I might have the closed captioning on and then it is simply the sense of sight that is utilized. Which is fine ... my imagination can fill in the rest - including theme songs and voice inflections. They may not always be correct, but they are entertaining ... atleast to me. *grins*

It was interesting that shortly after reading my friend's question, I was scanning the television and came across the old movie ... The Magnificent Seven. I love this movie! Yul Bryner dressed all in black ... Robert Vaughn ... Steve McQueen ... horses ... gunfights ... and a theme song that is still one that always gets my attention.

However, best of all are the memories the movie triggers ...

*mumblemumble* years ago when I was living at home, my dad and I would stay up late on Saturday nights and watch movies. Westerns were our favorites. John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Clint Eastwood ... these were just some of the greats that we would enjoy. The quality wasn't always the best ... the stories were often predictable - particularly after we'd seen them a couple of times - but it didn't matter. It was the time shared that was awesome. My mom and my brother were the early birds of our family. My dad and I shared a love of staying up late (and sleeping late) and Saturday nights were our nights - even if we did still get up early for church the next morning. Sometimes we might have snacks, other times one of us might fall asleep before the ending credits but it didn't matter. It was a time shared by a father and a daughter and that memory is the best of all.

CBS recently announced that they are cancelling their daytime drama The Guiding Light, effective September of this year. While I haven't really paid much attention to the soap opera in recent years, this news saddened me and triggered many memories of television times spent as a child with my mom.

I grew up with the CBS soaps ... my mother had them on each day as she went about her day. Lunch was spent with Chris and Nancy Hughes and their family on As the World Turns (gagging followed as invariably that nasty Crest commercial would come on where the kid chewed one of those red tablets and showed how they didn't brush very well - ugh!). Rest/nap time on the couch was spent with the Bert Bauer and her sons and their families on The Guiding Light. The folding, cleaning, and other "chores" were completed with Search for Tomorrow, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, and The Edge of Night. As a child I knew these families and the pattern of the shows structured my days. They were a comfort of routine that revolved around being with my mom ... even if I huffed and puffed about having to fold clothes or dust and "stuff".

Other shows across the *mumblemumble* years of my life have made impressions and when I see them or hear the theme song, memories are triggered. Children's shows such as Sesame Street and Mister Rodger's Neighborhood are triple filled with memories ... first of times as a child spent watching with my little brother, then as a nanny watching them with my small charge, and finally years later with my small girlies ... yet through each memory comes the knowledge of letters and numbers learned, of concepts and thought processes being formed, of entertainment being enjoyed. Evening programming watched with family and/or friends ... watching Star Trek (the original) from the gray rocker in our family room on our new color television ... Dallas evoking memories of high school Friday nights at a friends house ... late nights with Hercules and friends teasing me for enjoying the sight of Kevin Sorbo's muscles ... and I won't even begin to tell the memories and entertainment I've gotten with a certain Thursday night show filled with laughter, angst, and enough family drama to run circles around those bed-hopping doctors or I will overload my word limit here.

Yep ... I like television ... I like sharing it with friends and family ... I like the entertainment of a solid, scripted drama or a comedy program that doesn't play to me like I'm the lowest common denominator ... I don't care for reality programs and game shows bore me for neither of the draw me in with my imagination until I am a part of the show - feeling the pain ... enjoying the laughter.

After a day in my reality, surrounded by the happenings in my city, around my nation and throughout the world, the television programs I favor take me away for a bit ... they entertain me ... they provide the moments of escape - even as I fold laundry, pay bills, clean house, or indulge in stamping or scrapbooking. Some nights I don't have a preference and will simply channel surf till something catches my eye ... other nights I know exactly what I want to view. Then there are the nights when I am not home and have to rely upon my trusty VCR to tape the programs I enjoy following, praying that nothing has happened to disrupt the program or change it's broadcast time.

Therefore, you can hopefully understand my dismay in the news yesterday of yet another primetime news conference from our President interrupting broadcast televisions scheduling and my need to speak up ... afterall, isn't that one of the freedoms this country is founded upon? So, here it is ... my sternly worded letter ... respectfully submitted ...

Dear Mr. President ... Sir ...

Please stop messing with my television schedule.

I appreciate you wanting to be forthright in advising Americans (and the rest of the world) where things stand, however do you have to do it during my "off time" ... my time to relax and be entertained and not worry about the state of the nation? After spending my day involved in the city, state, nation, and world around me ... getting news thrust at me from the people I meet, the radio station I listen to, the papers I read, the websites I surf, the news program I watch ... I look forward to those two to three hours during an evening where I have the opportunity to view programs that allow me a measure of pleasure ... a time of distraction. To not only have that time interrupted with news conferences, but to also have programs I enjoy and indulge in be rescheduled to strange times that I need a dedicated calendar to try and navigate in order to either view them or tape them, is frustrating and, to be honest, aggravating.

I don't wish to be rude. You are indeed the President of our country, and, while I did not myself vote for you, I have been taught to respect your position as the leader of our nation. However, I submit the question ... why can't you have these conferences at different times ... like maybe during the actual evening news time? If they must, for some peculiar reason, be broadcast during primetime ENTERTAINMENT television times, why could they not be treated like the Superbowl or award shows and rotated amongst the major broadcasting stations.

Why must all of the stations take away all of the programs during that specific time period? Is it in an effort to make us watch? Cause, I have to tell you ... I don't. Not because I didn't vote for you but simply because I don't want to hear the news during my time of relaxation. And let's face it, sir ... it's not like I don't get a thirty minute recap during my evening news, not to mention a recap of it in the newspaper the next morning, a recap of it on my websites I visit throughout the day, a recap of it on the morning news programs, a recap of it from various individuals I meet throughout my daily journey. No, sir, I hear all about it.

So, it is, Mr. President ... Sir ... that I respectfully submit my request that you please try another avenue for being honest and forthright in telling the world about the state of our U.S. affairs.


May is not only sweeps month, it's also the month of season finales ... ie. it's a big month for those of us who really like our television. It's hard enough letting go of a program ... but having to hunt for that final broadcast time does not lend itself to the relaxing portion of my entertainment package.

Sincerely yours,
Television Viewer for *mumblemumble* years