TV or Not TV … That is the Question!

Jul 23, 2008 | Family

How much television do you watch? The A.C. Nielsen Company recently reported that 95% of Americans get a strong dose of television every day. The average adult watches a bit more than 34 hours per week; the average child between the ages of two and five watches 3.5 hours per day; and the average adult over fifty-five watches more than 6 hours of television every single day!

But I’m not average, you might say… That’s probably true. Okay then, forget “how much you watch”—let’s talk about what you watch.

Except for a solid season of being hooked on American Idol (Taylor Hick’s grandmother lives down the street…), I have not gotten into “reality television”. And I’ve got to tell you, it’s gotten way past the irritation stage with me.

Now understand, I am not talking about “non-fiction” shows like Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch or our favorite, Dirtiest Jobs. (Mike Rowe is awesome.) I am referring to the programs where the idea seems to be “lets just turn on the camera and see what happens … and if something doesn’t happen, poke it with a stick until something does”. At what point did a television executive decide to lock some people in a house until they got crazy enough to start screaming at each other? And at what point did we as a society determine, “Yeah, that’s worth watching.” (Isn’t this what the Romans did with animals?)

In any case, this month, reality television has taken a serious downturn. Not possible, you say? Just wait. NBC has now brought us Baby Borrowers. Described as a “groundbreaking experiment”, five real live babies are given to five teenaged couples to “care for” … and we get to see what happens! Of course, anyone who has ever seen a reality show is aware that these ten teens were chosen and paired up in order to exhibit as much dysfunctional behavior as possible … and all for our viewing pleasure. Wonderful.

But wait. Consider this … Who (please God, tell me who) are the parents allowing their infants to be used in this manner? How many ways can you imagine that this could go wrong for the babies???

Okay. Take a breath.


Most evenings, in our house, we CHOOSE what we watch. We also CHOOSE the time we watch it. No scrambling through dinner … no stealing glances at the clock while someone is talking. When we realized that enough seasons of programs we loved were on DVD to last us a lifetime, our CHOICES went way up. And to our boys, it’s all “first run” programming!

You will have your own ideas about what to watch, of course, but Polly and I are fond of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Odd Couple, both Bob Newhart series, Get Smart (the boys and I love it; Polly thinks it’s silly), and the greatest show in the history of television: The Andy Griffith Show. Audaciously assuming you would like a place to begin, may I offer our top ten episodes …

Andy Griffith Show

  1. Citizen’s Arrest (Fourth season)
  2. The Pickle Story (Second season)
  3. Haunted House (Fourth season)
  4. Man In A Hurry (Third season)
  5. Barney and the Choir (Second season)
  6. The Lucky Letter (Fifth season)
  7. Goober and the Art of Love (Fifth season)
  8. Opie’s Hobo Friend (Second season)
  9. Man in the Middle (Fifth season)
  10. Dogs, Dogs, Dogs (Third season)

So … most evenings we do watch some television. But we control the content, the commercials, the time, and the conversation. That having been said, I am aware that there are people who will roll their eyes and say that my family does not live in the real world.

And that’s exactly how we like it.

Andy Andrews

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