By Dru Hites
This coronavirus has us stuck at home and has increased our television viewing quite a bit. We’ve become adept at cable TV, DVRs, streaming and the multiple controllers we keep on our coffee table. (Actually, it’s now much more of a cocktail table, what with the isolation).
We know how to pause a show we’re watching live, we can mute the TV when the commercials are on and we know how to get a picture in a picture. Pretty good for a couple of retirees, huh?
It gradually dawned on us that we’ve become our grandparents, who used to eat their dinner in front of the tube on little tray tables. It was a little depressing until we reminded ourselves that we used to eat our cereal watching Howdy Doody and cartoons, so maybe we’re just young at heart.
As we’ve put in our hours being hypnotized by the blue light, we’ve also stacked up a few pet peeves and we hope somebody out there in TV Land will read this. Fix this stuff and their TV audiences will be happier.
First, why are so many of the shows so dark? We don’t mean depressing or frightening, though that can certainly be true. We mean dark, as in very little light. Why don’t they turn on a lamp, for goodness sake? We sometimes have to sit closer to the TV and rewatch a scene to understand what’s happened. We suspect this is done to save money. If there’s not much light, you can get away with fewer props, right?
Perhaps they didn’t have the person in charge of makeup on set and the actor was looking less glamorous than usual. Or maybe they just think it’s scarier that way but it only scares us into thinking we have the onset of macular degeneration.
We also find it irritating when there is cellphone texting involved in the story plot. The phone screens the actors hold are pretty tiny, even on our large-screen TV. If it’s a gripping story, we feel compelled to rewind, pause the show at the right spot, get up from our sofa and walk over to the TV to read it aloud to each other.
We take turns as the bone popping in our knees must be equally shared. Further, it reminds us of popcorn and we are compelled to hobble to the kitchen to microwave a fresh batch again. We wish they’d come up with a full screen way to let us easily read these urgent texts.
Then there are the commercials on some streaming platforms that you cannot fast-forward through. We know that ads pay for a service we are getting for free. We understand that, because it’s being provided to us gratis, we owe advertisers the courtesy of watching their ads. However, they become counterproductive when we are forced to watch the same commercial over and over.
We’ll never order that gooey pizza with the fried mozzarella crust because we feel they’ve force-fed it to us already. We loved the dog with the plant in his mouth but when we see it come on now, we want to call animal control. Change it up, folks. Watching reruns of the same commercial over and over again feels like a special kind of hell. Keep us at least a little interested in what you’re hawking.
It’s time for us to settle into our seats and turn on the magic machine for our evening entertainment. Society doesn’t feel as remote when you have a remote in your hand.
Dru Hites, of Buffalo, is quarantining with a remote control in her hand.