I have watched some bad tv in my life.
Honestly, in high school, some of my most watched shows followed the lives of spoiled pageant brats (Toddlers and Tiaras), creepy and manipulative teenage issues (Gossip Girl), and other bizarre stories of true life (anything on TLC really).
Worse, I never got around to watching these shows while they were relevant. I watched them out of order and in random marathons.
It didn’t bother me.
Watching TV was an activity that could be substituted for another activity. Like reading a book, or talking on the phone, or riding my bike. Something you did with your time.
But, something has changed in the past few years. Ever since I first used an (admittedly illegal) streaming site to watch tv on demand I’ve become irritable. I now own a Netflix subscription and I consume near constant media. In the last year alone I’ve watched every episode of That 70’s Show, all ten seasons of Friends, and what feels like more hours of Grey’s Anatomy than it would take to train as a doctor in real life!
I didn’t just watch these shows. I relentlessly binged on them.
I stayed up until the middle of the night to watch ‘just one more episode’. I brought my iPad to the gym to watch while I ran on the treadmill. I brought my laptop into the kitchen to watch while cooking, and into the dining room to watch while eating. Worse, I used a second screen to watch while writing papers or reading articles, probably resulting in homework taking at least twice as long as it should have.
TV was no longer an activity. TV became a constant.
I was experiencing fatigue, in my eyes, and in my brain. The drone of tv talk was overwhelming. I watched shows I wasn’t even sure I liked and my focus was always split.
I’ve heard that the first step to fixing a problem is identifying that it exists so that’s what I’m doing here. I want to be more conscious about the media I consume and my reasons for consuming it. Time is precious and I don’t want to waste it all on watching television.