"Television is truly insidious."
I'm quoting the Men's Health bulletin that I'm referencing in this post, but I've said these words before. It's a trap, a vacuum, and the best accomplice to weight gain.
But more on that in a second.
I grew up in the golden age of television. Three's Company, Cosby, Cheers, even latenight reruns of Maude kept me laughing and thinking. Ok, I wasn't going to write it, but, yes, even crying. Man, shows had such heart back then. The scene where Jack asks Janet to dance after her teacher said she didn't have what it takes to make it as a dancer, or when Will Smith asks why his father doesn't want him. When Laura Ingalls climbs a mountain to ask God for help. Or even crying from laughing so hard, like when Jackie tells her and Roseanne's nearly deaf aunt over the phone that their dad had died.
But TV as a craft was still developing back then. It asked questions, pushed boundaries, taught lessons, brought families together. Perhaps I'm guilty of viewing it through sepia-toned, sense memories, but it actually wasn't until the late 90's, early 00's that ratings started to take precedence over a quality story. We now know that Seinfeld would be cancelled immediately today instead of being allowed to blossom as it limped through the ratings of its first two years.
So that's all TV is now, ratings. The only boundaries or questions left to be asked deal with how much nudity can be shown, what words the FCC will allow this year or how much blood can be shown at what hour of the day. It wants to hook you fast so you'll stick around and wait it out, even if it goes through a slump. It's actually kind of like the Maple Leafs. But I digress.
This brings me to the title of this blog-that-eventually-will-have-a-point. Sookie.
When I realized in the late 90s that all TV sucked, I threw out my tv and never got hooked to a tv show ever again. Funny, it was also after a time when I started to feel bad - knees hurt, back hurt. I would sit at a desk all day and then watch TV all night. I also started taking group ex classes that would ultimately change my life.
And then a friend of mine said I should watch True Blood.
I was at another friend's place who had HBO. I knew HBO had great shows that were spawning a new golden age of TV, but I wasn't going to have any of it. I can get addicted to TV, and with years of being sober, I wasn't going back on the wagon (I never know if it's on a wagon or off, and which refers to what, so sorry if that's incorrect). Armed with all that willpower we decided to turn it on and were introduced to this ludicrous mythological universe where humans and vampires coexisted. And it ... was ... awesome.
I was hooked. I was hooked in the way that at the end of an episode, I suffered withdrawal, actual pain for the need of the next episode. It was awesome and terrible. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I was Bill for Halloween.
But then the much-maligned second season happened. The 3rd came and went without a single memory of what happened. The 4th trod on like a dreary soap opera. And the current 5th... don't even get me started.
So I know that it sucks. It's a terrible show, terrible writing, and, save for Anna Paquin, the acting is nonexistent. But I keep watching because of that first season.
In a sense, I keep chasing that first high of how I felt falling for the the people and the relationships in that show.
And isn't that the basis for what keeps addicts addicted to their substance?
Television is truly insidious. It wants to sink its teeth into you and then hook you for as long as they can drain you of all your time. Worse, there's no lessons to be learned from it nowadays, no ... humanity. Just escapism for our ADD, fast food culture.
And what is your favourite thing to do while watching TV?
Eat everything and anything within arm's reach without a single conscious thought as to how much you're eating.
Which, finally, brings me to the point of this long-winded post (wow, who knew I had such feelings about this!?). According to the Harvard study that MH posted about, some of us have "obesity-promoting genes" which isn't much of a surprise.
But what may be surprising is the fact that many of our health-determining genes don't just automatically express themselves, it's our lifestyle that affects genetic expression.
"When study participants watched 40-plus hours of TV a week, fat-promoting variants of their genes were three times more potent than those in genetically similar folks who logged much less tube time."
They say "you can halve the fattening effect of these genes by walking an hour a day."
But I say, just stop watching TV. I mean, if you're hulu-ing Family Guy or Netflix-ing American Dad occasionally, fine. The fittest people I know may have a couple shows they like to watch, but if you're watching 40-plus hours a week, then you've probably got an addiction. I know, I've been there. Cancel your cable, go outside, take a group ex class. Chances are, everything will change, not just your health.
As for my relationship with Sookie, I don't know if I'll break it off just yet. I now hate the show as much as I first loved it, and admittedly there's a little joy in that as well. But there's no harm in enjoying a distraction from our lives and putting our minds on auto-pilot for a while as long as there's a balance.