My Time with TV

April 14, 2019

 

GAME OF THRONES DAY! Series finale. The culmination of 8 years of television history. 9 years of waiting to see how the story ends.

 

I’ve always had a special relationship with television and movies. It’s always had the power to suck me in and transport me places. Maybe it’s my generation. The generation of seeing television move from 3 major TV stations to cable TV to HBO! Summers were always spent at my grandparents home watching TV because he had HBO. Movies we normally wouldn’t get to see we got to see twice a day several times a week.

 

My grandmother introduced me to soap operas. I found my love of drama in watching One Life to Live and General Hospital. My mom had sometimes watched All My Children, but not consistently like my grandmother. Every summer I knew exactly what the characters where doing to whom and who was doing what and all the ins and outs. I’d try to keep up but I’d learn it all over again the next summer.

 

The first big tech my mom bought was a color TV and a betamax machine. The superior model of the VHS but doomed machine. We had a friend who had pirated movies for betamax machines and we borrowed all that we could.

 

My brother and I watched TV day and night. Sucked into other worlds away from our poverty. Transported to dramas, comedies and the world of Mel Brooks. We loved History of the World, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. Movies that young children probably should not have been watching, we watched nonstop without interruptions or monitoring. We memorized lines from the movies. Much to my mother’s amusement, we performed for her and made her laugh. My brother was really the pro at this. My big line was the “Bullshit Artist” from History of the World. In fact, I was so taken with being a bullshit artist, I dressed up as one for Halloween in 2nd grade.

 

Betamax lost out to VHS. We lost our access to the pirated movies and now had no collection of movies because we gambled on the wrong technology thinking beta would be better and longer lasting than VHS.

 

At this point, my mom had finally gotten a job that paid money and she had a steady income. We were not poor anymore. Or at least we didn’t feel the pinch of being poor.

 

We were able to go out and buy a VHS tape player and it didn’t break us.

 

The first video I remember owning was Footloose.

 

Tom and I watched that movie over and over again because we owned it. No other reason than it was something to watch other than regular TV.

Regular TV consisted of the A-Team, Moonlighting, Hart to Hart, Fact of Life, Remington Steele, and other shows I’m racking my brain to remember. Tom and I watched all kinds of shows.

 

Once we finally got cable TV, for a very brief time period. Tom and I discovered the Kung Fu Sunday. It was on some cable channel that played very bad Kung Fu dubbed English movies. The movies where the mouth is still moving and the speaker had stopped speaking or the mouth isn’t moving but the voice is talking. The martial arts was terrible, too. But MAN, Tom and I absolutely lived for the Kung Fu Sunday time. It was one of the TV times we agreed to.

 

Our TV times got so complicated, that we would get out a TV guide and color code who was going to be watching what and when. Favors would be traded for certain shows. Chores would be done early to get to the TV first.

 

I don’t recall how old I was when I got my first TV for my own room, but I must have been around 11 or 12. I have never been without one. I have always slept with one in my room since. I have always had to have the sweet sound of some familiar voice talking to lull me to sleep. I will watch the same movie or TV show over and over again to go to sleep. Currently, I watch episodes of the The Big Bang Theory at night to go to sleep. It doesn’t have to the same one. Just listening to Sheldon and Leonard talking puts me to sleep.

 

As we got older, Tom and I watched movies and television shows together. We saw movies regularly. At least once a month together. Sometimes with the kids, sometimes without. We both amassed a large collection of DVDs. If I had something missing in my collection, he would share from his to complete it. We collected TV shows as well as movies. We loved Deadwood, True Blood, Firefly, Star Trek- both old and Next Gen.

 

For me television series and movie series keeps me going. As I became sick with the bipolar. I found sometimes I didn’t have a reason to live, or at least I would tell myself that. The disease would trick my mind into thinking that I was worthless and that I didn’t have anything left worth living for. But, back deep in my mind, television and movies always saved me. My curiosity saved me. No matter how worthless I felt, I always wanted to know how it ends. Even in the worst depression, where I was having suicidal ideations several times a day, actively planning my death. The light at the end of the tunnel for me was, how does Game of Thrones end?

 

I know that seems crazy. I’m sure it is. But as I said, movies and television are ingrained into my being. They are a waking part of my being. Daily meditations of my world. They fill the gaps of my mind. They keep me knowing who I am. Neil Gaiman’s American Gods has me worshipping the New Gods of Technology. Television and movies has kept me alive because I want to know what happens next.

 

I’m sure in the next six weeks, as my favorite characters come to meet their endings in tragic but beautiful deaths, I will be sad. I hope I do not despair at the loss of having an anchor to hold me in this world. There will always be great television. I’m sure I will find another anchor. There is always great televisions on the horizon waiting to come to life. It’s just waiting for a viewer.

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