Indirect TV

Let’s travel back to the late ‘70s when “The Love Boat” ruled Saturday nights. Where Captain Stubing and his crew would frolic through a one-hour cruise with laughter, suspense—and Charo! This favorite TV show was made all the better because my mom had banned it from our home. Luckily, on Saturday nights I usually had babysitters who were convinced (blackmailed) to let me watch cruise director Julie McCoy, Isaac the bartender and Gopher the. . .(what did Gopher do?) as they sailed into romance.

Of course “The Love Boat” was also a hit because there wasn’t much else on TV to watch. We had five or six basic channels (I call it “welfare TV”) and that was it.
Not so much the case anymore.
Now we have satellites, cables, fiber optics, gamma rays and titanium antennas bringing thousands (yes, thousands) of TV channels into our living rooms. You can find sports, news, cooking or cartoons 24 hours a day.
Up until five months ago, I still only had welfare TV in my home. My kids could choose from any PBS show, a few NBC, FOX and CBS programs (no one watches ABC) and that was about it. But I caved. Against my better judgment (like most bad decisions are), I succumbed to the pressure and ordered a satellite TV service. Let’s call it Indirect TV.
Immediately my home was inundated with The Knife Channel, The UFO Network, the “Let’s Eat Gross Stuff” channel and the Claymation Network. And here’s the bad news: we’re actually WATCHING. I’ve never considered myself a couch potato, but lately I’ve noticed little spud-eyes growing from my torso. Gross.
There are movies on Indirect TV that I would never rent, but I watch those movies four times in a row because I’ve become a broadcast zombie. I’ve watched the Disney Channel until I noticed I was singing Hannah Montana songs at work. (And by the way, Miley’s dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, is a horrible actor. Unless he’s ACTING like a horrible actor—in that case, he deserves an Emmy.)
After work, I flop on the couch and watch ghost chasers, dirty job doers, weird chefs, grumpy models, un-funny stand-up comedians, dangerous sports and soap operas from around the world.
I can see you now, rolling your eyes and saying in a condescending voice “Just turn it off!” It isn’t that easy! Have you ever gotten involved in a Mexican soap opera? It’s like watching a train wreck.
And reading the TV menu is almost as fun as watching the show itself. I scroll through myriad channels, chuckling to myself and mumbling, “Who would watch ‘CSI: Duluth,’ ‘Dancing with the Biggest Losers’ or ‘Bad Boys go Grocery Shopping’?” Oh, that’s right. I would.
So let’s do the math here: four people in my home plus five TV sets plus 12 remote controls plus three DVD/VHS players plus a DVR equals brain drain to the umpteenth degree.
I used to curl up with a good book and read for hours. I used to have stimulating, enlightening dinner conversations. I used to have hobbies like cleaning my house or making the occasional breakfast. I used to wander outside for a glimpse of sunlight from time to time. But now I suffer from twitchy-remote thumb, I have a vacant stare and an antenna has actually started growing from my cervical vertebrae.
It’s killing me to write this column knowing I’m missing “German Shepherd Fashion Week” and “Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Cook With Air.” But soon, I’ll be snuggled on the couch, getting my Indirect TV fix. Maybe I’ll even tune into “The Love Boat” channel. I’m sure it’s there. Bon voyage!

Indirect TV


Kearns, United States

  • Artist

Artist's Description

Going from welfare TV to satellite television causes cultural shock.

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