This summer, when he’s not working out with the freshman football team or playing basketball or trying to get something popping most nights of the week, my 14yo son has been making his way through all 8 seasons of That ‘70s Show.
It’s impressive watching the kid plow through all 200 episodes, which — at 22-minutes apiece — clock in at around 73.33 hours. At the rate he’s going, I’m feeling confident he’ll be done by the end of the month. Maybe even this week, if he really buckles down.
He should be this dedicated to his summer reading.
Honestly, this has never been a show on my radar. I mean, I know it’s how Ashton met Mila and where that chick from Orange is the New Black got her Big Break. But it ran from 1998 through 2006 and coincided with some of my prime baby making years. Or, if I wasn’t exactly making a baby, then I was nursing it or cleaning it or driving it to preschool. In other words, I was too busy for TV back then.
Funny story: some time during that period, the house phone rang a little after 9 p.m. and it was another man in town looking to talk to my husband.
“He’s asleep,” I told the guy, annoyed that he’d even be calling the house so late.
“Is he okay?” the man, who only had one child, asked in alarm.
What I should have said was, “OF COURSE HE’S OKAY. HE’S JUST EXHAUSTED. WE’RE ALL EXHAUSTED AROUND HERE AND CAN’T WAIT TO LIE DOWN AS SOON AS WE CAN AND NOT HAVE TO, LIKE, WIPE HINEYS OR CLEAN BITS OF CHEESE OFF THE FLOOR UNDER THE HIGHCHAIR.”
What I probably did was laugh and say he was fine and had just fallen asleep a little early. I probably failed to mention that I wasn’t that far behind him.
So now, thanks to Hulu, I guess I’m making up for lost TV time. It seems at all hours of the day the “Hanging Out” theme some is playing in our TV room followed by about 21 minutes of double entendres and a cheesy laugh track. Every once in a while I find myself pausing as I go past the room and watch for a minute or two. The characters always seem to be hanging out on couches in someone’s basement and talking about getting laid. Or not getting laid. Or wanting to get laid.
I forget how racy primetime TV has gotten over the years. Cheers and The Cosby Show seem downright Disney-like compared to what aired in the following decade.
And I wonder, not for the first time, whether I should suggest that my child get off the couch and go find something better to do. But that’s the great thing about my youngest. When I
strongly suggest ask him to do something, he usually just does it. I pop my head in and tell him he’s had enough TV for the day and to go outside and throw the lacrosse ball around and he says, “Okay, Mom,” and turns off the TV and goes out into the heat of the day.
In short time I hear the TV go on again in the TV room and I go in to investigate and find what looks like a scene from a soft porn movie unfolding on my flat screen TV with my 20yo watching from the couch. She’s been bingeing the HBO series “True Blood” and with 80 approximately 60-minute episodes, is giving her little brother a run for his money as she wiles away the hours watching television when she’s not at work or food shopping for me. There are shoes scattered all over the small room and an empty plate on the coffee table from the muffin she ate for breakfast hours earlier.
Unlike earlier summers, I’m trying to be a little less agitated about all the TV watching, provided the children are doing all the other things they really are supposed to be doing. Sure, I’d rather they still just watched shows on Animal Planet or better yet, read a book. But that ball’s in their court now. I’ve modeled plenty of good reading behavior over the years and monitored their TV viewing when they were younger with the same zeal Tipper Gore brought to what the youth of our nation could listen to in the late ’80s.
And, with everybody growing up and moving out, it’s only a matter of time before the only sound in the house will be my fingers on the laptop or my dog crying to come sit with me.
I guess the good news is that all this TV-watching gives our puppy someone to snuggle next to and helps him forget that I’m in another part of the house, trying to write.
And not get distracted by the television.
Sign up to get all of my latest posts sent right to your inbox by typing your email into the box below and new posts will arrive without you having to remember to look for them. Everything should be this easy. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.