Pop Culture Drop Out

Last year I gave up readingĀ  blogs for Lent. I realized midway through the Lenten season that if my “sacrifice” had any chance of producing a permanent change in my daily thoughts and habits, I had to reduce the number of blogs in my feeder. I did. I cut from the roster ruthlessly, even the very best blogs, the ones so terrible people rarely admit to reading them. I cut out Perez Hilton.

In the end, it wasn’t all that hard. With budgets being what they are, we cut out major cable a long time ago. Then we got rid of our TiVo, which sounded the death knell for our T.V. watching. Without shows waiting for us at a convenient time to watch, it became almost impossible to keep up. If you want to stop watching T.V., get rid of your TiVo. It’s an enabler. A wonderful, convenient, awesome enabler that helped me recognize 3/4 of the people featured on Perez. Once I stopped watching T.V., Perez was nothing more than a parade of nameless faces. Cut-cut!

Then we had our no-spend month. Well. When you aren’t going out or eating out, you spend a large amount of time at home. Presumably this time could be spent on reading books, but I burned through all the fun reads in my Unread Library over the summer and I’m not in the mood to read Italo Calvino. In fact, I just fell asleep writing that sentence. So The Mister and I started looking for shows to watch. Before October, we watched two and a half: The Office and Mad Men. The remaining half? True Blood. Since we don’t have cable, we have to wait until it’s available for purchase on itunes. That’s why it gets a half count. We still haven’t seen season 3 (it’s not available) so don’t tell me anything!

Two weeks into theĀ  no-spend month we started looking for new shows to watch. We used to watch crime shows, but those seem to suck lately. The family sitcoms didn’t look too interesting, which is good since we’ve missed most of them by the time we sit down to watch T.V. Then, one day I had a funny exchange on Twitter with Allison Winn Scotch about The Fresh Beat Band, aka Glee for kids. I turned to The Mister and said, “There’s a show called Glee everyone keeps talking about. We’re going to start watching it.” He took a moment from staring at the wall to mumble his assent.

So we did. We hopped on Hulu and watched some of season 1 and all of season 2, which is still in progress. At first we thought it was a bit silly. Five episodes later we were taking bets on whether the new guy is gay, rolling our eyes at Rachel, counting down the seconds for a scene with Coach Sue Sylvester or Brittany, and hoping Kurt finds a love interest. (Maybe I’m looking forward to that storyline more than The Mister.)

But that only adds one show to the roster. This puts us at 3.5 shows per year, a decidedly un-American number. It’s a wonder the government hasn’t shipped us to France in a fit of disgust. More importantly, we’re bored. Sure, we can talk to each other, but when you’re both recluses you can wrap up your day in a quick ten minutes.

I tried again to find season 3 of True Blood. No luck! I can’t even figure out when it will release. But itunes did suggest The Vampire Diaries as an alternative.

Great. More vampires.

I read the synopsis.

Great. More emo vampires hot for human girls.

I poked around itunes some more and came up dry. I went back to The Vampire Diaries. Sigh.

“I think I found another show to watch. It has good reviews, but I’m not sure if we’ll like it.”

“What’s it about?”

“Oh, you know. A teen aged vampire guy that doesn’t drink human blood is hot for a girl at school.”

“What the hell?! Another one?”

“That’s what’s popular right now. Vampires and ghosts and stuff.”

“Well, does this one at least want to have sex? Because if he doesn’t, I can’t get on board with this guy.”

“I’m pretty sure he does. I don’t know.”

“Fine. Let’s see if this one’s got a pair.”

We watched the pilot episode.

“That was pretty stupid.”

“Yup.”

“Want to watch the next episode?”

“Yup.”

And that’s how it goes with T.V. You can be watching a show you don’t even like and at the end of two hours and two shows you are suddenly invested in the love life of a vampire who’s remarkably angular features are a hair’s breath away from Willem Dafoe. (Not a compliment.) I suppose this is as good a time as any to say WOW. Teens. A lot has happened in the 20 years since I’ve been one. In my day, Denise Huxtable stayed out late and got a C on her term paper. In Mystic Falls, kids do homework in bars, sleep over at their undead boyfriend’s house, and snort crushed pain pills. Is it any wonder the girls these days are into diddling Popsicles?

We’re on episode 13 or 14 of season 1. Complaining about debauchery doesn’t mean we are going to stop watching debauchery. This is America, after all.

Speaking of which, what is everyone watching on T.V. right now? Oh! You know what other show we used to watch and love? Friday Night Lights. We lost track of it after season 2, and then couldn’t get back into it once we found it again. Is it worth trying to watch again? I will say that Coach Taylor…yummy. That dark hair and stoic personality reminds me of The Mister. Even better? HE IS HUMAN.

Comments
101 Responses to “Pop Culture Drop Out”
  1. Jessica says:

    I have a deadly combination of cable + HBO & Showtime + DVR.
    Luckily, it hasn’t affected my inability to keep up with more than one or two shows at a time.

    And as I type that, I realize I am watching way more than one or two shows. Here’s how it starts….

    Right now, I’m watching In Treatment (LOVE LOVE LOVE) and Bored to Death (raunchy, madcap noir comedy) on HBO, and How I Met Your Mother (a show that kind of transcends the sitcom format, a little).

    I’m having trouble keeping the flame alive for The Office, but I still watch diligently, even if I only half pay attention.

    For background noise, Sixteen & Preg/Teen Mom and (gulp) Sister Wives.

    And I’m looking forward to Big Love starting back up, even though it just got the axe *sigh*

    • Jules says:

      I’m having a bit of trouble with The Office, too. I figured it would happen once Jim and Pam got together. Is Sister Love that one with the polygamist? I remember that commercial where the not so bright wife says, “Well DUH. I hope he’s having sex with another woman.”

      [deep sigh.]

  2. Jill says:

    We are completely hooked on The Wire. It’s the Best. Show. Ever. and I don’t even like cop shows. Yes, the violence occasionally makes me hide my head under a pillow and ask my husband “is it over?” and the language would make your mother cringe, but the characters are awesome and the story is fascinating.

    • Jules says:

      I’ll probably be hiding under a pillow, too. I’m a bit of a wimp. I’ve closed my eyes a few times on Vampire Diaries, and it’s on KTLA for Pete’s sake.

  3. kylydia says:

    We hardly ever watch regular TV. “Regular” being the major networks. We DVR shows on Comedy Central, the Travel Channel and Discover. I’m addicted to House Hunters on HGTV. Other than that, we watch a lot of movies.

    I will say that I LOVED watching Weeds from beginning to the end of last season on Netflix Instant over the summer.

  4. NotoriousMLE says:

    Jules- Modern Family. We made be partial to it becuase of our Colombian/Adoption connection but it is so hysterically funny. We don’t have cable either but Mr. Tivo is our enabler/best friend. :)

    I had to cut out Perez too, I enjoyed it but I didn’t feel good about myself when I read his blog.

    • Jules says:

      Is Modern Family the one with the guy from Married with Children? He has the gay son who adopts a Chinese baby with his partner? I saw that once or twice and thought it was funny. I keep missing it! Stupid no DVR rule.

      • NotoriousMLE says:

        Yup! So hilarious. Sofia Vergara is Colombia and must be giving the writers a cultural education because lots of the plot lines have involved things that are specifically Colombian. It’s nice to see a Colombian character who doesn’t speak spanish with Los Angeles-Mexican accent if you know what I mean. Love the show, it reminds me of my own “modern Colombian adoptive” family.

        • Elvira says:

          I have to co-sign Modern Family. I absolutely love it. That is probably all i watch on TV. I usually watch it online so really, no TV. Go to abc.com All the episodes are there. No need for the DVR.

  5. Karrie says:

    I feel like we’re in the same boat as you all. We got rid of our cable after getting rid of our DVR. We would forget when the shows we liked came on so we did a lot of TV flipping and decided we should save our money (although we have briefly gone back to cable just so we could watch our episode of Run My Renovation on the DIY network and now that we’ve seen it, our cable box is going back). We do have Netflix which aides in our need for sitting on the couch and unwinding at the end of the day. Our favorite shows that you haven’t mentioned are: Dexter, How I Met Your Mother and Weeds. If you all haven’t watched LOST, that a good series to watch.

  6. Joleen says:

    I have tried numerous times to stop reading Perez. I can’t seem to quit… which is how I know the new guy on Glee (one of my favorite shows) is not gay. There will soon be a new character coming aboard to play Kurt’s love interest. And, like you, I’m also waiting anxiously for season three of True Blood to come out.

    Not sure how into blood you are, but Dexter is awesome. I also enjoy Weeds and House. And, Modern Family is a must see.

    • Jules says:

      I can’t get into Dexter. I’m too sad that he is a serial killer and when his son was found in the pile of his mom’s blood (thereby coming full circle w/ Dexter’s tragic childhood) I was totally crushed!

  7. Lindsay says:

    Yes, Friday Night Lights is worth picking up again. Season 2 was a flop imo, but it got better in Season 3. You must get Netflix! We stream Netflix on our PS3 and it is great to catch up on old TV seasons that we missed. Especially since we don’t have cable or dish. Have you watched How I Met Your Mother or Modern Family? Both are must-sees.

  8. Noni says:

    You have got (got got got) to watch ‘Mike and Molly’!

  9. Megan says:

    It sounds like we like the same shows, though I’ve never watched “The Vampire Diaries.”

    You should try watching Weeds, Dexter and Nip/Tuck. I believe that both of you will enjoy all three.

  10. Sarah says:

    I got cable for the first time this summer (I’m very new to TV in general, I didn’t have one in my home until I was 17!), and it’s kind of forced me to become more picky – there are so many more shows on at the same time, I have to choose which ones I really want to watch! (No Tivo here)
    My must haves are Criminal Minds (I love crime shows in general, but this is THE BEST) and The Amazing Race. I don’t care much for reality shows, but TAR is very well done and keeps the ~*drama*~ to a minimum.

  11. Tara says:

    We are cutting our cable as soon as the contract is up in a couple of months. We kind of prefer watching shows after they are a few seasons in- it is so fun to watch them that way. Netflix instant has a nice selection – we watched all of the Weeds seasons this summer. And watching 30 Rock season to season is fun. Every now and then we watch an episode of Anthony Bourdain via netflix as well. I agree with the comment above- Lost is a great one to watch straight through.

  12. Erin says:

    I don’t watch all of these regularly, but everything on this list is GOOD.

    http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2010/04/the-10-best-sitcoms-on-tv-right-now.html

    Hub and I also started watching “The Tudors” when we returned from a trip to England last year. It’s a bit smutty, but surprisingly historically accurate. Very entertaining.

  13. Katie says:

    My husband and I are watching The Tudors, too, thanks to Netflix. At $8/month with all the instant downloads, it’s really worthwhile. Tons of TV shows, and we like documentaries, too which they have an abundance of.

    I’m also really into Parenthood, which is in its second season. Lots of storylines, wholesome for the most part. Kind of a modern “Waltons”.

    Sorry to hear you got rid of your TiVo. I’m a working woman, and don’t know what I would do if we didn’t have ours and I couldn’t catch Oprah. :)

    Happy watching!

  14. You know what crime shows don’t suck? Castle. White Collar. In Plain Sight. The Closer. Chuck. Okay, Chuck is more a spy/comedy show than a crime show, but it’s just plain good fun, especially the first two seasons. The third season was so-so the first two-thirds, then got better in the end. The fourth season so far is quite good.

    But really, I can’t recommend Castle enough. The actors are all excellent, the writing is funny and sharp, and the stories might not be the most intricate but the interactions between the cast make up for it.

    Ooh, also Veronica Mars! It’s available on Netflix Instant, all three too-brief seasons of it. It’s like a noir Nancy Drew. I’d heard about it for years and never got around to watching it till recently, when my husband and I both burned through all three seasons in a matter of weeks. We were quite sad to reach the end.

    I’ve also gotten into Bones lately. It’s a smarter-than-average crime show that is largely driven by character. First four seasons are on Netflix Instant and the 5th season is on iTunes. The sixth season is probably on iTunes too.

    (Note that you might not actually like any of these shows, as apparently your TV-watching tastes are a bit different from mine. I did enjoy the first season of Glee, but by the second or third episode of this season we were bored with it.)

  15. Jacqueline says:

    The Office, 30 Rock, Modern Family, Mad Men, and Parenthood(a total surprise that I like it) are my favorites right now. I also will watch reality shows like Intervention, Real Housewives, and What Not to Wear if nothing else is on and I’m wanting to relax in front of the TV.

  16. Sara says:

    Hi! I’m sorry that I’ve never commented before but I had to come out of the woodwork for this one.

    I cannot overstate my devotion to Friday Night Lights. We, too, do not have cable and we, too, watched a while during the first or second season and then took a hiatus. But we’ve watched the past two seasons regularly and I’m so glad we did. Although I’m probably not the best judge of this (since I watch two shows, including FNL) I believe that is by far the best show on tv right now. A bold claim, I know.

    I love that the Taylors have a normal marriage, that the teenagers on the show do normal teenager stuff but don’t talk like morons (as in, saying “like” every other word, etc) and that they’re not afraid to take on important though maybe controversial topics. And there is just something magnetic about that Tim Riggins (in spite of his strangely perpetually greasy, stringy mane).

    Did I really just write that much about a tv show? Sorry.

    I love your writing and your honesty. Keep up the good work!

  17. Paulina J! says:

    I agree with Bethany, Castle is amazing!! I also watch Thursday nights on NBC: Community, The Office and 30 Rock are my faves. I also watch the Amazing Race and Biggest Loser. I tried to watch Sister Wives, but my husband doesn’t want me to, oh well!

  18. Andrea Howe says:

    oh thank goodness you said you watch Mad Men. I was gonna have to smack you via the internet if you didn’t. I watch more TV than I probably should sometimes, but it goes in and out depending on the season. Shows that we both endorse are (Art only barely tolerates some of my shows like Grey’s Anatomy): Dexter (we get it on Netflix because we too cancelled our cable and only get basic now) 30 Rock (surprised to not see that one on your list), and we just now started watching Modern Family. We also used to watch Big Love and need to get the latest season on Netflix too.

  19. grisel says:

    If you want to see the latest season of True blood w/o commercials, go to the following site (not all of the episodes work but hey, it is free:

    http://www.couchtuner.com/true-blood/

    Another show that we really enjoy is Merlin.

  20. Brigitte says:

    I, too, watch a limited number of shows…and for the same reasons!

    Try: Dexter, How I Met Your Mother, House

  21. LauraC says:

    Another no cable family here. We do have a TV, and can get whatever shows we can over our antenna, but since LOST ended this spring, we don’t watch anything. (I am totally and completely ignorant of all current TV media). That said, my husband is a big movie fan, and we both like sci-fi. We recently dropped our Netflix from the 2-DVD plan ($15) to the 1-DVD plan ($8-9) because we just like to stream shows. We’ll watch an occasional movie now, but we mostly enjoy watching a 45-min episode of some show. You can enjoy that without losing your entire evening and with a 6 month old who cries most evenings, movies are kinda hard to do right now. Never had a TiVo, never wanted one.

    I started a comment yesterday, but didn’t get it posted: Hooray for you for not giving in to peer pressure and committing to something you really didn’t want to do. Proud of you. And you show wisdom for knowing your priorities (family) and sticking to them. I’m all for challenging oneself, but there is a time and a place, and having little ones definitely puts things (even good, worthwhile things) on hold for awhile. I’m still learning that myself. I actually think it takes more confidence to say no than yes, so it always impresses me when people have the strength to decline. I know you don’t know me and what I think doesn’t matter, but I was really happy you decided not to because it just seemed like a peer-pressured thing, not something you wanted to do.

  22. Jules says:

    Really?! How I Met Your Mother?! I would have never thought that, but so many of you are on board!

    We used to love Criminal Minds. It’s one of the ones that slipped away after TiVo.

    Now, someone explain to me NetFlix. I don’t get it, but I am intrigued by the $8 TV show thing. We have AppleTV, which seems similar but infinitely more expensive. Take The Vampire Diaries or True Blood, for example. If I wanted to buy the season of either one, it would be $39. Or, I can buy it for $1.99 per episode. Everything streams into our TV and I have access to it via laptop, ipod, whatever. We can also rent movies on demand for standard prices $4.99 or so. We can’t rent T.V. shows.

    How does this all work?

    My mom LOVES Big Love. That always make me chuckle for some reason.

    • Katie F. says:

      How I Met Your Mother is really clever, irreverent kind of humor. Surprising that it’s on cbs. My other top TV pick is Parenthood.

      Anyway, re: Netflix — you can stream some of the TV shows and a small assortment of movies (whatever is currently playing on Encore, so that gives you an idea.. not the hot new releases). If you do the $8/month plan, you get to rent 1 disc at a time. Once you mail it back, you get another disc in a day or two. I think if you pay $12 its 3 discs at a time.

  23. hannah says:

    I looovee House, but if you’re not into medical dramas, that’s fair. I also second whoever mentioned Parenthood in the comments above; it’s delightful and I think you’d really dig it.

  24. Jules says:

    Oh, and we were big LOST fans. Favorite line:

    “My name is Said, and I am a torturer.”

    [fans self.]

  25. Joni says:

    All the TV I watch now is on Hulu – yay internet! Parenthood, Modern Family, Terriers, 30 Rock, The Office. And I LOVE The Closer (on tnt.tv). Enjoyed The Wire on DVD, but it’s a bit intense. Weeds was fun for a while, but then it got a little too dark for me. Ditto with 6 Feet Under.

  26. Karina says:

    I can not believe that The Big Bang Theory is not even mentioned ONCE!!! Other than that, The Tutors, when we had fancy cable with on demand. No wait, How I met your Mother is pretty funny and you need to give Sister Wives a chance, pretty different…

  27. Ms.Amy says:

    Jules,

    We ditched the cable 18 months ago & never had a DVR to wean from. Our savior has been Netflix via the Wii. Netflix allows you to watch movies/ TV shows on DVD, and you can choose your plan (cost depends on # of discs out at a time). Netflix is great, but now that we can stream it through the Wii, our world has righted itself. Same concept, except the selection is slightly different. Since we’ve had it, I’ve been hooked on Weeds, Dexter, & Pushing Daisies, with Tudors & Nip/Tuck up next. If you don’t have a Wii, you can stream it through the computer, and I imagine you can hook it to the AppleTV to watch right on the big screen.

    Totally. Worth. It.

    For network shows we only watch How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, & The Office (which is descending at a high rate of speed).

  28. Andrea Howe says:

    We have the Roku to stream our netflix for free; but you can only get limited shows. Instead, we use it just as if you went out and bought the season DVD of the show. Which means you can only get seasons that have been released, so we’re always a season behind, but it’s okay with us. It’s free. For instance we just finished season 4 of Dexter (which made me feel ill BTW), and now we can’t watch season 5 until it’s released, but we’re not in a HUGE hurry to see more killing and slaying, so we will be patient.
    Now let’s get back to 30 Rock? Why aren’t you watching that?
    And yes, Modern Family is the one with the Married with Children guy :)

    • Jules says:

      I don’t watch 30 Rock because I have no idea what channel or time it’s at. Also, I kinda think Alec Baldwin is a ticking time bomb of rage. Not that it matters much if the show is good. He’s playing a character, not himself.

      What’s Roku?

  29. Erin says:

    Netflix is a-freaking-mazing. We pay $14 a month for which we get two DVDs at a time (how often is up to us- when we send them back, they send two more) and access to all of the instantly streamable stuff. We watch the streamable stuff on our TV via our Xbox, but it can also be done through a Wii or your computer. Their selection of instantly streamable stuff is pretty extensive, and it includes TV shows, major release movies, and indie films.

    You also have access to all of their DVDs via their website. You make a list of all the movies/TV shows you want to see, and they send them to you one, two, or three at a time, depending on how much you want to pay per month. You keep them for as long as you want, and when you send them back, they’ll send you whatever is next on your list.

    We’ve pretty much decided to drop our $150 a month cable and just use Netflix, Hulu, and iTunes.

  30. michelle says:

    we only watch 2 shows!!!! we beat you!!! :D
    we got rid of cable, but we watch parenthood and the office online.
    try parenthood, it is deeper than you would think.

    • Jules says:

      I remember seeing a preview for Parenthood and being excited that it was based on the 90s movie. Tiffany and I (remember? my friend from high school?) used to quote that movie to each other.

      “Friends don’t throw friends out of moving vehicles!”

  31. Bec says:

    I’m hooked on The Vampire Diaries and I truly feel ridiculous every time I watch a new episode. But, the 2 shows I could not live without would have to be Modern Family and The Big Bang theory. So good. AND in case you weren’t aware, Perez Hilton decided to stop being so snarky. He still shares celebrity gossip, but doesn’t put the ms paint drawings coming out of ladies’ mouths or call people names anymore. It is kind of nice.

    • Jules says:

      ME, TOO. I am SO disappointed to be hooked–AGAIN–on something vampire related! What the hell?! What’s worse, my friend Kendra will be on her ANY MINUTE to say “I told you so.” I made fun of her years ago for her obsession with vampires. Pay back is a bitch!

      This past week I went on Perez’s site since it had been so long and I noticed that it was not as snarky and that the voice had completely changed in the writing. I didn’t know if it was his sister helping him out with the posts or not. Did he announce his decision to be less snarky, or is it just something everyone has noticed?

  32. Anna Elena says:

    I second (third? fourth?) Parenthood, it’s the show I get most excited about each week. And we love Big Bang Theory and How I Met your Mother, and are starting to get back into Bones and House (We just got a DVR and we love it too much)

    If you like scandalous teenage behaviour, Gossip Girl is ridiculous.

    And the hubs is requesting that I add Top Gear (British Motoring Show) the the list.

    • Jules says:

      I was waiting for someone to say Gossip Girl. All the people on Twitter seem to go crazy for it. Last year I would have mocked anyone who read a young adult novel or watched a teen drama. Now I can’t get enough. Oh, how far I have fallen.

  33. Dana Beth says:

    I agree that Parenthood is surprisingly wonderful.

    I also LOVE LOVE LOVE Boardwalk Empire on HBO. Seriously the best show I have seen in ages.

    Sons of Anarchy is completly addictive and awesome.

    Eastbound and Down is pure comic genius.

  34. Dorothy says:

    You know what the best part about losing cable in my house would be? No. More. ESPN. I find myself reading a lot more, in an attempt to drown out the constant commentating. For me, its like watching C-SPAN during a quorum call.

    I have to confess, though, now that I don’t live in Kentucky, its the only way I get to watch my Wildcats play. And then I tell myself… that’s what friends are for!

  35. Licia says:

    I’m in my mid 30s and already feeling like those old people who say that nothing is as good as it used to be. I have DVR and full cable right now and don’t watch much more than an ocasional “What Not to Wear” or “The Good Wife” and, frankly, they just don’t do it for me. I used to get all excited about watching Seinfeld, Friends and ER when I was in college. Maybe when my boys are a little older and let me sleep, I’ll find the motivation to search shows that speak to me. Maybe the shows that are out now would hook me in if only I could stay awake through them. In the meantime, I’ll keep nodding like I know what my 20-something co-workers are talking about when they say “Glee”, “The Office”, and a whole bunch of shows that I can’t quite recall the name of at the moment :-)

  36. Kathy says:

    I am the fourhundredth vote for Netflix! It’s seriously amazing. It’s basically kind of like TV in that you pay a monthly service fee and can “turn it on” whenever. But the Instant Watch is great. Tons of TV shows (the last few months of my pregnancy until now, almost 2 years later I’ve watched all 13 seasons of Law & Order: SVU.) and movies too. Especially the old classics. And the movies they offer on Instant cycle through, so it’s constantly being updated.

    I watched a thing on the photographers of National Geographic. Totally amazing.

    AND you get a DVD in the mail. We’ve been watching Buffy through the mail, one disk at a time, but the biggest thing for sure is the Instant.

  37. Jules says:

    I am still so confused with the NetFlix thing. We have a wii–do we buy something to see it through wii, or is there some sort of connection we make? Bah. I’m going to need to have my husband read this thread. I’m too techno-dumb for this sort of stuff!

    I’m kind of having a great time talking to all of you about TV!

    • Karrie says:

      When you sign up for Netflix they’ll send you instructions on how to steam. When we signed up, they sent us a disc for our wii but now you don’t even need the disc. Their selection is really good and my husband is really digging all the National Graphics episodes on there. And definitely try out How I Met Your Mother-Neil Patrick Harris is just awesome in it. He leaves my husband chuckling for days.

    • Susan says:

      To watch Netflix on the wii, they send you a DVD in the mail. You pop the DVD in your wii, follow the instructions, and voila! Netflix on your wii. I have to say, though, don’t get your hopes up. I was so excited to watch ANYTHING I wanted, WHEN I wanted. Then I realized that 90% of the movies are out of date and not very good. However, it does help if you have a 3 year old that insists on watching one movie all day, everyday for a week.

      • Kathy says:

        See, yes, a lot of them are older, but that’s the beauty of it! If you want to watch fresh and new DVDs, get more of the DVDs in the mail, but to explore and discover classics and other older great movies, Instant is the way to go!

  38. Erika says:

    We watch (I watch-lol) How I Met Your Mother (love), Of course The Vampire Diaries (just ok),
    LOVED Friday Night Lights–(lost track now back!)Everyone raves about “The Tudors” (think you guys would love just by some of what i watched) and “Modern Family”
    Paul loves “Two and a Half Men”….and “The League”…think The Mister would like that! My mom and sis rave about Glee…can’t get into it, maybe have not given it a fair shake….
    While not on anymore since season ended, Paul and I had an obsession with “Project Runway” LOL

    Happy TV watching…and we love our DVR…that is the only way with our schedules we can watch TV at all…

    xo

  39. Violetkey says:

    We own a TV but its not hooked up to any outside channels, its there to run our xbox which is the portal to all entertainment or at least a lot of it.

    We also have netflix which i love! Netflix could be equated to hulu in the fact that you can instantly watch movies & tv shows, old & new. However the streaming TV shows are at least a season behind because they don’t stream whats currently on the air or sometimes not even the last released season. But that’s where ordering the discs through the mail comes in, as soon as a TV season (or movie) is released for sale to the public its available to rent thru Netflix. You can use it on your computer or TV thru using a xbox, ps3 or wii – you’d have to talk to them about how to set it up on your wii but there isn’t an extra charge for that feature. That was long but hopefully helpful & not redundant.

    I have to put in a plug for NCIS, yes it’s a crime drama but you get to know the characters so well & they’re fantastic. This year i’ve been going through all the seasons thanks to those little red envelopes =)

  40. Amy Loves Teal says:

    I recommend The Closer, House, Parenthood, Weeds, and United States of Tara. I would also suggest Netflix. It’s really reasonable, and you can plow through your old faves – I Love Lucy, Northern Exposure…you name it, they’ve got it! I’m about to give up cable completely and plan to only use Netflix because I tend to spend too much money too quickly on iTunes :)

  41. Hilary says:

    Psych is the *best*. You can catch old stuff on Hulu. I <3 Shawn and Gus. I think you'd enjoy the writing on the show.

  42. Shannon says:

    I read and never comment, but I love TV so I had to break my silence. I know it isn’t cool to be really into TV but I am.

    I suggest:
    Psych – Super funny and cute, with tons of obscure references and inside jokes that get funnier the longer you watch. (USA also has some other really great shows including Royal Pains and White Collar but Psych is the best of them.)
    Chuck – Zachary Levi is adorable and it is just really fun to watch. The characters are really well done and loveable.
    Sons of Anarchy – Who knew biker gangs were so interesting? This is a dark show, but it is good stuff.
    Rescue Me – Dennis Leary is awesome and this show is funny, exciting, dramatic, sad and so many other things.
    House – Hugh Laury is terrific, and even though this show is totally formulaic I get excited for it every week.

    Also, all of these shows are my husband’s favorites too. Good luck and happy watching!

  43. Jennifer says:

    I was looking at your unread library and I have to say that you have to read “To the Lighthouse” as soon as possible. It is not that long. I think I will reread it as it has been many years. It is about someone that puts off doing something really timeless and meaningful. It is an essential mother-read. I also recomment “Monkeys” by Susan Minot which is along the same lines. I enjoy your blog very much. It is the only one I read with any regularity or interest.

  44. Becky O. says:

    No cable here- we don’t watch t.v. during the week.. mostly.
    The Amazing Race. We all gather together like a 1950s family to watch and travel vicariously.
    The rest we see if it is streaming online… the guys and I love Masterpiece mysteries, Nova, Community.
    Also, we have netflix and we can watch stuff through our wii box… old stuff too.
    AND Mythbusters.
    B

  45. Pamela says:

    My can’t miss shows are:
    – Modern Family <<<< WATCH THIS ONE!!! :p
    – Glee
    – The Office

    We have a bunch on the DVR but those are the ones that sadden me if I have to keep holding off to watch them

  46. S.E.Minegar says:

    we are a no TV reception family. we have a mondo TV, just won’t pay for cable and are located in a dead zone. so we watch our shows on the internet through the TV (the day after it airs)

    my solo shows are parenthood and glee. i’m a gleek. our together shows are the office, parks and rec, and 30 rock. we also had our battle star galatica and weeds stints.

    oh TV, making me forget i need to graduate.

    • LauraC says:

      Another Battle Star Galactica fan! I was pretty sure I was the only one! :-)

      Jules, I know everyone else has said this, but I’ll recap:
      *Whether you get the cheapest (8.99) plan or the most expensive (23.99) you can watch their streaming 24/7!
      *You stream free on a Wii. :-)
      *They have LOTS of old movies, TV shows and new(er) movies and new shows (obviously not current season). A good way to watch a series (WAY cheaper than Apple, which we used once).
      *No late fees.
      *The price simply reflects how many DVDs you can get at a time (new releases come this way). More DVDs = more $$
      When I see cable companies advertising about their “on demand” I laugh because they are 4-5 times more pricey!

  47. Jules,
    I would highly recommend Justified that was on FX last Spring and into early Summer. My husband and I watch it together. It’s based on characters created by Elmore Leonard and he’s involved in the production. We can’t wait for season 2 to start.

    http://www.fxnetworks.com/shows/originals/justified/episode.php

  48. Amy says:

    You kill me … slay me entwine … part me asunder…

    Actually, I’m far more un-American than you. I can’t handle the commercials, for one. But I did start watching Castle from Netflix … which I totally thought I would hate … but, I’m kinda hooked now.

    And I would recommend Netflix as well; they have great customer service too. We started with 2 a month, but with budget cuts, went down to one. And it was so easy! There have also been times when our next selection is not available at the nearest location … so they send another one, to tied us over. I’ve really been impressed with them.

  49. Olivia says:

    Fringe is such a well written show and really not scary…the reviews are great and i can totally see why :) I love the Big Bang Theory too.

  50. Toi says:

    Right now I have a very very bad addiction to Rescue Me. It’s available to view instantly on Netflix and for me that’s like a crack addict living with a crack dealer. Sweet Jesus Denis Leary is sexy in that show. I have tomorrow off and I plan on spending the day in bed with my dog watching all of season 3. I can’t rave enough about that show. It’s so well written. And it’s one of those shows that men and women can enjoy equally. Did I mention how sexy Denis Leary is in it?

  51. Toi says:

    Oh and I completely forgot about West Wing. If you never watched that when it was on you most certainly need to go back and watch it. It’s also on Netflix. That is by far my all time favorite show that has ever been on TV. I might have to go back and watch all the seasons again this winter. I swoon whenever I think of that show. Sigh!

  52. Meggie B says:

    I’m glad there is another victim to The Vampire Diaries. I don’t know why but I can’t stop watching it.
    I agree with another comment that I saw about Modern Family. It’s hilarious and season 2 keeps getting better. Also, if you are into more comedies, 30 Rock is good and I have heard good things about Community but I’ve never watched it.

  53. Kate says:

    Okay: really: Modern Family. It is the greatest. Funny, sweet, a little silly. Has me laughing out loud every time.

    Also: Parenthood. It’s produced by Ron Howard but the similarities to the movie end there. The actors are all great; I especially love Dax Shepard as a screwy new dad trying to figure it out, and Lauren Graham (r.i.p. Gilmore Girls!) as a single mom who lives with her parents and 2 kids after leaving a not great relationship. I think it’s one of the best shows I’ve seen in years.

    It should be noted that we don’t have tv, either, so I watch these a day or two after they air on Hulu. =) Kind of like TiVo, only with commercials. At least you can watch it at your convenience!

  54. Kate says:

    Oh oh and Weeds, Arrested Development, and Dexter on Netflix!!

  55. Kirsty says:

    Ahhh Tim Riggins!!! Friday Night Lights is worth watching for him alone, not to mention Coach Taylor and Landry. Such a great show!

    Besides the Office, Glee, 30 Rock, Criminal Minds (Matthew Gray Gubbler makes this show), I’ve been watching seasons 1-5 of Say Yes To The Dress on Netflix, as well as old seasons of King of the Hill and Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Another guilty pleasure? X-Files! Netflix is a total enabler! :)

  56. Niki says:

    Friday Night Lights is amazing, my favorite TV show by far. Coach and Tammy taylor have an amazing relationship.

  57. Jill says:

    We’re in the same boat – no DVR, no TiVo, no NetFlix, etc. and we’re bored. We have basic cable and we watch a few shows when we happen to turn on the tv after the kids are in bed. Anything that comes on before 9:00 is out for us. We just started watching reruns of How I Met Your Mother. Hilarious. Other favorites are Castle, Criminal Minds, The Mentalist (kind of blah but Simon Baker looks a bit like my husband and I enjoy watching him. hubba, hubba.) and as several other people have noted, Parenthood is surprisingly enjoyable. I think my husband likes it even more than I do. The Big Bang Theory is great but it is on at 8:00.

    Do you check out movies from your local library? We have a great library that has new releases. They are FREE and we can reserve online to pick up. We’ll occasionally do this as a date night (we’re on a tight budget) – grab a movie and some wine after the kids are in bed. So nice. If we are really itching to watch a newer movie and we don’t want to wait, our library has a priority check out for $1. But we never do because we are too cheap.

    I was so bored the other night, I actually worked out, which is what I should be doing every night.

    Good luck finding a new show!

  58. Miss B says:

    Oh my, the TV post hit a nerve, lol! Look at all these comments!! I have to say reading this could have been the Fancy and myself. We just started watching ‘Boardwalk Empire’, I don’t know if that’s available yet, it’s a little violent but I love the sets and it’s very old-timey (right up my grandma self alley).

    xx,

    t.

  59. roni says:

    Anyone I know without kids follows at least 20 shows per week. Can’t keep up without having Tivo/DVR. I can’t even remember having that much free time! Community has made Thursdays must see tv for us again. We still go back and watch the first season on DVD. It’s got a lot of heart and amazing jokes per minute ratio. Just ordered Modern Family Season 1 on Netflix. I am a purist and have to start at the beginning. That is why I haven’t gotten into Glee either. Bored to Death Season 2 is kicking butt! I hung in with Season 1 since the Ted Danson character is fab and I also heart Jason Schwartzman. This season is so out there and filled with absurd adventure. The Middle is very silly and my son loves it so we catch that on Wednesdays. 30 Rock has definitely come around too. Matt Damon cameos don’t hurt either! It’s funny that you bring up the Cosbys. We’ve gotten a few new channels on basic cable that are showing old shows, Family Ties, Cosbys, etc. The kids love the old Cosby shows. We also like that we can lazily parent them through Claire Huxtable!

  60. Jackee says:

    Ok, I understand when I got cut twice (yep twice) from your blog roll, and didn’t take offense, still reading daily Pancakes and Frenchfries for my love of Jules and your writing…that I didn’t take offense, because I don’t post often enough to make it worth anyone’s while, BUT, give up Criminal MINDS?????? I love that show, jus sayin…

    (ever the lurker, I’m still a big fan Jules. not in a creepy way, but in a way that I enjoy your blog, the way you write, your various interests and your blog roll is a good place to start blog hopping when there is nothing on TV and no new Diana Gabaldon books are out in print….)

  61. Val says:

    I like Bones, even though I feel a bit resentful of the fact, since it is probably marketed directly at me, with laser beams and everything. I also have this overwhelming compulsion to watch The Smoking Gun every time it’s on. I know, that’s so horrible!! It’s the B-List celebrities, I just can’t stop watching them. I don’t know what that says about me — probably best not to dwell on these things.

    My husband likes NCIS, which is incredible because he hates TV in general. I haven’t cracked the code on why he likes it, but I enjoy Ziva, so I don’t complain. I gave up Criminal Minds when Mandy Patinkin left. The guy from Dharma and Greg looks just like my aunt’s ex-fiance and I can’t help hating him. Not his fault, but I can’t help it.

    We really don’t watch much TV. It’s just a matter of what we catch while flipping through. These are just the shows that I generally stop for.

    Oh, and House. Obviously.

  62. Susan says:

    I have been really into The Good Wife and Castle. The Big Bang Theory is hilarious. Hope this helps!

  63. Erin says:

    Oh hey, just saw that you responded to my post!

    We usually watch iTunes and Hulu shows on our laptop, though apparently there is some mystical way of hooking it up to our TV if we so desire. I don’t pretend to understand these things.

    Hub’s plan is to eventually get a Mac mini hard drive that would be our dedicated Netflix/Hulu/iTunes watching gizmo. Of course, his 7 year old MacBook just drew its last breath and will have to be replaced, so our dream of a cable-free utopian existence has been put on hold for the moment.

  64. Carey says:

    You have to watch Raising Hope – it’s the funniest show on TV right now. Fringe, Chuck, all good- and *ahem* not that I watch it, but season 2 of Vamp Diaries has been better than season 1.

  65. Mandy says:

    Hi Jules,

    My husband and I have not had cable tv since 1998. But I have been addicted to watching huge blocks of entire seasons of shows since we re-upped with Netflix and do the streaming thing.

    We just hooked an old computer to the tv and put it in a cabinet underneath. It’s awesome (like everyone else said) except I end up staying up super-late sometimes when I find a show to get hooked on. I watched 5 seasons of Weeds in a matter of a very few weeks – all of Arrested Development in a matter of days,etc etc. and right now I am watching a ridiculously awesome Canadian show Trailer Park Boys (totally stupid awesome)

    Oh! Yes! By the way,*** try YouTube for the most up-to-date episodes of True Blood***. They are probably on there somewhere.

    I am so addicted to Weeds (the show….) that I needed to find the current season, and there is some angel who posts new episodes to YouTube within a day or so of them airing on tv. Your shows probably have angel-techgeek-fans too!

    Cable-less, but still watching
    Mandy

  66. Julie says:

    We got Tivo about a year ago and love, love, love it. Now we watch what we want when we want to. :-) Here are our favs:
    Comedies: Modern Family & Big Bang Theory. H.I.L.A.R.I.O.U.S.
    Dramas: um, ….none
    Crime: Bones (why can’t Bones & Booth hook up already?) & CSI: NY & NCIS
    And LOTS of football – college & NFL. Love football!

  67. Sara Jane says:

    As somebody who is OBSESSED with good television (and some terrible television) I fear that I’m about to write a really long comment.

    Laughed aloud at your Willem Dafoe remark. He is the stuff nightmares are made of. I used to love Perez but I stopped reading him after the Carrie Prejean debaucle. He was getting too mean and catty even for him. I still check occasionally if I hear of some rumor I want confirmed/denied.

    Okay, as far as TV shows to watch, I have quite a list so I’ll break them into categories.

    Comedy
    -30 Rock – hilarious, smart, self-deprecating humor that I love.
    -It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – make sure the kids are in bed before watching. So innapropriate but so funny that I have to pause every few minutes so I can howl aloud without missing anything.
    -Psych – underappreciated but so quick and funny. (Comes on USA Network on the off seasons)
    -Arrested Development – I know it doesn’t come on TV anymore but if you haven’t watched it online, you simply must. One of the best shows ever.
    -Community – silly and fun but still somewhat snarky (and I could eat Joel McHale with a spoon)
    -American Dad/Family Guy – Just about everybody thinks Family Guy is hilarious but I think I like American Dad better. The Roger the alien character kills me.

    Gritty
    -Breaking Bad – OMG, Jules. You’ve GOT to watch. So f-ing good, I can’t even take it.
    -Dexter – it makes me sad that he’s a serial killer too and I really wish they hadn’t killed off Rita but I can’t help but love it.

    Guilty Pleasures
    -The Tudors – somebody above said it was historically accurate but I’m going to have to politely disagree, they took a lot of creative licenses. Super smutty and fun to watch though.
    -Weeds – I hate Mary Louise Parker’s character so much that I just want to run over her with my car but I cannot stop watching.
    -Hoarders – I can’t look away from the trainwreck. Maybe I like it because my poor housekeeping doesn’t look so bad in comparison?
    -Swamp People/Billy the Exterminator/Dog the Bounty Hunter – I can’t even believe that these are real people sometimes.

    I’m sure I have about 8 zillion other shows that I just can’t remember right now. I love Glee too and I’ve heard Modern Family is good but I’m never home when it comes on and I never think to watch it online. I’ll finish this novella off with one final plea: watch Breaking Bad!

    • Jules says:

      SWAMP PEOPLE! The Mister is obsessed with that show whenever he happens to catch it. I admit, I watch it with him sometimes. SO CRAZY. Crazy. Unbelievable. I make him turn off Dog when it’s on. I can’t handle the stupid!

  68. Brigitte says:

    Jules — I don’t do Netflix, but I do watch most of my TV online. When we ditched cable, we put our old desktop computer in our credenza and hooked it straight into the TV.

    You can do that with any computer (if your TV is new enough)…you just need a cord.

  69. Adrian says:

    I didn’t read all the responses so some of this could be a repeat but these are my must watch shows of the week: Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire (new to HBO so you might have to check it out once it comes available on Netflix or something), Glee, 40 Rock, The Office, Chuck, Grey’s Anatomy, Big Love, Entourage, and Modern Family. They’re all great! And don’t you just love Hulu? Sometimes my DVR gets so full that I have to catch some of the episodes there and it’s perfect. Good luck finding new shows you guys love.

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Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.