Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Late-Night Thoughts on Watching Supernatural

I have a habit of not really 'watching' tv when I'm watching tv. I tend to be cooking or cleaning, or sorting and scanning old newspapers to get rid of, or doing something else that doesn't require all of my (ever-diminishing) brain power. I used to think this was actually a fairly virtuous habit - my dad used to call the television the 'idiot box', after all, and if I wasn't actually just sitting on the couch watching then I wasn't a couch potato.

A few years ago, I read a book about how to better use your time. I don't remember all that much about it (yes, that's right, I ignored all of its sound advice and I'm having a blast just flinging my time around profligately, thank-you very much), but I do remember the suggestion that if you were going to watch a television program, maybe you should actually just sit down and watch it with all of your attention, and if it wasn't worth that, then maybe you shouldn't watch it at all.

I still have trouble doing this with the actual television, especially if I'm alone. On one of Zarah's visits, she asked if I'd watched Sherlock, and I said yes, but then realized that I'd been doing my usual flitting around while it was on and I really had very little idea of what had been happening. So I sat down and watched it with her and then smacked myself in the head for almost missing a freaking brilliant example of acting, writing and directing.

I can, however, focus exclusively on what I'm watching if I curl up in a chair with my ipad. It's like six feet of intervening space between my face and the show just leaves too much room for distraction (and if I sit too close to the tv I hear my mom yelling "don't sit there, you'll go blind!")

So if I really want to watch something I try to sit myself down with my ipad and devote my whole attention to it. This means I often don't watch an hour-long show or even a half-hour long show all at once - if I find my attention wandering I stop and go do something else. It also means that when I rewatch series on Netflix that I originally watched week to week on television, I discover multitudes of details that I missed the first time around, as well as rediscovering things lost to my child-trampled, age-shredded memory.
Photo by JMiu

I started watching Supernatural right at the beginning, ten years ago - TEN YEARS AGO. I had a four-year-old and a one-year-old. I wasn't paying close attention to anything except whether nipple cream was on sale and if what I was about to eat was relatively poop-free. But it was a fun diversion and I love anything that's both scary and funny and has interesting characters.

I watched more-or-less faithfully, although the channel it was on complicated matters - I PVR almost everything to watch later, and I can't remember why, but it was sometimes hard to catch, and if I missed it, it was one of the few shows I couldn't catch up on with On Demand.

Recently, I realized that I didn't even know whether it was still on, and that I had recorded the season 9 finale on the PVR and hadn't even bothered to watch it. I'd sort of lost the plot and wasn't sure whether I felt like trying to pick it up again. Then I decided to rewatch it on Netflix from the beginning. It seemed like a good idea. The weather was still crappy, I was on some enforced rest for a sore foot, and I was taking two annoying courses with assignments that needed a suitable reward.

It wasn't the greatest idea. I'm a little OCD, and when I get into something I really get into it, and did I mention there are NINE SEASONS on Netflix? And not Walking-Dead-ten-episode-seasons. We're talking something in the neighbourhood of TWO HUNDRED FREAKING HOURS. My reading has fallen way off. I've thrown clean clothes in the wash just to have laundry to fold because I can do that watching the ipad. You know that expression "when you hear hoofbeats, think of horses, not zebras?" I think of hellhounds. With, um, hooves, instead of just evil, um, paws - you get the picture. Yesterday Eve was going to the park with her friend and realized she only has winter boots, no sneakers, because her last ones were so gross we threw them out when the snow came and forgot to buy new ones. Her friend was wearing Doc Martens, so I went down and grabbed an old pair of mine for Eve to try on. She put one on, and said "fits okay, but it's soulless". I was about to dash to the kitchen for salt and matches, and she said "they just need some in-soles." (Sorry).

In my next post: thoughts that are actually ABOUT Supernatural. Right now I have a date with my chair and my ipad.


Nicole said...

I totally get this. I often am doing other things while "watching" tv. The only exception is if I'm watching some series that I'm emotionally invested in, like Mad Men.

Maggie said...

Is it wrong that I am so happy to know that I'm not alone in throwing a load of laundry in just so I have an excuse to watch TV (while folding)? There are two shows I watch without doing something else: Game of Thrones and Mad Med, everything else is either an excuse to fold laundry or the reason I do laundry (chicken and egg).

Amy said...

I am completely incapable of just watching TV. I have to be doing something else (like reading blogs) or I got a little nuts.

Hannah said...

Since I started watching The Mindy Project the laundry has been more caught up than ever. EVER. Because it's the perfect show to watch while performing a mindless task. And yes, I have been known to prowl through the house looking for laundry to do JUST so I can sit for twenty minutes and watch an episode.

I want to try and watch "Damages" on Netflix but it is sixty-some episodes and OMG COMMITMENT PANIC AT THE DISCO. If I love a show, I will binge like I'm starving and someone handed me a giant bag of chips. I'm terrified I might like it and my life will spiral out of control because of it.

Steph Lovelady said...

I've noticed I'm much more likely to run errands or do housework if I have a bunch of podcasts or an audiobook. If I have nothing to listen to, I start thinking why bother?

Julie L said...

I HAVE to start watching Supernatural. Seriously, I must. I usually knit to feel less guilty.