Columnist: A TV lover’s lament |

Columnist: A TV lover’s lament

Kristen Hansen Brakeman
Special to The Daily
Vail CO, Colorado

I love to watch TV. There, I said it. I know it’s not a cool or trendy thing to admit, but I like coming home from work, getting the kids into their beds and enjoying a dose of completely passive entertainment.

I don’t want to TiVo. I don’t want to download. I want to flip on the television and watch the way God and Madison Avenue intended: slack-jawed, with my feet up on the coffee table. After a long day of working or looking after my three children, I feel I deserve to be entertained.

Unfortunately, my nightly relaxation ritual has been ruined by the writers’ strike. Or, perhaps I should say the Motion Picture Alliance’s unwillingness to negotiate in earnest with the Writers Guild of America. And I’m pretty annoyed.

I’ve been doing my part to keep the system working: I watch television, including the commercials. I purchase some of the products I’ve seen advertised (OK, a lot of products). I, like millions of Americans, toe the line. Yet we’re the ones being punished.

I get that the plight of the thousands of workers without paychecks this holiday season means little to an industry run by corporations interested in their bottom lines. And I respect the writers’ reasons for striking. I don’t begrudge them wanting payment for work that goes on the Web or royalties from DVD sales.

But lost in all this is the average TV-watching consumer.

I feel like the strike is punishing me ” which makes no sense ” by taking my shows away. Will I ever get to find out whether Lynette’s family was wiped off the planet by that tornado on “Desperate Housewives”? When will I learn whether the killer virus on “Heroes” was truly destroyed? And who am I going to mock if I’m deprived of Meredith’s whining on “Grey’s Anatomy”?

Lacking new scripted shows, the networks are throwing anything and everything up on the airwaves, and I’m insulted that they think I am going to watch.

I won’t be tuning in to their stupid reality shows. I don’t care who is crowned America’s Next Top Model. I just want those girls to eat a good meal so they can stop being so grumpy. And I don’t want to watch the hunt for the next “hot” new choir or fashion photographer or accountant, either. I definitely don’t want to watch a show about what life would be like if kids ruled the nation. That’s pretty much how things are at my house, anyway.

In a time when networks say they are concerned about losing viewers to the Internet, they seem to be ushering us toward the computer. Shouldn’t traditional TV viewers be rewarded for their years of dedication? And let me tell you, I’ve defended commercial TV through some pretty dark times ” “Baywatch Nights,” “Hart to Hart” and even “The Greatest American Hero.”

But I can take only so much abuse. I have no shows left. Rest assured, I’ll find something else to do, some other way to wind down ” clean the closets, learn to cook, talk to my husband if I have to. Or, maybe, I might just check out YouTube.

The writer is a freelance television production supervisor in Los Angeles. This column is distributed through the L.A. Times-Washington Post News Service.

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