Collaborative TV Watching

No, this isn’t about the Babylon 5 bookclub. Rather, it’s about Russell’s post and Kazzy’s recent comment on watching TV with and around spousal units (I can’t remember which post it is attached to.

Clancy doesn’t like television. Historically, anyway, she’s hated it. It goes back to some old family issues and her love of reading. It’s only after having married me that she has begun to appreciate that there are at least some TV shows out there that aren’t crap.

Which is great! Because now, she doesn’t think less of me for watching television. The downside is that (a) she still hates a lot of it and (b) she really likes some of it. This means I have to do a balancing act when she’s around. Because often, she’s trying to do notes and charts while I am watching a program. She hates laughtracks and finds them extremely distracting. She also doesn’t like hokey humor (which often coincides with laugh tracks). Dramas are okay, except that they can be a bit problematic when they are too obviously manipulative. Which does this thing where they grab her attention, and not in the terrible way that laughtrack comedies do, but not in a good way where she feels okay about being distracted.

So on the one hand, I try to avoid things that are going to distract her. She has a lot on her plate and it isn’t helpful to her getting things done. She would prefer that I be in the same room with her, even if I am watching TV, so I don’t want to go to the other room, but it has to be just the right flavor so that I am not keeping her from her work. (I should note here that she never gets angry with me about this. I just don’t want to do it.)

On the other end of the spectrum are shows that she starts to really like. This becomes a problem because she gets upset with me if I start watching it without her. But she has so little time to watch anything, if I wait until she has time, I’ll never actually get to see it. I’m 1.5 seasons behind on Homeland, two seasons behind on Good Wife, and I still haven’t seen the end of Rubicon.

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.


  1. I just finished the Simpsons this year, pal. You’re way ahead of me.

  2. Heh… we have this argument on all levels.

    There are shows Zazzy likes. There are shows I like. There are shows we both like. And there are shows that one likes and the other despises.

    Where we run into trouble, or at least did pre-Mayonnaise, was Zazzy’s much stronger desire to always be together when we were both home. Often, she would be watching some terrible show… “New Girl”, “Girls”, “Golden Girls”… and I would simply say, “Alright, I’ll go watch the game in the basement.”
    “No, you can watch it up here.”
    “But you don’t want to watch the game. You want to watch your show.”
    “But I want to be with you.”
    “I want to be with you, too. But we can be apart, too, sometimes.”
    “No, just watch the game up here.”
    “Okay, but you can’t complain that we’re watching my show.”
    [Five minutes later]
    “Why didn’t you tell me it was a Thunder game? You know I love Durant*. And, hey, there’s that guy with the beard you like on the red team**.”
    “I love you.”

    Then there are the time where we both like a show.
    “Hey, want to catch up on ‘Real World’?”
    “Oh. I already watched that.”
    “But… I hadn’t watched it because I figured we’d do it together.”
    “Yea, but I was bored and it was on the DVR.”
    Believe it or not, she is always the one watching with out me. I usually give her multiple warnings before actually moving on without her.

    Most conversations end up going like this, though…
    “I don’t want to watch that.”
    “Does it matter what you want? You’re going to fall asleep in five minutes anyway.”
    “Someone has to be the curmudgeon in our family.”
    I’m the one falling asleep, in case it wasn’t obvious.

    This has all changed somewhat with Mayonnaise on board. She’s home with him so I give her carte blanche to watch any of our shows to pass the time. I also now put much more of an emphasis on us being together in the house, since our time together is more limited and it often doubles as time with Mayonnaise. And it is not that I often want to be apart from her… we’re generally together no matter what. But I’m more comfortable spending a few hours apart but under the same roof once or twice a week than she. Or at least I used to be.

    * Zazzy really does love Kevin Durant. One day, she asked me why I thought she was drawn to him. “Isn’t it obvious?” I said. “He has sad eyes. You feel for people with sad eyes.”
    ** She meant James Harden. Who I *do* love!
    All this should serve as encouragement to Russell. If I can get Zazzy to understand and follow basketball, a sport she never played or watched before me, there might be hope for him yet.

    • Golden Girls was a quality show. Bea Arthur was viciously funny. Don’t let the fact that it starred four old ladies throw you.

      And Harden has really come into his own being traded to the Rockets.

      • I actually agree on Golden Girls. In fact, due to the fact that it centered around older characters, it was and is quite revolutionary in its own way. It wouldn’t be made today.

        • She doesn’t ACTUALLY watch GG… I was simply riffing off how two of her favorite shows have the word “girl” in the title. I apologize for the confusion.

  3. There needs to be a convenient way to connect earphones to a television.

  4. This would have been a deal-breaker for me.

    I once broke up with a girl because she asked me, “You aren’t one of those losers who can quote Seinfeld, are you?”

      • Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    • Seinfeld, the show you really could write for without knowing any of the character names…

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