Saturday, November 04, 2006

Momma's Stories

Watching tv makes me a better mom.

I don't mean that watching tv makes me a better mom than YOU, I mean that it makes me the best mom I can be. It's the escape and peace I hope to gain from watching perfectly timed tv in the privacy of my own home that can get me through the terrible two's, which have started 6 months early, "queen bee" issues with the 3 year-old, and hours of pretending to be interested in Pokemon. And, no, in case you were wondering, I don't want to catch them all.

I'm getting pretty tired of everybody blaming all of society's ills on television. They talk about all the crap that's on tv, but they don't mention the societal benefits tv offers like INFORMATION and COMMUNITY and a pathway to WORLD PEACE. Man, it's like we're living in the dark ages. When I lived in England, everyone in the entire country watched "Pop Idol" and "Big Brother." We all, no matter our differences in religion, race, or education, had something to talk about. Together. It's really beautiful if you stop and think about it.

But I don't really feel like justifying my need for tv. Some things are just too personal to talk about. My good friend, Eric D. supports me in my habit, and has really encouraged it more than anyone over the years. I really owe some of my best tv-watching hours to him. He hates it when people who don't watch tv SAY they don't watch tv, because it's not like they ever say it matter-of-factly. It's always in a judgmental tone, like they don't watch tv because they're doing something infinitely more important. Like, while you are wasting your time watching some random show, they're busy curing cancer or reading to the blind. And I will add that there's nothing "random" about my tv viewing.

So imagine my HORROR when my sister GINA was chosen to be a part of the Nielsen Rating's Family! "THE FAMILY!" This was a big blow to me. It's no secret that I heart tv, but, more importantly, I'm really, really good at it. I know how to pick 'em, and I'm a loyal viewer. For example, lots of people have given up on ER--which used to be the hot show, you know--but I haven't. Yes, it's a little depressing and unrealistic, but I keep watching. I picked "Arrested Development," "24," "Lost," and "The Office," and stopped watching "Six Degrees" and "Brothers and Sisters." I know a winner when I see it. Why didn't they choose ME?

I've tried to influence Gina, and thereby influence the world, by telling her what to "watch," but being the straight line in a twin cardigan set that she is, she doesn't even want me to MENTION a show's name for fear of tampering her family's response. (Imagine me yelling "Watch Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip! IT"S ON THE SUNSET STRIP!!!" while Gina's plugging her ears and running away from me humming "God Bless America"). We both worked at Gallup Polls (like everyone who ever lived in Lincoln, Nebraska), so we will both carry the responsibility of knowing what tampers a survey. It's information we'd like to forget, but we know we can't, and Gina won't pretend to forget (if I had a nickel. . . ).

So, speaking of tv, might I recommend watching an upcoming VH1 special featuring Kiefer Sutherland's documentary about a band he's "managing" entitled "I Trust You to Kill Me." OF COURSE one of the band members is my sister, Amanda's ex-boyfriend (why can't one of MY ex-boyfriends show up on "E-Extra"?!). I'll let you guess which one. If you do watch, and you buy me dinner, I might be persuaded to tell you an interesting story or two about said documentary. And of course, I'll be doing it to get some MUCH NEEDED attention.

26 comments:

This is me said...

When I was in high school, my family was part of THE FAMILY. Not to make you jealous or anything.

And, amen to ER (I haven't given over ten years of viewership to that show to quit now) and Studio 60. Both are awesome.

Bek said...

My sister worked for The Family. She is the one that had to drive to everyone's house and try to make the be involved. Some people really hated it and she had to take them to dinner, etc. Random, huh?

That Amanda. She does have the coolest ex-boy friends in the family I think (not that a few of yours weren't in the running.....dreadlock, anyone?).

Glad you are writing again. Now don't stop for a long, long time...

Hailey said...

Lisa, you know your blog made my day...

Also, since I have been privileged enough to hear the Kiefer "story," thanks for the heads-up on the upcoming special!

Alexiev said...

Muy interesante Blog...

Suerte...

Saludos desde Buenos Aires...

petie said...

I'm always surprised when someone asks what new or existing shows they should watch. I'm happy for them, of course, for branching out into the wonderful world of TV, but at our house we Tivo almost every new show that premiers, then try to cut out one or two once we get overwhelmed by Tivo's trusty recordings. The worst thing we could possibly imagine is TV remorse -- not watching a show that then gets huge buzz or, in the case of ER, picks up in the 10th season.

Seriously, though. . .I could not get through my day if I didn't have that 45 minutes of Tivo and a diet coke when my kids go down for their naps.

Gina! Just TURN IT ON Veronica Mars. You don't have to watch it!

lisa v. clark said...

Petie, it's no use. I just got off the phone with Gina, and she yelled at me and told me the envelope was ALREADY SEALED SO GET OFF MY BACK! I can't believe we came from the same home.

Yeah for diet coke (Coke Zero for me, please) and tivo naps! I'd never make it till bedtime without them. (who works 14 hours without a break?! women of the world: relax!)

wendysue said...

I know who you're talking about (Mrs. "We didn't have a TV growing up. . . .")! See what happens to kids that have to grow up that way??

"I will add that there's nothing "random" about my tv viewing"--see, we really ARE twins!

I have a new ad for you. . .Nothing comes between me and my DVR. . .NOTHING.

Are you really surprised that Gina got picked? Really. . .she does live on Wisteria lane. . .I just hope she doesn't ruin it for all of us!

Oh, and Bek beat me to the dreadlock comment. . .now THAT story belongs on tv!! That and the purple car with the restroom sign.

i miss you.

Josh said...

My question is: Is Gina really a permanent member of the family, or did she just do one of those weeklong surveys where you fill out a TV journal for a week. Or is that all Nelson does? Are there permanent members? HOW DOES THIS ALL WORK AND IS THERE NO JUSTICE IN THE UNIVERSE!! I've always thought it was pretty special that if you say you like TV you are a fat, lazy slob with zero intelligence, but if you say you like Film, you are a clever intellectual who is slim and dressed all in black. I think the best writing and acting in the world right now is going on on TV, and not in the movies. And Lisa, no pressure, but please don't leave us blogless for so long ever again.

bexi said...

Did I mention my roomies in Orlando have tivo (or dvr, whatever that contraption is...) and they record stuff for me? I'm back, baby.

My absence from TV land was never a thing of snobbery, though. This is the girl who has seen EVERY episode of 90210 and I'm better for it. (Yes, better than everyone else!!) But it's been more of a passive-aggressive break-up. We just lost the spark. But TV and I are doing it awesome. My favorites? Veronica Mars, The Office, Studio 60 (just one episode and I'm hooked), House (hate the show, love Hugh Laurie), and Nip/Tuck. I know, I know, it's awful but I love me some Dr. Troy.

Please note, that even though I work for Disney, I don't watch any ABC shows. That's called stickin' it to the man. Oh, I do love ESPN. Darn.

Seriously Lisa. No more dry blog spells for you!

AzĂșcar said...

AMEN and HALLELUJAH. I'm proof that you can be intelligent and an avid TV watcher (I think Frontline makes me smartererest.) I grew up in a home without TV and guess what--my DVR is always 70% full because I lurve it.

I will totally buy you dinner in exchange for dirt on other people. That's just the kind of TV watcher I am.

Oh GINA.

(Seriously: Veronica Mars, is that too much to ask for?)

christopher clark said...

Bexi! Shout out for NIP/TUCK! Finally I'm not the only ho from next do who watches this eminently trashy series.

Lisa aint kidding about her stories, folks. Our DVR works around the clock. I just wish we bridge the gulf between the shows we both love and the ones I can't handle (Gilmore Girls, Grey's Anatomy, and Desperate Housewives) Well, all marriages have their challenges.

nie nie said...

so are you still in with ER?

Dana H said...

Hey Lisa! I've been thinking about you lately...we should chat! :) Totally with you on the whole TV thing!! We have a divided household on the ER thing... Kelley's still faithfully watching, while I've moved on to "Mc Dreamy!"

lisa v. clark said...

Topher, I watch "DH" IRONICALLY. . . sheesh! And I watch Amazing Race with you even though it gives me a headache and causes me anxiety.

NieNie, I know better than to answer your questions about tv. I've been in the Clark family for 11 years. I've learned a thing or two. . .

dana H--I knew I could count on you!

c jane said...

The last episode I watched of ER was the one with the handsome sheriff in Colorado. After that, my thirst was quenched and I moved on to the Discovery Channel.

Kate said...

I worked for Nielsen TV Ratings. I was the very first membership recruiter for the state of Utah. Important stuff eh?

People who already knew about Nielsens would sign on in a jiffy, people who didn't, thought I was working for the government and had come to spy on them. Despite what Bek said, I never took them to dinner, I didn't have that kind of budget, I just had to use my charm to get them to sign up. Luckily I've got that in spades.

Now, from the comments, it sounds like Gina was doing the diary, right? She doesn't actually have the 'little black box' connected to her TV's does she?

If it makes you feel better, the diaries (as they're called) are not a main source of data for NMR (Nielsen Media Research). Nope, they do contribute something, but the networks don't care about that information as much because it's usually outdated because of the mail time and time it takes to be counted etc.

The really big hitters that the networks care about are the little black boxes. They record any channel that's on longer than 30 seconds. They especially love the houses where there is a special remote control for the TV and box and everytime someone sits down to watch TV you have to program in your code. That way they know who's watching by gender and age. For example the 18-35 market is very coveted. And a show like The Office, which isn't rating very high overall in ratings, but is sweeping the ratings in that demographic is one the network will keep.

Fascinating stuff eh?

Anyway, there's your lesson for the day...

Oh, and I'm so digging ER this season. I heart Neela.

Design Mom said...

Lisa, Olive thanks HF for TV in every prayer. And I always say AMEN.

Chris, Ben can't handle Gilmore Girls either. I've agreed not to watch GG, and he's agreed not to watch sports, during our mutual TV time. It's our special compromise.

AzĂșcar said...

Oh Design Mom--so glad to hear that I'm not the only one who has a child who thanks HF for TV in his prayers. A couple weeks ago he threw in a spontaneous "Thank you for Blue's Clues" and it has remained a staple (he won't even be three for another month.)

A. Nonny Mouse said...

I find it hard to believe that anybody who considers themselves at all immersed in modern popular culture would not like the Gilmore Girls. I mean, come on!

Secondly, I too would like to send a shout out to my peeps over at Studio 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP!!! Keep it rockin' guys. Keep it rockin'. (Did anybody else notice that all the Hollywood types said "Nev-ahda" like they were all snooty, while all the people from Pahrump [served my mission there, w00t!] said "Nev-ada" with the first "a" rhyming with "rat"?))

A Payne said...

Tivo has made me a better mom and by that I mean, better than most. Oh yes.

I watched McSteamy say over and over again. "Fine. No pickle for you."

Queso said...

You are so my friend. And it's because of people like you that Studio 60 is coming back.

Now if we could just do something to bring Love Monkey back. Only then can the world be better.

nie nie said...

lisa

what do you mean?

lisa v. clark said...

I mean I heart tv and most of the Clarks don't!

Haley said...

Lisa, I heart tv and I heart you. I'm so glad to be your neighbor and hope you will call me soon on a Thursday night for The Office. I'll provide the popcorn and candy. Heart, Heart, Haley

lisa v. clark said...

Oh Haley! And now you know how excited I am for that Thursday Night lineup: SCRUBS in the mix, too?! Christmas came early for me. . . and just so you know, I always have the "box of fun" at my house: Treats galore. Put the kids to bed and come on over!

Valentine said...

so, I haven't seen the documentary yet, but my CURRENT boyfriend has. a-c-k-w-a-r-d....