Joco Diversions

Feeling remote about watching TV

There are too many choices these days when it comes to TV watching.
There are too many choices these days when it comes to TV watching. AP

Now that we’ve launched our kids it’s been just me and my husband consuming the pixels. I look at our cable bill and wonder what the heck we’re doing. Then I realize exactly what we’re doing: holding a fire-breathing creme brulee torch to a stack of twenty dollar bills. Every single month.

With two fewer people under our roof, I’m not sure we’re getting our money’s worth. But there are things I like about buying channels. I do feel obligated to up-stress with large doses of various news/weather options. It’s a civics thing. And my husband likes to de-stress with sports stuff. Yet I believe we delve into a fraction of what we’re paying for.

The return of “Game of Thrones” reignited this anxiety. A few years back, my husband and I caught every season in a compressed amount of time. It’s not something I ever thought I’d watch, but I suppose the show’s imaginative world was an escape from actual breaking news.

So now I wonder aloud to my houseplants, “Which TV will we watch it on? Wait, I can’t remember, did we rent it on DVD? Or did we access that show with the Roku TV? And what does Roku mean, anyway? What exactly is “streaming” and why am I so intimidated about finding a show, any show?”

I worry about our possible watching plan, because I can’t remember, is “Game of Thrones” on HBO or Netflix? For all I know maybe we used to watch it on HGTV. After all, Lannister palaces are perfectly open concept and most rooms on that show are loaded with stainless steel, albeit Valyrian. Programming no longer makes sense, just money.

That’s the problem with TV today. People rave about shows, like that “Mrs. Maisel” series. I get hopeful until I read it’s on Amazon or something, and then I wonder if I have Amazon or HULU or an Apple Watch hologram Vulcan mind-meld download.

Then I just give up because I have no idea what I’m paying for and I’m certainly not going to add any more option$.

I’m also struggling with remotes. We have many, many remotes. Some turn on the TV. Some adjust sound. Others access menus. A couple we never touch. They just linger there on the coffee table, and I don’t know why.

Thanks to my husband’s manly habit of extreme channel surfing, he instinctively knows which remote does what, and if one were to break I think within minutes he could build a replacement with a soldering tool, an old toaster and a few rubber bands. But when he’s not home, I default to watching two channels and the squirrel in my maple tree.

So here it comes, the dreaded spiel that empties every room of millennials. There are days I would trade this whole heap of entertaino-technology for the oak-encased Magnavox console of my childhood. How I long for a clunky dial and just three network channels, sweet Mr. Rogers on PBS and the Star Spangled Banner at midnight.

Life was simpler. As a nation, we consumed more books and other paper-based read-ables because we weren’t sucked into high-dollar fiction and other low-dollar fiction posing as reality.

Mean-spirited shows about bachelors, bachelorettes, housewives, talent competitions and other wackadoodle concepts are cashing in on the drama of cruelty, which seems to be seeping into other areas of our society. That’s a whole dissertation I don’t have room for here, but I think the dots are easy to connect.

At least dragon glass is imaginary and we can all agree on that. What’s real is my cable bill. I need to take a serious look at it.

After I find out what happens to Peter Dinklage.

Reach Denise Snodell at or on Twitter @DeniseSnodell