Tag Archives: television

Yep…You’re Cool!

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Yep…You’re Cool

My son slipped on the glasses, sat in the chair and his oldest sister said “no! You have to put your hand on your chin like he does!”

My son put the hand there, an upright “thinker” position and said “just call me Dave Manoucheri, investigative reporter!”

It got a chuckle out of me…an outright burst of laughter from the rest of the room.

My children, after four years of my working at my job, had never come to my work and actually seen what I do every day. They had been visiting a museum and decided to stop by and say hello. When they reminded me they’d never seen a newscast and how it operates I figured the least I could do was let them do that.

The boys were amazed. When robotic cameras went moving around on the floor unaided by human hands the boy up there was awestruck. When they met the anchors they see on the television they were . . . well . . . awestruck again.  When they saw the editing booths, the cameras, the giant empty studio we use for everything else they were flabbergasted.

“Which is your desk,” they had asked me after the tour.
“The one with what looks like a shrine to you four,” a colleague informed them. I hadn’t thought about it, but yes…I have a lot of pictures of my kids sitting on my desk. I’m very proud of them. They have persevered through a lot of terrible, horrible things and they aren’t at all bitter about it.

Not to say that I haven’t been informed of the major limitations of my parenting abilities by, particularly, my two daughters. There are a lot of things about raising girls that you really need to have a woman around to help you with and I just didn’t. It was better, though, for me to stumble along than to bring someone in with no connection to them whatsoever just so they’d have a female adult in the household. I stand by that decision.

“This is so cool,” my sons said of the television station where I work.
“I thought you’d all been here before,” I told them.
“Well, yeah, but we didn’t really get to see anything,” they told me.

Their older sister wasn’t as impressed.  When she was a toddler she was in live shots and segments for the news all the time.  I worked in a consumer unit and we always needed video of a kid doing something or a home for a backdrop, which was always mine.  It was second nature for her to be on television.

Your work is so cool, said my middle daughter. “So are the people you work with.  Tell them we said that!” she added.
“Dad’s cool, too,” said my son.
“Nah…I’m just Dad,” I told him.
“No…you get to do all these things, you changed a law, you play guitar, you are in a band with a guy that played with all these famous people…you’re pretty cool,” he told me.

My kids got to see that my out-of-home life was far more complex and intense than they thought. It was a wonder to them that I get to do all this stuff and then still come home and quote Monty Python to them.

I was just starting to bask in the admiration of the “coolness” they’d bestowed upon me when my other son decided to copy his Dad at the desk.

He put on the glasses, looked up and went “whoah…ugh…man, you can’t see very well can you!”

Aaaaand…thus endeth the coolness.

All in the Procedurals

Procedurals.

That’s the TV term for television shows that, for the most part, have a singular story at the heart of each episode.  It’s not a gigantic story arc like others.

So when people come to me completely aghast that I haven’t watched, say, Breaking Bad and don’t know their Walter White-isms, they seem completely taken aback.
“It’s the greatest show since The Wire” the TV show Family Guy satirized a few years back.  Funny thing is I’ve actually had people say that.  I did watch The Wire, it was in the days after my wife passed away, the days before her funeral.  That was when I was on family leave and couldn’t really face the world.

But there are only a few things that stick that are those season-long story arcs.  Doctor Who is a fixture in our home.  I’ll watch it every Saturday and that makes it easy as it’s a weekend.  Sherlock.  Not the crappy CBS version that has Lucy Liu as Watson and is basically CSI with a British accent.  No, the Steven Moffat/Mark Gatiss version that’s on PBS.  Why?  It’s insanely well written, acted, shot, edited and is only 3 episodes long.  It’s a hour and a half each, like a feature film, and isn’t on a weekday.

I have a DVR filled with old recordings I’ve never watched.  I didn’t get past season 2 of The Walking Dead.  I don’t watch 24.  My daughter poked fun of me when she came home from college because I had on a crappy episode of CSI and followed that with another crappy procedural of Hawaii 5-o.  My reaction to her was simple: I don’t have the time to put into those season-long shows.  I don’t have the attention span.  I don’t have the time and I have too many other things to do in the meantime.  I can have on a crappy procedural with bad puns and poor writing while I cook dinner, make lunches or bake cookies.  I can vacuum the floor for a 1/2 hour and still not have any problem keeping up with the plot line.  It’s usually that simple.

So tonight I sit, the last of PBS’ Downton Abbey on the screen and I write.  In about 15 minutes I’ll immerse myself in the one overlying story arc that taps my imagination.  I’ll listen to the quick as a whip dialogue in Sherlock and allow myself the one day of the week I won’t get up at 5:30am and walk . . . tomorrow morning.  After all, Sherlock is on until 11:30pm.

But it’s not about the shows.  Maybe I was more like my mother all along and never realized it.  Maybe I just changed a lot, but the time spent on the couch watching television is time where I could be planning ahead or doing my taxes or working on something else.

It’s the procedurals that give me background noise and take no attention that make the most sense.  It’s not like I like the shows, I actually barely tolerate them.  But with an episode of Bones playing in the background it’s barely more than having the stereo blaring, which I do quite often.  More often than the television these days.

And that’s okay.  The procedurals do what they’re meant to do . . . stay in the background.  Others may sit in rapt attention, time wasting away . . . for me, they keep me from wasting precious moments, be they with the kids or keeping up with the daily rituals.