Pop Culture Update: What I’m Watching

October 29, 2009 at 8:08 am | Posted in celebrity obsession, the media | 2 Comments

There are far more productive ways to spend one’s evening than in front of the TV.  If you are an attorney, for example, you can bill some quality hours at home at night (and indeed I do, when I must).  You can read – The New Yorker, for example, or a book for your book club (which you never attend because you never have time to read the book).  You can go to bed early, so that you can get up early and do something productive in the morning (such as exercise).  Despite my post yesterday extolling the benefits of breaking out of routine, however, generally I just like to watch TV.  I’m a pop culture junkie, and I’m proud.  Other than on Friday nights, when both my People and Us Weekly have arrived and I curl up in bed with my celebrity gossip trash at 8 p.m. (not sure they count as productive reading), I like to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine (not these days, sob!) and decompress in that most American way.   

I didn’t watch a lot of TV until I went to law school.  I read a lot.  I wrote.  I went to sleep early.  In fact, for a few years, I didn’t even own a TV (perhaps Iwas living out an intellectual aesthete’s fancy? That was misguided.).  In law school, however, after a day and usually part of an evening reading case law in very fine print, your brain is quite literally unable to process another word.  TV becomes the ultimate — and only — escape.  I watched so much TV in law school that I was even DVR’ing re-runs of Cold Case on the USA network.  Happily, these days, the queue is much smaller (sort of):

60 Minutes — I DVR this, but rarely go back and watch if I haven’t caught it live, but it has become our Sunday night tradition to eat dinner in front of Morley and the gang and make fun of Andy Rooney. (By the way, Lesley Stahl’s biography, Reporting Live, is very good.)
Gossip Girl — although I’m about to give up on this. Somehow everyone has ended up at NYU together, and sex and alcohol are just not as racy in college as they are in prep school. That being said, I’m surprisingly enchanted by Hillary Duff’s guest appearance! And I love this weekly recap.
The Biggest Loser — essential to only watch this on the DVR, not live, as you can blow through the interminable challenges and weigh-ins and focus in on the good stuff, like all the crying, as Father Scott so accurately depicts every week, here.
The Good Wife — perhaps my favorite new show. I should have thought of the concept: newly divorced mom (her husband, the former Cook County DA was caught with a prostitute and is now in jail for perhaps using state money to pay her…) goes back to work as a first-year associate at a Chicago litigation firm. (Love that Josh Charles from Sports Night is in this too. Have always thought he was cute/dreamy in a nerdy way.)
Glee — OK, this is the best show on TV, despite the slight RT* factor of the musical numbers. Will devote a whole post to it at some point.
The Office — even though it gives me the RTs. I love Jim.
30 Rock — I literally guffaw at this show. I love Tracy Morgan, I’m sorry. And Alec Baldwin. And my father’s law firm was (is) in 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
Supernanny — for some reason, even though it couldn’t be more formulaic week to week, we love this show. Schandenfreude?
Saturday Night Live — I just fast forward through this in case something funny happened (e.g., “Dick in a Box”), which 95% of the time it has not.
The Daily Show — on DVR, you can get through this in about 15 minutes.
Curb Your Enthusiasm — almost unwatchable due to the amount of RT’s produced, but this season is much fresher and funnier than it has been as of late. Even though as of late was like two years ago.

Shows I tried this season and rejected:
Cougar Town
Parks & Recreation (I love Amy Pohler, but it hasn’t won me over yet)
Modern Family

Shows on hiatus but usually programmed on DVR
Entourage — have always liked it for the LA-industry references, but it’s getting old. I’m just about over it.
24 — total addiction, even though I don’t like suspenseful movies or shows. If Tim’s not around, I end up fast forwarding through the suspenseful scenes to see how they turn out, and then I rewind and watch them after I know the outcome.
American Idol — I refused to watch for years, but now I’m at the point where I text in my votes! This is a show that you can’t DVR, however, because you’ll inevitably hear about it before you have a chance to catch up. How brilliantly conceived is a show that forces you to watch it live — like in the old days!
Royal Pains — it stars Mark Feuerstein, for whom I have a soft spot since he went to my alma mater and I met him once at a post-college party in Brooklyn. I am so hip.

*If you don’t know what “RTs” stands for, email me and I’ll tell you privately — it’s not quite PC enough to explain here! Basically, though, it stands for the feeling you get when you’re just so embarrassed for the characters on the show that you cringe and can barely stand to watch and would fast-forward through those parts if your husband didn’t grab the remote away and call you a wimp.


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  1. I too quite enjoy the Good Wife. Most of your shows are good but for reality TV I usually only watch The Amazing Race and Flipping Out (I think Jeff Lewis is hysterical). In terms of “spouse sharing shows” it is the Colbert Report, Fringe, Heroes (although I don’t really like it), Psych, Burn Notice, Entourage. Some weeks I keep up on the DVR and some weeks things just pass me by. I have been dragging my home laptop around and watching a show in bed (we only have a TV downstairs) or while I do chores.

  2. Dancing with the Stars is quite good. You can learn something about dancing; good dancers are fun to watch; and its fun to watch the “stars” progress during the season.

    My favorite program (now defunct unfortunately) was “Terminator, The Sarah Connor Chronicles”.

    What does RT mean.

    Its so nice to have you blogging again.

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