Rob got a Netflix subscription for Christmas from Edie, and Dee received an iPod touch from Santa which quickly led to the discovery of free cartoons and movies on YouTube. Between the two of them, passive viewing time has been increasing exponentially since. The Arctic blast last week helped not one bit, and I am afraid television viewing has claimed a solid footing on the household’s beachhead once again.
It’s not that the viewing of anything is intrinsically evil. We are primarily audio/visual creatures. It’s the preferred method for taking in new information. The trouble stems from the dearth of decent material that passes for tv and movies. With so much content available, you’d think that the bulk would err on the side of quality, but that’s simply not the case.
So what’s playing at our house?
Tom and Jerry. Vintage Smurfs and episodes of She-Ra.
At first Dee was a bit annoyed to find that some of the videos were home-made splice jobs or of questionable visual quality. She thought YouTube was a television. After I explained it, she quickly figured out how to search and choose watchable offerings. It’s a bit funny really because as a little girl, she couldn’t barely work a television remote. I kept her deliberately ignorant of dvd players before we moved up to Alberta. While so many parents were proud of their children’s technology skills, I wasn’t in any hurry for Dee to be able to work something on her own. I lost too much in parental controls that way. So it’s amazing to watch her “work it” now.
Netflix has laid bare the world of Trailer Park Boys. Rob actively shunned the show when it originally aired on Showcase back in the early part of the last decade. We are both too familiar with that social strata to find it humorous, but on a whim, he gave it a peek and now three seasons later, he is hooked.
Admittedly, it’s a dead on parody of some of the more perplexing aspects of that world and it nails the stereotype. The show also ramps it up just enough to allow a viewer to laugh without feeling guilty about it. I haven’t watched more than a handful of episodes all the way through, but I don’t have to because Rob details each one as vividly as Dee regaled me with an accounting of the Smurfs (“I have no idea where Baby Smurf came from. They just don’t have any moms there.”)
I do have one favorite episode though:
Reminded me a bit of Soap.
Before he left for work this morning, Rob mentioned that he checked our internet usage for the month. At Christmas we went over our allotment and got throttled by the provider for a week until we could upgrade our package. Between downloading books, Netflix and loading the new iPod, we’d “over-spent”.
“We’re at nearly 50% of our monthly allotment which is twice what we were using before but not close to using up what we are allowed.”
I will choose to view this as a half-full and call it a win.