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Traditionally speaking, part of the holidays involves fighting over what TV programme to watch, and proclaiming any one else’s preferences to be hideous, awful, ghastly and unwatchable. It helps get one into the festive spirit, this sort of grouching and complaining. It also helps us to consume all of the beer and potato chips.

In years past, The Mom would settle into the couch around about 5pm, with a glass of wine, refreshed from her afternoon snack, and put CNN on. She’d listen to whatever idiot they were featuring that hour spout off about how the world was coming to an end, how America would stand as freedom’s last defender and then flash a picture of a panda doing something cute so the show didn’t end with people feeling suicidal. If you wanted to get into an argument with The Mom about how reactionary and frankly bat shit crazy CNN maks the world seem, this was your chance.

Later, after dinner, everyone would decamp to the family room and whoever got the prime seat also got the clicker and thus was in charge of curating an evening’s entertainment. I do believe in other homes, this person with the God-like abilities for the evening is also charged with finding things to watch that are mutually agreeable. In our house, this person must find shows that are so awful no one wants to watch them. In fact, the worse a show is, the more points one is awarded. (These points, like most rewards points, will never add up to much and certainly won’t get you what you might want, which is something decent to watch on the TV).

If you are Crazy D you will also add the switchero into the mix, which means that over the course of a given half-an-hour programming slot, you can really multitask and watch three horrendous shows at once. Wonders of the modern world and all.

This year, however, things have been different. Because everyone has their own screen. So after dinner, the lights downstairs are shut off, and everyone tromps upstairs to his or her own room, with his or her own pet, and settles in for the night.

It’s quiet. It’s strange. It’s almost unnerving to sit there, watching commercial-free TV without having someone pipe up and comment.

“Hey, this show is terrible!”

“Hey, I worked on a show just like this! It’s the seventh circle of hell, just wait til after the first commercial!”

“Hey why are we watching this? I’ve seen it and it’s awful!”

“Hey! Who farted?”

“Hey! Your dog smells!”

“Hey! You smell!”

“Hey! Pass those potato chips over here!”

“Hey! Quit hogging the blanket!”

“Hey! Where did you get that blanket? How come I don’t have a blanket?”

And so on and so forth, until the excitement of it all dies down or everyone gets too tired to complain anymore and just goes to bed.

But now, we all sit solo, and watch TV shows we like, uninterrupted. Which has its virtues, obviously, but I do miss the old way of doing things… Now if I want to watch TV and argue with someone, I have to go into The Mom’s nest and instead of arguing she’ll just let me change the channel. Which is kind, but not really as much fun.