Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Life Revolves Around the Commercials

For the past couple of months, my new favorite show has been "House," which I hadn't watched until a couple of months ago. USA's been running Season Three over and over again, and first-run episodes on FOX are up to Season Five. So as my obsession grows, I've been left with a gap in my all-important series development knowledge, leading to a bunch of questions like: "What happened to Wilson's girlfriend?" "Why aren't House and Wilson friends anymore?" and most importantly, "Is this show gonna jump the shark now that I've started getting into it?"

I had some free credits at Kim's Video, so I rented Season Four, eschewing the disdain the film geek clerk showed me for preferring pop culture to obscure independent Czechoslovakian cult classics. I cleared up a couple of hours over the weekend to catch up, which is when I noticed that I was getting annoyed that there were no commercials. Really annoyed.

You think you get annoyed when your favorite show gets interrupted every twenty-two seconds by a commercial, but you don't realize how much you pace yourself and your evening or afternoon by, "I'll do this at the next commercial."

Okay, I tried to be self-disciplined and create my own breaks. "After this episode, I'll vacuum." "When I get to the spot where the commercial would be if this were being televised, I'll do the dishes." (By the way, an hour-long drama without the commercials is about 40 minutes.) But you get on a roll, and you think, maybe I should try to watch all of them really fast and get it over with all at once. And there's always the part where you have to determine, "How long should I break for?"

I have the same problem with HBO and Turner Classic Movies. "I'll wait until the next commercial...oh, that's right, it's HBO/Turner Classic Movies. Damn." And you can't hit "Pause" and run to the bathroom, because it really is being televised.

Perhaps it's time for TIVO.

Meanwhile, my questions have been answered about the missing episodes of "House," except for the one about jumping the shark. I know that in the Season Four finale, it jumps the bus.

And I still have store credit at Kim's, where there is a lot of obscure film I haven't viewed. So many opportunities to practice self-discipline, so little time.

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