Bitchin' Channels

A blog about television and radio with Paul Casserly

Paul Casserly: Close the laptop and watch some TV

8 comments
Homeland is 'turn off the laptop' TV. Photo / Supplied
Homeland is 'turn off the laptop' TV. Photo / Supplied

Trawling TradeMe while watching television is something I need to get under control.

I find it helps to get through programmes that are a bit average but the lack of my full attention means that I'm missing some good stuff and increasingly I have to rewind and close the laptop.

Recent surveys suggest that more than 50 per cent of TV is watched while the watcher is also online looking at something else.

Not only are our attention spans getting shorter they're getting fractured as well. We're turning into those lizards with independent eyeball movements.

The only upside is that perhaps one day we'll evolve a metre long fly-catching tongue to match.

Subsequently I have noted that many of us now have two distinct categories of shows.

The 'Laptop Open' shows, like the news shows, the Family Health Diaries and anything on E!*.

Then there's the 'Laptop Closed' shows like Homeland, and of course the ones we're paying extra for on Soho, or Rialto. I'm paying to not watch this? Piss off.

I haven't yet resorted to post-it notes but I have thought about it. Note to Self: It isn't worth missing those hardcore Inuits spearing walruses on Frozen Planet, just to stalk your ex on facebook. Mmm, must google Walrus recipes.

All this lizardy behaviour makes you think about the purity of going to the cinema and goes someway to explaining the anger I feel when I see a phone screen lighting up as some thoughtless gimp in the row in front tucks into a text.

Of course it's fine checking your own messages, it's like smelling your own farts.

I'm sure someone has probably worked out how many people smell their own farts while trawling TradeMe, while not watching Paul Henry not being offensive on that show that isn't 7 Days.

Production values and tricky plotlines also suggest that a show should be 'Laptop Closed'. No point at gawping at badly photographed real estate while you're watching Downton Abbey.

Likewise try following the plot of Soho's brilliantly grim The Shadow Line while pursuing Colin McCahon iPhone covers or Sonny Bill Williams prayer mats.

I still live in hope of finding those elusive items although this actually exists, so anything is possible.

The other thing that makes this double dipping vice possible is the PVR, which for most of us is called MySky. You couldn't do this back in the day of the VHS. For one thing broadband didn't exist so even if you were on line you'd soon get yourself in Stephen Fry-like fits of frothing rage as your porno downloaded as fast the Franz Joseph Glacier, on a slow day.

More to the point, the PVR allows us to rewind what we're watching even If we're not recording. We now get a second chance. "Oh that sounded like an important moment," you think to yourself as you're wondering who painted this SBW masterpiece, quietly checking their feedback.

PVRs have changed the way we watch TV and the ability to hit the Series Link button makes setting the old VHS seem like the distant dark ages. There are no fond memories of learning how to set the timer. I'm sure I only managed it once or twice before resorting to simply hitting Record on a long play tape before I went out for the night.

But this week the new technology failed me too. My series link for Homeland meant nothing because the computer said no. At first I thought the change of timeslot nobbled it but it's more likely that the rain fade got it.

No doubt this is just another dastardly trick that global warming has up its unpleasantly moist sleeves.

I was sad about the polar bears but if this thing is going to mess with my MySky I might have to start taking this seriously.

If only I'd set my VHS. Though plugged in, this neglected power vampire is in effect on death row, waiting for the next inorganic collection. Mind you, I say that every year. I might need it one day and I could always turn it into one of these.

* Not counting Fashion Police or The Soup.

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n6 at 19 Sep 2014 21:11:42 Processing Time: 508ms