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The curse of cable television

As some of you already guessed, I moved in with a roommate a few months ago to help cut my rent costs. Sorry, I am not shacking up with a guy, which is too bad because in 16 months my COBRA runs out and I’m gonna’ need some health insurance. If I were smart, I’d start hunting down well-insured grooms right now. Anyway, I agreed to keep my roommate off of the blog as one of the terms of our co-habitation. However, I can talk about indirect events that have happened since we moved in together, in particular the fact that I now have cable television and it is the mental equivalent of eating everything off of that bakery markdown tray. It looks good, but it’s probably not that good for me.

I lived without cable television for…five years? I don’t really remember. It was a long time and particularly unexpected because I grew up on television. In 4th grade, we had to track how much TV we watching in a week, and I was in the top 5% of my class, which might also explain the whole morbid obesity thing. However, I found that once I cut the cable cord, it was surprisingly easy to live without cable TV. I could still watch network shows and the nightly news, and I had movies and the Internet and books and always found something to do.

Now that the cable TV is available, I find myself flipping it on and expecting it to entertain me. It’s funny how quickly I’ve become dependent on it. I’ve become addicted to NCIS, a show I avoided because I was sick of shows titled with acronyms, but soon discovered was actually kind of quarky and fun, if formulaic. I spent one day watching a marathon of Cake Boss while working and almost screamed in horror when a bride purposely trashed her wedding cake. I’ve watched so many episodes of Law and Order: Criminal Intent that I can guess what season I’m watching by the size of Vincent D’Onofrio’s pants and how scraggly his beard is.

Yet overall, I feel like it might be better for me if I didn’t have the cable. I might be forced to read more or socialize or something if there wasn’t an NCIS marathon on every evening. I dunno. Oh, gotta’ go! Criminal Intent is coming on!

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28 Comments

Deanna • September 3, 2009 at 9:31 am

I hear ya, and Law and Order is on 24/7 so it’s really easy to get sucked into a marathon. I agree 100% that it would be better off for me not to have TV either. Oh well! And yes….it’s in the mail .. I promise!!

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Lyn • September 3, 2009 at 10:44 am

My teenagers have begged for cable for YEARS. I just won’t do it. Too mind numbing, time sucking and they already spend too much time on video games as it is. They would turn to vegetables if I got cable!

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Michelle • September 3, 2009 at 12:00 pm

See? SEE? I’m about to review your book on my blog, and the first draft’s opening paragraph expounds upon how I feel like I share a brain with Jennette Fulda. I exclaimed and laughed through the book at all the many ways you echo my own sentiments, crack very similar jokes and make similar snarky observations…I am praying that means I, too, will lose all my weight, since we have similar personalities…and now you write an entry about TV and name 3 shows that I love! Dude! I always say that I watch too much TV, but somehow I never care about the shows “everyone” is watching. Never saw Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, etc. I started watching NCIS when my friend’s music was used in the show and found I loved it, and I started watching Criminal Intent because I LOVED the movie “The Cell” with D’onofrio, and Cake Boss…well I wanna work in that bakery, I really do. I can’t believe you named those three shows! Rock on, you rock star.

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Tanya • September 3, 2009 at 12:40 pm

I tried living without cable – didn’t work for me. I NEED the entertainment, and what kind of socializing would I be doing at 8 PM during the week – probably I’d be on the computer

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Sandra • September 3, 2009 at 1:26 pm

I personally don’t watch much T.V., but my daughter owns all the seasons of NCIS and I do like watching those……

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Jean • September 3, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Darn it, I’ve been seriously contemplating giving up my cable – or at least only getting the “basic-basic” package so I don’t have to have the converter boxes, and I can still have a reason to keep my high-speed internet. And here you go, giving me more reasons why I really do need to take the plunge – those marathons on the weekends really DO suck you in!

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Diane, Fit to the Finish • September 3, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Yes – I too had a correlation between cable TV and obesity! We have cable now, but have gone back and forth over the years.

It’s such a waste of money for us now because all I do with it is check the weather before I go to bed!

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Rachie • September 3, 2009 at 1:57 pm

I have literally pushed work to the weekend before because there was an NCIS marathon on USA. I cannot express in words (or dance) how much I love NCIS. I always thought it looked stupid until one day I decided to give it a chance and was proven horribly, horribly wrong. Now I can’t get enough of it. I’m so glad you’ve been hooked too! God bless cable TV!

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Emily • September 3, 2009 at 3:04 pm

I saw that episode of Cake Boss, too! It seemed a little fake, maybe a little scripted drama thrown in for good measure…

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shauna/dg • September 3, 2009 at 3:06 pm

dude I LOVE Criminal Intent! Vincent is known as “Emu Man” in our house for the hilarious way he sticks his face in the perp’s face when he’s interrogating them. such an addictive show!

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Michelle DiPoala • September 3, 2009 at 3:40 pm

LOL…Shauna, “Emu Man,” I love it. Jean, I’m with you, I “almost cancel it” so many times. I used to only have the most basic package you can get, but 5 years ago my brother got a part on an FX show, and of course I needed to get FX. Luckily it’s part of the next-up basic package. I still don’t have HBO or Starz or any of those, and don’t need it. I always say I can give up FX now because I can watch seasons of my brother’s show online now (they didn’t have that 5 years ago). Except that NOW my boyfriend will perish without his Boston Red Sox baseball. He USED to just listen to it on the radio, but now that he’s had 5 years of cable, he doesn’t want to go back to radio. Oh well.

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Tina • September 3, 2009 at 7:27 pm

I agree.. I love NCIS so much I am trying to decide what to name my new puppy.. Gibbs or McGee. I love Tony but I don’t like the name for my puppy. It has gotten so bad around my house that we have started giving each other “gibb slaps” for doing/saying something stupid. My daughter even reminds me of Abby – right down to the ponytails.

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Carla • September 3, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Ditto. I did not have a television until I moved in with my boy friend 3 years ago. Now I (because I have a Tivo) I have seen every (yes, every) episode of Criminal Intent.

Crazy.

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janis • September 3, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Much to the shock of many of my friends, I got rid of cable for the summer. I was tired of the expense and the feeling of being obligated (I wasn’t, really) to watch the volumes of crap I had accumulating on the DVR. I didn’t miss it one bit. Funny I should see this post today, as the Dish Network installer just left my house a few hours ago. I had about 2 hours before I had to be at work and there were 2 tvs running sattelite; one upstairs in the bedroom and one downstairs in the living room. I wasn’t watching either one. I hope I continue to be able to take it or leave it…

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Charity • September 3, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Will anyone else ‘fess up to a crush on D’Onofrio?

Although there’s a little bit too much of him to love these days. I mean, he doesn’t even wear TIES on the show anymore; I guess they’re too small for him.

And then over on the other side is Jeff Goldblum, still a skinny sexy weird-ass mo’fo. I’ve had a crush on him since I was 12.

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Katy • September 3, 2009 at 10:45 pm

My family LOVES NCIS! It one of the only shows that we all love to watch together! My dad just bought my mom season 1 through season 6 on dvd for her birthday. We’re all a little NCIS crazy around here so without my cable to supply NCIS and Bones…I would be lost.

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Linda • September 4, 2009 at 12:04 am

We date Criminal Intent episodes by whether they have Bobby or Blobby.

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Mom Taxi Julie • September 4, 2009 at 12:48 am

I got satalite tv for the first time in my adult life last summer. I still hardly ever watch it. Mostly because the kids and my husband hog it!

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anji • September 4, 2009 at 2:12 am

Hmmm – it’s interesting, NCIS and L&O: CI are my two fav shows.

I’m currently down-sizing the satellite and am on a diet of crap TV in order to save some money.

I’m in withdrawl.

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AF Soccer Mom  • September 4, 2009 at 2:15 am

Wow. I guess I’ve been overseas too long. The only “marathon” Armed Forces Network plays is an occasional back-to-back airing of The Brady Bunch, we’re a season behind on NCIS and I’ve never heard of Cake Boss before. On the upside, it pretty much eliminates any fear of dependence.

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Johanna • September 4, 2009 at 5:37 am

I don’t have a TV (well… there’s one somewhere in the remotest parts of my closet, but I don’t use it), haven’t had one for over three years and I don’t miss it one bit!

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Elizabeth • September 4, 2009 at 6:41 am

I haven’t had cable tv for about 10 years now. There’s plenty of great stuff to watch on network tv — especially PBS. I never did watch a lot of tv anyway, my parents didn’t allow it. I used to curse them, but now I thank them!

Every once in a while I start to miss it, and when that happens I sit down with a calculator and multiply the number of months I have gone without cable by $70 (what I used to pay here in Chicago), and I smile when I see the thousands of dollars I’ve saved over the years — now that’s entertainment!

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Amy • September 4, 2009 at 8:43 am

I don’t own a television. We had one tv in my mom’s house throughout my entire childhood and I just never bought one when I moved out. This handy dandy computer thing does make it marginally easier to get my Alton Brown fix. I also enjoy watching tv via the internet because it hurts your eyes more and makes you watch less.

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JEM • September 4, 2009 at 10:05 am

My husband and I were broke when we got married in 2004. We decided against cable because of the $$$ factor. We missed it at first but then realized we were spending our time being more productive and paid more attention to each other. We decided to make the best of it. (We only got ABC and NBC with bunny ears.)

In May of 2009 we got cable for the first time. 5 years after we wed. My husband was begging for it. Thank God we didn’t sign a contract. We got rid of it August 31st.

Even though there were many shows I enjoyed and I adored our DVR, we found the stupid cable was just making us couch potatoes. I tried to convince myself it would help me during work outs…which it did, but that is only 1 hour a day…I think I will go back to watching DVD’s during workouts. I still have my Blockbuster.com subscription.

The trouble is that with cable there is almost always something on..unless you are very disciplined you can find yourself wasting so much time.

Be strong PQ! :-)

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coraspartan • September 4, 2009 at 1:00 pm

I just found out this week that I’m being laid off at the end of the month, so we are going to have to eliminate cable because we won’t be able to afford it. It’s not the cable itself I will miss so much–it’s the DVR. It is so nice not to plan my days and nights around what shows are on TV–I can just record and watch later when I have the time. A lot of the shows we watch are on network TV anyway, so we should still be able to get those.

The one thing I will miss about cable…HGTV. I could watch it all day, every day. Then again, since I will soon be unemployed, it’s probably best that I don’t have a channel that I could waste all of my free time watching.

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Quix • September 4, 2009 at 2:58 pm

I almost never watched TV until I got a DVR, and then it became a nightly thing. Considering I was trading gaming for TV, it wasn’t neccisarily that much better or worse for me, was just odd. :)

Good luck not letting it suck your productivity away!

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Tiffany S. • September 5, 2009 at 1:39 am

I SAW that episode of Cake Boss! Can you believe someone was going to MARRY her????? I was flabbergasted!

I’ve given up a lot of tv, but if we didn’t have cable I wouldn’t watch it at all. All our favorite shows are on cable and the On Demand part rocks.

16 months is a long time. I have a feeling insurance will come before that. Does your state have mandatory insurance (i.e. WA will cover you if you get rejected by insurance)? I know you have pre-existings but we moved off of Cobra asap and saved a bundle. Just sayin’ Might be worth checking with an agent. (Or I’ll read back to find out that’s what you’ve spent your summer doing).

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Sharon • September 6, 2009 at 5:52 pm

I am cutting the (cable) cord in a couple weeks. I am binge viewing until then. BTW, I am on my last 2 pages of your book! I loved every page!!

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog at JennetteFulda.com.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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