I was just reading a snippet of The Cosby Codex, a series of writings about The Cosby Show on the McSweeney's website, when I was stopped dead in my tracks by an observation. The Codex mentioned that the Cosby house was home to only one TV.
10 years ago I wouldn't have found this particularly interesting. But today, we hear stories of TVs in bedrooms, on computers, in cars, and even in bathrooms. Yikes. There are lots of declarations that a television in the bedroom is bad for a couple. There are even more that too much TV is bad for children.
I personally try to avoid the latest and greatest show that everyone is watching because I like my free time. And I find I already have too little of it to dedicate hours each week to a show. Particularly when that show is filled with pitiful excuses for story lines manufactured around sheer stupidity. I'm looking squarely at you Jersey Shore. In fairness, my downtime is often spent in shows that are self-contained. Thirty minutes of The Family Guy doesn't force you to come back next week to see what happens next. And it must be said that my aversion to such inane shows was founded in a precursor to the Jersey Shore: the original Survivor. Yes MTV's Real World was first, but that was blatantly manufactured. At least Survivor had a thin veneer of reality. Or at least real dirt. And I found myself addicted. I was there every week with many friends watching that train wreck wash up on shore. Afterward, I smelled like shame. I can only imagine that the more screens, the more opportunity for addiction and shame.
Now back to The Cosby Show. This is one of those singular shows that should be watched. Because, unlike the pseudo-reality shows, it does show us the truth and presents it with heart. Th real reality is we don't need a TV. We need food. We need water. We want TV. Preferably in size XXL. But let's keep it to just one so that the family can all be there together. Let's watch movies and basketball games. And let's watch more of The Cosby Show. It will give us something worth talking about.