If nothing else, I learned from Spider-Man that power comes at a price. And the price to be paid depends on the power given. So, we’ve been given the power of acting as a target TV family. (They asked us not to tell folks that we are doing this, because they don’t want us to be plied by network people trying to get us to watch their shows, so I’m not using the name of the company, but it rhymes with “Gielson”) They have installed a little device on our TV, which records all of the shows we watch, and categorizes them demographically. (There are separate buttons for me, for Py, and for Maya, so they can figure out who watches what and when.)
Here’s the nice man with our TV all torn up. Sad, huh?
Here’s the finished product…you can see that I’m watching Curtis (I’m the middle light there, the green one), and that Ted and Maya are not (they’re the red lights on either side of my green).
If you look at the top of the device, you can see that there is room for guests as well. So if friends or family come over to watch TV with us, we can tell it their genders and ages. We don’t have any family or friends over 99 years old, so we’re OK. If you’re over 100, though, there’s no way to tell it that, because the device only has room for two digits.
Look at the mess of equipment hiding behind our TV. Good thing we don’t have one of those fancy plasma flat screens installed into our wall, where there’s no room for the wires.
The first night we watched, it worked for awhile, then just up and quit on me. I wasn’t sure what had happened, so I called the guy and told him. He said he would send someone out the following day. Then, a few hours later, I was looking at it, and I realized that the device was plugged into the outlet that attaches to a light switch…and that light switch was off. Easy fix.
So now I’m enjoying the thought that we could somehow influence television for the better, just by the choices that we make over the next two years. That if I eschew American Idol, and instead watch Frontline, someone will notice and care. Pretty heady stuff. But here’s the rub. Some of the shows we really like? We don’t watch on TV. We end up watching them at our leisure, via the computer. So though Nance requested that we watch The Office, to keep it on the air…we do watch it, but almost never when it’s actually on. Same for one of Ted and Maya’s favorites, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. This is a two year gig, so does this mean that for 2 whole years we should alter our viewing habits to make sure we watch shows on TV rather than via Internet, to make sure they get counted? I guess not…I guess someone is tallying those downloads as well, so they’re being counted. So no worries there. But should we watch them in BOTH places, to give them more weight? And what about shows that we don’t actually watch, but I kinda want to count anyway? My mom is in love with the show, The Big Bang Theory. I watched it this week, and taped it for her, since she’s in the hospital and not guaranteed to be free and awake when it’s on. It’s not really my cup of tea, but I would like to count it for her, to do my part to keep it on the air. I kinda wish they still had the little diaries they used to hand out, so I could include the shows we watch, or wish we watched, even if it’s not on regular TV. I guess that’s what they’re trying to avoid with the box, huh? They think of everything. Sigh.