I don’t watch TV like normal people. I have yet to see an episode of American Idol, Dancing With the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance. I tried to watch Glee several times and just couldn’t get into it (loved the music, couldn’t take the stupid plots). And the thing is, I have no idea why.

It wasn’t always like this. In fact, I used to be something of a TV-aholic. I sat in front of the boob tube for hours on end when I was a kid. Saturday Morning childrens’ programming was nearly a religious experience, what with Land of the Lost, Inch High Private Eye, Sigmund & The Seamonsters, The Archies, Hong Kong Phooey, Groovie Goolies,The Bugaloos, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Big Blue Marble, etc. I loved some little-remembered shows like Runaround and Uncle Croc’s Block, too. There were the local shows too (remember when local stations had local TV shows?) like Wonderama, The Magic Garden, Joya’s Fun School and Miss Louise on Romper Room (she showed a picture I drew, on TV!). Prime Time TV was great as well, with The Carol Burnett Show, Mary Tyler Moore, M*A*S*H, All In The Family and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour when I was really young and Three’s Company (ahhh…John Ritter. My first HUGE crush. It lasted 5 years), Quincy and all of those great shows that Garry Marshall produced in the late 70’s and early 80’s. There was a time where I was a typical kid and spent a good 4-6 hours a day in front of the TV. It was important enough to me that my mother, in her infinite wisdom, would punish me with “No TV For A Week” (None of that lesson-learning “let the punishment fit the crime” stuff in MY mother’s house) when I needed limits to be set.

And then I graduated from college. Sure, I was still watching some shows religiously, like St. Elsewhere, The Cosby Show and Family Ties. But I had no interest in Moonlighting, Murder She Wrote or the plethora of weekly continuing dramas like Dallas or Dynasty (St. Elsewhere was the exception…at least it was medical. What a bullshit ending, though. What were the writers smoking?). I don’t know why I didn’t have interest in them; I just didn’t. I was spending much more time with music at that point, listening to my records (if you don’t remember records, don’t tell me – it’ll just make me feel old. I’m going to be turning 44 tomorrow…that’s bad enough) and slightly later, CDs, playing harmony by ear on my Casio keyboard. For HOURS.

As time went on, I spent less and less time in front of the TV and, as technology improved, more and more in front of the computer. By the early-mid 1990’s I was on national and local message boards and enjoyed writing back and forth to people who had similar interests to mine much more than watching N.Y.P.D. Blue, Friends or even E.R. There were still the occasional shows I watched – I enjoyed the afternoon cooking shows on PBS and documentaries – but it was already a matter of “if I see it, that’s great and if I don’t, oh well.” That trend has continued to this very day.

Although my time on the ‘net has continued to increase over the years, I’m actually watching a little more TV now. Being married does that to a person…you start to embrace what your partner enjoys (albeit with exceptions. I don’t play those freaking’ Guitar Hero or Rock Band games). Joe enjoys TV, at least to an extent more than I do, so I’ve gotten more willing to watch. We’ll DVR Good Eats, Mythbusters, No Reservations, etc., and watch them as time allows. Since we tend to go to bed around midnight or so, I’ve also been watching quite a bit of Robot Chicken, too, since that’s the time it goes on around here. And I don’t think I ever would have started to appreciate The Simpsons or South Park without Joe’s influence. We even went through a phase of “Save My Bath” when we were redoing our bathroom. I’m trying to get him interested in “It’s Me Or The Dog” to help with our occasional Dobby challenges but so far that’s not working out very well.

My solo viewing habits, or lack thereof, have changed in the past couple of years – Discovery Health and, to a lesser extent, Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel, have opened the door into medical shows. Give me rare, bizarre or mysterious medical conditions and I’m there – I’m figuring it’s feeding into my medical background. I’ve also suddenly become someone who can get sucked into certain reality TV shows. It started innocently enough a few years ago, with “Little People, Big World”…being pint-sized myself, I used to watch it to see how other people of short stature did things, handled specific situations, etc. Then I started watching 16 17 18 19 Kids And Counting the Duggars (what can I say…I’m an only child so I was intrigued) and, god forgive me, Jon and/or Kate Plus 8 (that was really only to watch the train wreck, I PROMISE!). Most recently I’ve been watching Little Miss Perfect and Intervention if I happen to find them while I’m channel surfing. If any of those shows have a marathon, I can waste HOURS in front of the TV.

Oh, and reruns of Little House on the Prairie. Gets me every time. No idea why; I rarely watched the show when it was originally on. I’m still holding out for reruns of The Carol Burnett Show, by the way. And yes, I have all of the DVD that Guthy-Renker sells. They rock. But I know there are a WHOLE lot more episodes out there. Somewhere.

What do you watch nowadays? What did you watch when you were a kid? More importantly (bond with me, people), what DIDN’T or DON’T you watch? And does ANYBODY out there remember Uncle Croc’s Block? There’s a COMMENT button somewhere below this writing…click it and tell me about your past and present TV viewing habits. I care. I really do. No, really, I do!