There are two types of TV watchers — we’ll call them type A and type B.
Type A will have some free time, will turn on the TV, and flip through the channels to “see what’s on”. If they don’t find something they really like, they’ll look for something that’s sort of okay and watch that (and grumble about it). When that show is over, they’ll flip around to find another show.
Type B knows in advance what they want to see. When the time comes, they’ll sit down and watch it, and don’t you dare interrupt me — that ruins my show. When it’s over, they turn the TV off. Or, in the rare event they do start to flip channels, if they don’t find something that truly interests them, off it goes anyway.
Type A considers TV to be a sort of soporific — a tool to help them get to sleep. TV is for the evening, not the daytime, and if they fall asleep in the middle of an episode, so much the better. If they are watching with someone else who falls asleep, they will wake them when the show is over and tell them “it’s time for bed”.
Type B will watch at any time — including, unapologetically, in the middle of the afternoon because “that’s when my show is on”. When watching at night, they don’t want to fall asleep, because then they miss content. Why even bother sitting down to watch if I’m just going to fall asleep? When you wake them at the end to tell them it’s over, they consider that too late — they want to stay awake through the entire show so they don’t miss anything.
Type A wakes up in the morning, turns on the ol’ tube, and then walks away, creating a comfortable background noise to get them through the day. Type B will then turn it off “because no one was watching it”. They make television a low priority.
Watching the news
Type A’s always make sure to watch the news, every day — because keeping informed about the world is important. Type B’s usually don’t bother, and keep in mind the three LEBOWITZ questions: “do I want this information?” “Do I need this information?” “and what do they expect me to do about it anyway?” They suppose if something really important happens, one of their friends will tell them about it.
When on vacation, a type A will immediately turn on the TV when they enter their hotel room, then unpack. A type B will hardly notice there’s a TV there, perhaps not ever turning it on at all during their stay. They realize vacation time is precious and don’t want to waste it doing something they could do at home.
Many type A’s got that way because their moms dumped them if front of the “electronic baby sitter” when they were kids. Type B’s consider television to be “a vast wasteland” and will develop multiple interests.
A type A will try to help a type B by putting on their favorite show as soon as they get home after work. Type B’s will just get annoyed at this. “Why do you keep killing my evenings?” they will complain.
If TV were a democracy
Type A’s are in the majority. Advertising and social policy are geared toward them.
I’m a type B.
Which type are you?