My remote is my master

The pleasure I get from watching television comes with no small amount of guilt

During Spring Break, some students headed south, some east and some west. I went back home to New York. Once there, I traveled south. Then I continued to travel south, as I sunk deeper and deeper into my couch.

My original plan of heading out west to go skiing went south — pun maybe intended — when I realized none of my friends share the same passion for the ski bum life that I do. I didn’t even consider a beach vacation because my body has been in hibernation for months and no one wants to see that.

Alas, I was forced to have a staycation. I am not a fan of staycations; I always try to take advantage of every opportunity I have to travel, but the stars were just not aligning for me on this one. Instead, I planned to go on some mini adventures.

These adventures included trips to the Guggenheim, the MoMA, a ropes course upstate, Ground Zero and thrift stores. Needless to say, none of these actually happened. The ropes course conveniently doesn’t open until May, and a building explosion brought the trains to a halt one of the days I wanted to go into the city. Those might just be excuses, though, since all of my other planned ventures were not realized due to my inability to get out of my quicksand couch.

What did happen during my Spring Break was watching an entire season of “The Taste” in one day — thanks to my wonderful cable provider who loves me enough to allow me to watch prime time shows on demand.

After catching up on all my regular shows — “Modern Family,” “Parks and Rec” and “Bob’s Burgers,” — and realizing the second season of “House of Cards” is far too much for me to emotionally handle right now, primetime on demand became my best friend.

I discovered that “The Mindy Project” is surprisingly funny. It is a successful sitcom in all senses and when I come home next, I will definitely be watching the next season while I simultaneously increase the size of the dent in my couch.

I had to ask myself, if I get mad at my Sims when they sit around watching TV, why don’t I get mad at myself? My excuse was that after all of my hard work at school, one week of R&R would not kill me. Unfortunately, my definition of R&R includes pajama pants, ice cream, a comfy blanket and the TV all to myself. Nowhere in this definition is there any mention of literature, artwork or fine film.

Sadly, I have little motivation to read even one of the 50-plus books on my “NEED TO READ” list. Why would I do that when my chocolate moose pajamas are lonely in my drawer and need to be worn while watching the episode of “Friends” I’ve seen 36 times?

My lack of motivation this break was utterly disappointing, but it was hard to ignore the 15 people telling me to watch a million different shows. One friend was shocked when I told her I don’t watch “Game of Thrones,” another thinks I am uncultured for not ever having seen an episode of “Downton Abbey” and a third completely discredits anything I say about television simply because I do not watch “The Walking Dead” religiously.

I want to tell them they are imbeciles for not having watched the last episode of “Parks and Rec,” but in this day and age, all shows are created equal — well, most are. And choosing which to watch in a sea of compelling options is a struggle.

However, I need to defend myself against the grasp television has on me. This golden age of television is in fact gilded. I say this as I stare at my stack of magazines yet to be read. My lists of movies to be seen and books to be read are just taunting me at this point. I need to get out of this vortex where channels, TV hosts, remotes and commercials surround me. Can I start lent late? Or has that ship already sailed?

Avery’s column runs biweekly Wednesdays. She can be reached at

Published March 25, 2014 in Life

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