Tuesday, December 2, 2008

More Terrorist Ammo....

Are you afflicted with 'TiVo guilt'?

By David Daniel CNN

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Bloated? Overstuffed? Ready to slim down? You're not alone -- and we're not talking about post-Thanksgiving torpor. (Whoa-wha??? Oh. I totally thought you were talking about post-Thanksgiving torpor! Awesome misdirection!)

What's weighing many folks down these days isn't too much turkey, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie, but too much "House," "Grey's Anatomy" and "CSI." (hey, that rhymes! Mr. Daniel you are earning your check, good sir.)

More and more people are becoming turned off by their TiVos. Digital video recorders (DVRs) revolutionized television for many viewers, freeing them from endless VCR programming and buying and keeping track of tapes. But it turns out that very ease is providing users with more than they can watch -- and turning a joy into drudgery. (If DVR maintenance is 'drudgery', then, I think we might need a nuclear blast somewhere in America. Just to thin out the ranks a little bit.)

"You want to watch TV, and what do you have? You turn on your DVR and you have a homework assignment," says Brad Berens, chief content officer for iMedia Communications, who analyzes how media advances change people's behavior. (another bullshit gig I missed out on! Seriously, how do these jobs exist?)

"Economists call this 'opportunity costs,' " explains Berens. "You're sitting there and you have to weigh, well, 'I have to watch this thing, because I promised myself when I told TiVo ... (oh, God. I need bullets...stat!) I want the whole season of that! Go get it! And go get things like it!' (are you speaking to a dog?) And so you've committed to this decision and it's a burden -- suddenly your relaxation has turned into more work." ( There are people losing their jobs on a daily basis, assholes! THIS is the shit you consider a burden?!? FUUUCK YOOOU!)

(I wonder what superstar actress Amanda Peet thinks...) Actress Amanda Peet ("Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," the forthcoming film "What Doesn't Kill You") can relate. (ah, good. Some insight!) She told CNN that her TiVo is filled with programs ranging from the Ken Burns' documentary "The War" (suuuuure it is) to the Sunday morning news shows -- and she's struggling to delete any of it, though much remains unwatched.

"I do have weird OCD where I need to clean out my TiVo," she said. "Like we've had Ken Burns' 'The War' on there forever (repetition in a CNN feature? the HELL you say!) and we're not gonna watch it, like I'm not gonna watch it cause I'm too scared. (scared?) Or we'll have back episodes of um, 'Meet The Press' -- I'm obsessed with my Sunday shows like 'Meet The Press' and 'Face The Nation.' (You're the only one, Amanda. 'Face the Nation'??)... They're like from before the election, I'm like 'I can't [delete them], I have to watch them' and [my husband says], 'It's already happened, you've already read everything you're going to read about this stuff.' " (Number of times she said 'like': 5)

"TiVo guilt" isn't a new development -- a quick Google check (THERE it is! The emblem of journalistic research for the new decade...Google) offers articles using the phrase dating back at least two years -- and it has its parallels with procrastination involving previous technologies. (Who didn't have a stack of never-watched VHS tapes collecting dust?) (the homeless)

But the explosion of TV channels -- not to mention TV shows, movies, music and webisodes available via the Internet (where can I find webisodes? Oh. thanks for the clarification.) -- has made the situation infinitely worse, says Berens.

"With infinite media, you have infinite choices, and therefore you have infinite opportunity costs," he says (without a hint of hyperbole). "Your satisfaction index (.....long exhale...steadyyyy....) of the thing you actually choose can never be equivalent to the infinite opportunity costs, so we're in this position of being behind the cognitive eight-ball all the time." (People like to use big words to sound important - G. Carlin)

Berens and others have written about "eventness," (That's it! I'm done with this guy) the phenomenon of experiencing something in connection with other people (it's called "common experience") The longer a program sits on your DVR before you watch it, goes the theory, the less satisfying an experience it will be. (wow. Berens must double-over in evil laughter when he cashes his paycheck...)

But plenty of people who've never heard of "eventness" or "opportunity costs" (people like, say, everybody in the whole world) are growing alarmed (alarmed? scared? What is this? Dresden circa 1941?) at their ever-increasing DVR playlists.

"I've got three weeks' worth of 'The Mentalist,' (whatever) two weeks worth of 'New Adventures of Old Christine' (fine) and 'Gary Unmarried,' (that lasted two weeks?) three weeks worth of 'Ugly Betty,' (this is still on?) two weeks worth of 'Fringe,' (what the fuck is that?) two 'Inside the Actors Studios,' (well, THAT I can understand. Can't get enough of actors talking about themselves) one 'Shield,' and two 'Without A Traces,' " wrote columnist Elissa Bass of The (New London, Connecticut) Day (circulation: 12) recently, tallying up more than a half-day's worth of programming. "I look at them and I start to wonder: Do I still like this show? Should I just delete them and knock them from my season pass? (yes) Is there really such a thing as too much TV?" (God, NO! Let's not say things we can't take back!)

Fortunately, as the saying goes, recognizing you have a problem is the first step toward a solution, says Berens.
"I think that if you give things a name, that's a wonderfully empowering gesture (Just when I thought I was done with him, he pulls another priceless gem out of his ass)... because now [viewers] know what it is and know that they can take control of their media choices, (because, prior to naming it, they were like retarded apes, punching remotes with their paws) they can take back that remote and hit the delete button and not feel guilty -- all you need to know is that other people are feeling it, and then I think the guilt can go away." (Nothing says 'expert, qualified, psychoanalyst' like a 'chief content officer of IMedia....")

So take heart, sufferers of TiVo Guilt: You're not alone, and deleting month-old programs -- and even an ill-advised Season Pass or two -- just might increase your enjoyment of what you do watch. (or, it might make you go outside once in awhile)


Christo P. Ney said...


It's even saved in draft!

Well done, my friend.

Anonymous said...

I saw that, but, thought it was mine. I pasted it in and had to go back to it.

Christo P. Ney said...

Oh, no worries on that front. This one's a veritable orgy of silliness.

I just thought it was wonderfully odd that you meandered over to CNN.com and saw this potential abortion as well.