This is National Turn Off Your TV Week. It's an effort from a group called the Center for Screentime Awareness--which tracks the amount of time Americans spend sitting in front of the TV. Last year, that was just over four and a half hours a day--or about 1640 hours a year. The group thinks that is time better spent getting some exercise or playing with your kids.
I would love to also encourage you to turn off your idiot box and completely ignore it all this week--but then I would be a big fat hypocrite. I won't make it through one day of TV Turnoff Week. You see, there is a Game Seven tonight between my beloved Boston Bruins and their hated rivals the Montreal Canadiens. You could be jabbing me with a red-hot poker as I sit in front of the tv tonight--but there is no way I am missing this game. Sure I could listen to the game on the internet (as I have had to do with four previous games because the Versus Network apparently believes no one cares about this series in the United States) but how is that any different than sitting in front of the boob tube?
That is the biggest problem with TV Turnoff Week, they never find the right week to hold it. January is out because of the NFL playoffs, February now has the Super Bowl and key college basketball matchups, March has the NCAA Tournament, April the start of the baseball season and the Masters. May and June have the NHL and NBA playoffs. There are a few weeks in July where baseball is in its dog days--and the NFL training camps haven't opened yet. Maybe that's where we should turn off the TVs. After that, August through December has the NFL and baseball's pennant stretch so they are out as well.
I think we should change the effort to Turnoff STUPID TV Week. We can start by tuning out American Idol. The format is contrived, the drama manufactured. Couldn't they do the "elimination show" in two minutes? Instead they stretch the thing out for a full hour wasting everyone's time. Besides, the "losers" usually turnout to be bigger stars than the "winners" every year, so what's the point?
Next to go: any show on TLC or Bravo. Remember when The Learning Channel actually had educational shows? You would learn about mating habits of African animals, or how meat makes its way through the packing house. Now every show deals with how to dress stylishly or makeover your house--I'm not learning much there. Bravo debuted with the promise of "highbrow" entertainment like opera and ballet. Now its nothing but shows about rich people living beyond their means and arguing about petty things. That's real enriching.
And we could probably take a break from the 24-hour news channels as well. How many times do we need to hear arguments about who's the bigger liar in the Democratic Presidential race? And why has CNN headline news turned into the Hollywood report every night?
So turn off the STUPID TV this week--and give the NHL playoffs their highest ratings ever. Maybe they'll come back to a channel people can actually watch everywhere in America.