Deleting Without Watching – The Madness and the Guilt

Remote A couple of weeks ago I did the unthinkable… I deleted 25 shows from my personal video recorder (PVR), without even watching them!

It is not because the shows weren’t good. In fact, some of them were shows I enjoyed quite a bit. Unfortunately, it came down to one simple fact: there just aren’t enough hours in a day.

The sad part is that I am a seasoned veteran when it comes to binge watching: game show marathons, “Bewitched” marathons, “The Nanny” marathons, “Dallas” marathons, watching an entire 24 hour rotation of MuchMusic (once, back in University, …I dared myself), and the list goes on. Television has been a passion since I was very young, as well as a good companion to a “latch key” kid (who also happened to be an only child).

I was one of those kids who pushed up the national average for the number of hours that kids watched TV. I could have easily put in 3 hours per evening during the week and on the weekends, cartoons in the morning and family programming in the evening. It is probably no surprise that the first book I learned to read was the TV Guide.

However, my conundrum is this: I seem to have the willpower to not fall into the time trap of hours of video games on my iPad, cute cat pictures on Instagram or chain watching YouTube videos (unless they are vintage Price is Right episodes, in which case all bets are off). However I really have to exercise tough love with myself when it comes to watching television. A few endearing characters, clever writing, a storyline to make me laugh or think… I can easily get hooked.

September and October brought us a new raft of shows to watch and even though I thought I made careful choices to ensure I wasn’t painted into a corner, I still seemed to be drowning in programming.

At Christmas time, I was looking at my PVR with a sense of apprehension and a bit of stress as even though we had gone through several “fall finales” and were into back-to-back Christmas specials and Lifetime movies, my PVR was still close to full capacity with unwatched shows. How did that happen?

While I am not usually one for New Year’s resolutions, this year I would really like to chip away at the stack of books I want to read, I would like to dedicate more time to writing of course, I have a bunch of gluten free recipes and cooking experiments to try, and I would like to get back on the running trails more regularly this season. Plus, I have a growing list of programming on Netflix waiting to be binge watched.

So it came down to the resolutions to force me to make difficult choices.

The Keepers:
The shows I watch religiously and live: Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, Mr. Selfridge, CBS Sunday Morning.
The shows I never miss and usually watch within a day or two of their original air date: Code Black, Madam Secretary, Mysteries of Laura, CSI: Cyber.
The shows that bring wonderful comic relief at the end of a hard day at work: Telenovela, 2 Broke Girls, Mike and Molly, Hollywood Game Night.

The Ones that Didn’t Make the Cut…
It pained me to admit that certain other shows that I really enjoyed were accumulating and only one or two episodes were watched out of the first half of the season. I had to ask the tough question: when will I have the time to watch them?

And so I started by deleting one unwatched episode. That wasn’t so bad. And then I deleted another, feeling panic but relief at the same time. Within a minute, half a season was gone and I freed up 10% of my PVR space.

The next night I continued. Another half season of shows and a few specials were deleted within minutes, as my forehead broke out in a cold sweat. I couldn’t believe I was doing this. The madness… deleting without watching!

As I deleted them, I felt stress lifting as I saw the PVR percentage drop from the upper 60s to the low 40s. But the stress was quickly replaced by guilt because I know that producing television shows is hard work on the part of everyone in the cast, crew and production teams. Some people study and work their whole lives for this moment, and I just deleted it with a few keystrokes on the remote. Can I even live with myself now?

I knew I was doing the right thing as I enjoy a quiet evening working on the next blog masterpiece, listening to some mellow music and intermittently playing with the cat.
In the days that followed, I continued trimming shows from the PVR list, watching some, skimming through others, asking myself if deleting this one episode be a life changer. Of course the answer is no, but it is not without its share of guilt.

It was hard, but I did it… the PVR is now almost empty. Could I possibly be on the journey to cutting to cut the cord from cable some day?

Naaaaaaahhhh… I don’t think so. But tapering off is probably a good thing to make room for the other priorities in my life. Like anything, it just takes a little discipline.

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Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,

1 Comment

Filed under Humour, pop culture, TV

One response to “Deleting Without Watching – The Madness and the Guilt

  1. Pingback: Fine Tuning the TV Habit | It's the Journey

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