Sunday, March 14, 2010


Since we're broke, we decided to give up television once we moved and I was really worried about that for a while. How would my children thrive without the companionship, supervision and education from their nanny-in-a-box?

I'm a couple of weeks into it now and not only is it going way better than expected, there have been some benefits I hadn't considered.

We've been getting DVDs from the library and Netflix. We get a good mix of tv shows and movies and we can each get 6 and keep them for one week. Here's what's been awesome:

1. No endless reruns of iCarly. I love iCarly but I'm pretty sure we've seen every single one ever made at least 70 times. Big Kid would have to watch them every time they were on but doesn't seem to miss them at all now that they aren't available as constant background noise. Also, it's like the Jonas Brothers were never even born. That's a good thing.

2. I have more control over what's watched. This isn't always true because every once in a while a Pokemon sneaks through, but for the most part we've been watching great television. The kids are hooked on cartoons like the Flintstones, Jetsons, Animaniacs, Loony Tunes, and the Simpsons and have enjoyed movies like the Neverending Story and Princess Bride. We watch Blue Planet and nature documentaries. And we like it, because that's what's on!

3. There are no advertisements. Ever. I have not heard ONE "Can I have that?" since we've moved here. It's nice to watch shows without evil corporations reaching out to my kids every other minute.

4. It's fun to watch things in order. I've been watching the Office on DVD lately and I just got to the one where Jim first told Pam he loves her and kissed her. (*swoon*) I missed that one somehow (season 2, casino party) and it was even sweeter after watching their flirtations gradually progress from season 1 episode 1. I've also been watching a lot of stuff I wouldn't normally pay attention to and loved (most of) it.

5. It's easy to turn it off since things come to a stopping point. I have been reading more and the kids have been playing more. They spend time looking at National Geographics and kid magazines they get, which were quickly forgotten about before.

I'm amazed at how little we miss satellite television. The kids haven't complained one time, it's like they haven't even noticed. Also, now I can be one of those holier-than-thou anti-television moms and can put "restricting outside media influences" on my competitive motherhood score card.

All of that for $70 less each month.


Chloe said...

When I moved out of my parents' house, my roommates and I didn't have TV for a while. Then we got basic cable, but I rarely watched anything unless friends came over and we were really bored. I've moved back to my parents' house, and the only time I use the TV is to watch movies. Commercials annoy the hell outta me, and I have a hard time waiting for certain shows to come on. So I agree with you; I don't miss TV all that much. :P

Nikky said...

I remember my parents cancelling the cable for a dark two year period in Jr. High. I broke down one day and informed them that it was not natural for a 13 year old to be watching M.A.S.H.

The boyfriend and I have cancelled ours though, and it is nice. School work actually gets done on time, and I can almost function at work since I'm not up so late. Also: I was able to rediscover HR Puff-n-stuff. Anything for Jack Wild.

As a side note, the Princess Bride book is well worth a read if you've never read it. Ditto The Neverending Story (the movie only covers the first half of the book).

Caren said...

I'm totally addicted, I almost had a nervous breakdown last night when I found out the DVR got messed up and didn't tape "Desperate Housewives." Fortunately The Husband realized that I can watch it on demand today. Phew... crisis averted.

We are big fans of "The Office" and really liked Ricky Gervais' "Extras" when we got it on Netflix... hilarious!

Joy said...

and hey if there is something you are just dieing to see most of the time you can watch it online:)

oh and those endless episodes of Icarly yea I like it to but they can get old

Layne Street said...

It's an excellent change! Channel surfing is for the birds.

Ellie Di said...

We only had TV sporadically when I was growing up (Mom referred to it as "the idiot box"), so when I moved out on my own, I didn't have much inclination to get channels, either. I've gone through phases where I've had it, but usually only because it was already provided for me via a dorm or someone else's house. Now, we have no channels at all (we don't get local TV, even) and get all our idiot-box time from the net.

It really is nice to have so much control over what you're putting into your brain, and I'm positive that I'll keep up with the practice when there are eventually kids in the house.

Go you! <3

Jackie said...

Good for you guys!!

I called to cancel my DVR/cable service back in grad school so I could afford to eat. That was six years ago and we still don't have cable. We watch Hulu, have a Netflix subscription for $8.99 that allows unlimited video streaming, and watch Lost on ABC with rabbit ears/the rabbit ear adapter.

I'm well out of grad school, but living in paycheck-to-paycheck with looming student loans for two years was the best financial lesson I could have ever learned. I learned to cut corners I didn't even realize existed. I never got a text or media plan on my cell, gave homemade gifts for two years, slept with extra blankets to cut heat costs, and developed a disturbing preference for Trader Joe's $2.99 wine. I also picked up a part time job at a clothing store for the extra cash and the 40% discount.

After school, I got a job and a decent paycheck, but I still live like a grad student...but I put the difference in savings. And I use more heat.

Unknown said...

Damn, I wish we had a Trader Joe's nearby! I could do $3 wine and I've heard several people say it's not bad.