Saturday, September 11, 2010

TV Talk

It's kind of politically correct to say "I rarely watch TV."  Well, that is true for me, even if it's not that conscious.

Growing up, we had only one (ONE!) TV channel in Norway, NRK, and there were broadcasts only in the afternoon and on the right side of midnight.  Children's TV was at 6:PM, for about a half hour.  Not on Mondays, though.  Mondays there was no children's programming at all.  From Tuesday to Sunday, we would watch things like this:

Or this:

So, I grew up not watching that much TV, as did all other Norwegians in the 70's and 80's.  But, by the time I left home, there was a slight change, another channel came on the air, then another, then came the cable TV, satellite dishes, and within a couple of years, we had all the TV channels we could want, including Disney Channel, CNN etc etc.  From before, we were used to everyone always watching the same shows (and talking about it the next day at work or school.)  Now there were suddenly so many shows to choose between, and Norwegians became really busy switching and zapping.

The very strange thing, though, is that many Norwegians keep feeling that NRK, the first TV channel (and now the only public one...) is the real one, the more serious one.
And, people of my generation keep putting their kids in front of the TV set at 6:PM, to watch children's TV for half an hour.
So, when NRK recently removed the 6:PM Children's TV, because they have created a daughter channel on where you have kid shows all day long, parents screamed on the top of their lungs all over the country, and the newspapers were full of angry discussions.  The whole thing amused me.  It really did.

We became parents in France, then we had our second child in the US, so, obviously, our kids didn't have that six o'clock TV tradition.  My daughter, then five, was more used to watching Sesamy Street or Dragon Tales in the morning on PBS.

After settling in Norway, we decided  to let her watch BBC Prime's children's programming in the morning before school.  It was a great way of keeping up her language, and they had fun and "correct" shows, like this:

But, then  they removed the BBC channel from our cable package, and after that we only had the choice of different noisy cartoons, dubbed into Norwegian, and we ended up using the TV set almost only with the DVD player.  That way we could still have her and her brother watch English speaking shows, and we could choose the show together with them.
But, as the time passed, we realized that we didn't turn on the TV every morning, it became only on weekends, and after a while, not even then.

Once in a while, they did watch Norwegian broadcasts, though, especially on Saturday mornings and Sunday nights, were they have a great show right after dinner. (It was a good show for grown-ups too,by the way!)

Today, the TV situation in our house is like this:  For the children it has become only a weekend phenomenon, and with very few exceptions, only used to watch DVD movies, either the kids alone, or the whole family on Sunday afternoons.
For us grownups, it's very much the same deal, by the way.  The TV is used to watch movies or series on DVD, maybe a couple of times a week.  Nobody follow any particular show, there are absolutely no "must see" during the week, only occasionally a "want to see" in the weekend.

So, early this summer, we threw out the TV set from our living room area, just pushed it into our bedroom, where it was some spare room for it.

It was a horribly old (about 5, maybe 6 years) TV set, bulky, just taking up too much space compared to how little it was used in our daily life.  
It was done without much thinking or planning, we just felt like removing this space-demanding item from our main living space, this huge altar  that everybody just had to spot the minute they walked in.

We did talk about putting in a small flat screen on the wall, something that could just blend in between the photos,  but until now, no such thing has happened.  (We still talk about it, though.)
And, there was another TV set in our house (even older, got it for free in a garage sale, but big and in perfectly working shape )  in our downstairs rec room /guest room.  

We haven't decided on what to do yet, flat screen-wise.  I'm not happy with the bulky altar sitting in my bedroom, but at least it's less in the way of everybody, and we have, a couple of times, watched old E.R. episodes or a movie in there.  The downstairs TV is sometimes used on weekends, but not always.

Why all this TV talk, you might think, if it's not that important.  Well, I find it interesting that something so new in the History of Man has become so all-important in people's lives... 
I don't know, I was just in a philosophical mode tonight, that's all.


  1. There is so much filth broadcast on USA TV that I would welcome a one channel system. :-)

  2. I'm in awe of only having one channel. I'm a huge TV junkie...

  3. That's interesting, my sister lived in Germany and they got cabel because she said there was never anything good on.

  4. Thanks for your comments. And, The Old Geezer, you know we have the exact same problem now, lots of filth...
    Elana, I am a potential TV junkie myself, -I spent three months in a hospital, got addicted to every show (reality-, drama- anything!) there was!
    Patti, I actually think there is a lot of good stuff too, especially on the non-commercial channel, but we end up not watching anyway, that's all.


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