Family Gathered around a TV in fifties/sixties

When Did TV Start Controlling Our Lives?

It happened to me again. It seems to happen more during the dark grey fall/winter months. One simple football game on TV turns into a whole day of me doing nothing. You see outside of my sugar addiction  I have another shameful addiction.

Like most Americans on Sundays I watch NFL football. Growing up in the Washington DC area. I’ve been a Washington Redskins fan for most of my life. I’ve been a fan through the good times and the bad times. Lately there’s been nothing but bad times. The owner is awful, and the name of the team is just downright offensive. Living in the DC metro area, you’re always exposed to the Redskins and Ravens as the local teams.

So ever Sunday, you’re guaranteed at least two local games plus one more national game. This past Sunday the Redskins played the Giants. Shockingly they won the game. Once that game was over I proceeded to watch other Netflix programs with my wife.

Once nighttime approached I went back to watching Sunday night football. I believe I watched at least 9 hours of TV this past Sunday. As I sat back and thought about all those hours of me sitting on the couch, I pondered…. when did TV actually start controlling our lives?

Golden Age of Television

To find that answer, you need to go all the way back to the golden age of television. The golden age is considered to have developed in around 1950 – 1960’s. That was the time period after World War Two, in which technology that was used for the war was now being applied for everyday usage. It’s really understandable to see how folks became obsessed with the visual box after listening to the radio for some many years. Like all new tools it’s just natural human curiosity that keeps their eyes glued to it (look at a small kid with a tablet).

A young boy and girl staring at a tablet and playing a game

Those early TVs started off in black and white. Eventually the TVs upgraded to color. Homes had families gathered around the TV during dinner. Who knew something as innocent as watching TV with your family would change our whole culture.

Reality escape

Most of us look at our lives as uninteresting. We don’t see the daily excitement that you see when you watch your favorite sitcom on the TV. All the daily emotions that we go through with our jobs, school, home, situations, family, and life gets erased when we sit down and watch a TV program. Heck what’s even sadder is the fact that we have something called reality TV that is still not reality. It allows us to falsely believe in these ideal situations that are all staged to make those people in the camera seem so much better than our lives. It makes us want to escape reality and live someone else’s reality.

You have the shows in which people travel all around the world for excitement. They go visit a country and learn all about the history or they might just go around the world to eat different types of food. There are so many different shows on TV that is easy to believe that your life is not interesting by itself. As we watch these TV shows we really need to ask ourselves, “are we living our lives to its full potential?”

Comfort zone

When we watch TV, we normally watch it from a very comfortable position. That’s the reason it’s so easy to over watch TV programs because we make it so comfortable for ourselves to watch it. Most families’ family rooms and/or living rooms are designed around the TV.

The most expensive piece of furniture in your living/family room was designed to make your TV viewing as comfortable as possible. Not necessary to make it easy to talk to your family members. No it was all about that 50 + inch screen TV and/or surround system that “needs” to be placed in that room.Guy eating ice cream in a blue snuggie

Remember the Snuggie?

Snuggies whole premise was to keep you on the couch covered up so you could be snug as a bug in a rug without having to be inconvenienced.

No Need To Move

How many people remember what life was like before the remote control? It’s pretty hilarious when you see a person physically walk to the TV to turn the channel up and down. The expressions on people’s faces are priceless! How dare you get up when we have this magical box in our hands that makes sitting down even easier!

Remote controls changed the game in becoming even lazier. All you need is your favorite beverage and/or snack by your side and you were good to go with a remote control. This is how TV forced us to become prisoners of our couches.

TV and Fitness

TV watching and fitness have a love/hate relationship. In the late 80’s to early 90’s workout videos tapes became extremely popular. You just popped it in your VCR, and you were good to go!

In modern times we have several online websites that allow you to view workouts right on your TV or electronic device. Despite this advance in technology, few people take advantage of it. What’s more interesting, a video on doing squats or seeing a video of Key & Peele making fun of 80’s fitness videos?

Luckily someone had a great idea to bring the TV watching experience inside the gym. They figured that whatever equipment was near the TV, would get used the most. Why not try to give them some exercise while watching their favorite programs?

Just like a bee to honey that is exactly what you see at every commercial gym in the world. If you want to see where the TV zombies are, go find the TVs at the gym and you will see them staring at the box. How sad is it that gyms have to put TVs in them to get people to work out? Seriously think about it…the only reason a lot of folks are at the gym is so they can watch TV as they “exercise”. They are not there to legitimately exercise. They are just there to watch TV with exercise as a byproduct.

Again, when did we start letting TV control our lives?

I’m Guilty Too

Whenever I spend more than four hours a day watching TV I always feel guilty myself. I know those could have been hours I could have been productive. I may have been talking down on the TVs at the gym but the truth is it’s better to be moving while watching TV than just sitting on your backside like I do most Sundays.

I’m a big believer in whatever you spend the majority of your time doing shows exactly what you prioritize in your life. If you were to count up all the hours you spent watching TV vs. working out that shows you where your current values are.

When people say they don’t have enough time to work out the first thing they should look at is their TV watching habits. If looking to add more time for fitness in your schedule, TV watching is the easiest to cut out. If you really feel that you still need to watch all those programs you can still watch them while walking on a treadmill. It’s not ideal but at least you’re moving vs. sitting still and not being productive.

Just remember…. You own the TV; the TV should not own you!