Monday, April 2, 2007

What Architects Watch

I'm not a TV fan. Rather, I wasn't historically a fan of TV. Growing up in the rural south, our house only had an aerial antenna, which one had to go outside and turn manually if one was tired of watching Alabama Public Television and wanted to watch Georgia Public Television instead. I spent most of my afternoons, evenings, and weekends running hither and yon over our neighbors fields, up and over terraces left behind by farmers several decades ago, across creeks, dodging cow patties in the nearby cow fields, and generally enjoying the outdoors in the country. When the sky grew dark and the bobwhites settled down for the evening, I went indoors and read and did my homework. Occasionally, we could get the TV to pick up Alf or The A-Team, but more often than not, it was the radio and a battered library copy of Watership Down.

Fast forward to grad school, 1998, Gainesville, Florida. I'm exhausted from 10- and 12-hour days of classes and time spent in Studio. I need a break, I need to relax my mind and not push it for a while. I need to do laundry. I got cable and started watching pro wrestling. I wrote my thesis on an inpatient mental health facility for the homeless mentally ill while listening to Tony Schiavone proclaiming that Diamond Dallas page was attempting a suplex off the top rope onto Ric Flair. And yes, all while doing my laundry.

I loved my cheeze, but then I moved to the Mile High Cit-tay after grad school, and I was so confused in my new loft apartment downtown over whether I was supposed to get Dish or cable, so I got neither. I gave my TV away to a gal who eventually moved to California. At the same time, I started dating Mile High Guy, who, growing up in suburban St. Louis and being a rabid sports fan, was never without a TV except for when he was stationed in Germany in the Army. He'd come over to my place and we'd listen to NPR while he ate my homemade tofu and spicy peanut sauce and super-sweet iced tea. I'd go over to his place and we'd watch Monday Night Football and I'd eat Hamburger Helper (which I'd never had before) and chocolate milk with Guy. Fifteen months later, we move in together in a modernish condo on the edge of downtown. I say no TV. Guy says TV, dammit. We compromise: the TV is in the second bedroom/office/den. No TV in our bedroom, none in the nice living room.


Despite my best efforts not to become enamored of certain shows, I do like a few out there. Guy and I got hooked on Heroes this fall, and we enjoyed the sci-fi-yet-philosophical Kyle XY on ABC Family. As a former improv comic, I can be easily glued to Whose Line is it Anyway? as well as the animated sitcoms on Fox. But I have two hardcore TV lurrves: Cops on Fox and Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel.

Cops is like watching a parade of dumbasses. It's pure guilty pleasure to watch people with various types of mullets tell the police that it's their mama's car and they're on their way home from a friend's (whose name that cannot recall) and they just had one or two drinks and I don't know whose crack pipe that is, officer. I'm just incredulous at watching this show sometimes. Watching Cops has convinced me that I can never be arrested for anything as long as a) I have my driver's license, b) I'm wearing shoes, and c) I hav emost of my natural teeth.

Then there's Deadliest Catch. Whenever I feel like my job sucks, I watch that show. When I hate sitting in the conference room chairs that won't let my feet touch the floor so they fall asleep, I watch people spend 20 hours a day in subfreezing temperatures doing intense and constant physical work. When I grouse about how poorly we design professionals are paid, I watch the greenhorns on the boats barely clear any pay for such grueling work. When I gripe about a paper cut from a huge set of drawings, I watch a young man fall over the edge of a boat in ten foot waves and be snatched from the waters just in time to save his life (90 seconds in the Bering Sea in the winter is instant death from hypothermia).

I've said all this to tell you that I won't be posting tomorrow because the new season of Deadliest Catch starts then, and I'll be plastered to the screen and settling in once again to get inspired by the gutsy souls who risk everything to make money in a short, brutal crab fishing season. (And I'll switch to Court TV during their commercial breaks to watch Cops. I'm not always noble.)


faded said...

I enjoy, Deadliest Catch and Dirty Jobs. They are wonderful shows. Mike Rowe moderates Dirty Jobs just beautifuly. And to think he started out as an opra singer.

Mile High Pixie said...

Mike Rowe was an opera singer?! no way! That's another show I can watch all day. Even Rowe's bloopers are hilarious!