a long way trip to get to the tv point…

TVcoverI want to talk about marriage, infidelity, hashing through it all on camera but first-

A lot of people from various walks of life-like to bag on entertainment whenever they discuss the important things in life. Between you and I, sometimes I get a little defensive when they do that. Here’s the truth, we do subscribe to digital cable and we do have a DVR. Is it expensive? I guess. Could that money be used for something more valuable? Probably. Are we going to cancel our cable? Nope… The truth is, we don’t watch a lot of TV. The television is off more days a week than it’s on. We don’t eat meals in front of the tv, we do not mindlessly channel surf. Actually, we do not ever channel surf. We DVR shows we enjoy and when we do watch tv, those are what we watch. (and by most of, I mean the few shows…)

Here’s the deal. I’m not saying tv should rank up their on the list of priorities, and I’m not saying that I am right to be defensive. What I am suggesting is that we stop expecting every single person to fit into a slim little box. Sometimes someone’s day may look like their husband is stressed out with a business trip gone bad and he’s out-of-town and unavailable while her fifteen year old screams and verbally abuses her and then heaps on more abuse because how dare she be hurt or remotely offended by the hateful remarks spit at her. Sometimes the microscopically fine line between complete abysmal overwhelment and absolute emptiness might look like a bottle of whiskey or a drug induced escape… While I own the former, and never drink it, I don’t choose that. Instead, on days (yesterday) like that, I curl up on the couch and watch an hour of Kitchen Casino, and then Jimmy Fallon.

For years and years my work was tied to the edge of the entertainment industry and I grew to appreciate the ins and outs of production, the quality of a great series/film and most specifically great entertainment writing. It’s not easy, and I appreciate it. While there are tons of people who don’t, (and because they don’t, and they have a voice, they somehow deem it as worthless garbage) I personally feel the entertainment industry is incredibly valuable. With these tiny fragments of time our emotions can be held, captured and touched in extraordinary ways, when it works out right. I love that! So yeah, if a show has solid writing, we will probably give it a shot. This means my husband and I store and watch a rather eclectic mix of things. I cry in most shows we watch because, again, we watch really well written things so I get pretty drawn in. It’s embarrassing, even to have Chw there sometimes.

Beyond So You Think You Can Dance (Which starts tonight!) HGTV Design Star, and a couple of random Food Network competition shows, I don’t do reality TV at all. Our family loves these shows so we watch them together whenever we can, but if we miss one, we delete it- no big deal. (Well, and I am obsessed with Catfish. We do not watch that as a family. That’s my guilty pleasure, when I’m folding laundry…)

Except… One day I saw a promo for True Tori, on Lifetime. I’ve never been a Tori Spelling fan, and am not a huge follower of celebrity gossip so I knew nothing about her husband’s alleged affair. If you’ve read my blog for long though, you’ll know that my husband and I divorced after an affair and eventually worked through hell to reconcile. It was a difficult journey, that our marriage is all a million times better for. (the journey, not the affair and the divorce) Whenever I get the chance to see elements of real marital stuff portrayed within the entertainment world, I gravitate there… (I’ll list a few movies at the end of this post that I think portray awesome marriage stuff.)


I have recorded this series weekly, and found time to painfully sit through it. I have skimmed posts and articles where people have shouted about how sure they are that it’s all a hoax because apparently Dean & Tori have money issues. (Being a non-celebrity gossip, non TS fan, I’m watching this show and looking at their house and the things they own, the way they eat and the things they buy their kids and thinking “they do????” but whatever… Maybe when someone grew up a Spelling and they lose THAT degree of money, it feels like money problems when you have a lot less.) Here’s the thing, this show is raw. Though there are parts of it that feel super fake- {like if I hear “our fairy tale _________” (insert: romance, marriage, story, ending, love, etc) one more time, my tv may find itself feeling more broke than Tori’s book claims they are.} there is an uncomfortable level of honesty there that no one in their right mind would expose themselves or their family to, unless it’s honestly to fight for their family. The series ends next week, and honestly I’m glad. I truly do suffer through these episodes. It’s a battle between wanting to smack one of them (it varies) and feeling empathy rip out of my chest  for this awful place they’ve journeyed. Haters are gonna hate. People will criticize and Tori is no stranger to this, she knew this going in… I’d suspect there is so much edited out, how could there not be? It’s weeks of footage put into less than 7 hours of tv.

Is it real? I believe it is. I have a lot of reasons I won’t get into here, because they aren’t important, or the point. My point is: is this high quality, well-written tv? No. Is this even “entertaining”? Absolutely not. But it is honest, and tragically, so relevant. And brave. Marriage is hard. Parenting is hard. Adulthood is hard. Life is hard. Sometimes we just need to get through it. I get through it with a little bit of tv, every now and then and Tori apparently gets through it by putting her darkest moments and breakdowns on tv. I’m sad for them. I’m sad for these kids. We’ve sensationalized celebrities so much, and project either complete idolization or venom at them that we seldom award them the opportunity to be people. These are people, parents who obviously love their kids, these are people who are fighting for a marriage. It doesn’t matter how they met… It really doesn’t. I have friends who have the very same beginning to their marriages and I would never (EVER) tell them they deserve infidelity because of how they got together. Just because these two are celebrities doesn’t mean they do either…

All of this was a really wordy way to say that we need to be so much more compassionate… Whether it’s about what we think is valuable or what our opinions are of others.


2 thoughts on “a long way trip to get to the tv point…

  1. It’s just like everything else…good in moderation. When I watch TV it is for a break from the reality (whatever that happens to be at the moment) I’m living. It’s the same reason I read books, play games, or watch movies. It’s a set amount of time to escape, relax, get my mind off the issues or decisions that are looming. If someone I love is sick, I don’t want to see/read anything where one of the characters has cancer. If we are having money problems, I don’t want to watch a movie about other people having money problems. It’s not fun. If I’m going to spend time and money on entertainment, I want it to be entertaining. Part if being entertaining is quality, and sadly there’s not much out there that fits that mold.

  2. I can see that… I think the idea of “quality” is different for different people though. I do understand the plot points being triggering. At the same time, someone else may find that “walking that journey” in that way as a comfort. Does that make sense?
    I recently had a talk with a friend who refuses to watch a movie with ANY profanity. When she learned that I watched (and loved) a newer movie with lots of it, she was horrified. She decided it was her job to “minister” to me about my “love of profanity”. The reality is, it doesn’t bother me IN CONTEXT. If it’s just littered with crass dialogue for crude sake, I’ll probably hate it and walk out. If it contextually fits the storyline, (ie: a gang member isn’t going to hold a gun to someone’s head and ask him if he “darn well wants to die, mommy fudger”) then it doesn’t bother me because that is our glimpse into someone’s story. Good, true entertainment is something written and most things written were born out of someone’s story…
    But yes, it can be a good escape.
    It’s also not a bad passion. I have friends who passionately love tv. More power to them, that’s awesome. At least it’s not porn or crack!

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