On television and reading

Six Feet Under

Tonight was the premiere of the final season of one of my favorite shows — Six Feet Under, on HBO. It’s really brilliant, this show. I can’t get over how every episode is just so freaking fantastic. I’m going to be a bit sad when it’s gone.

Thinking is basically what I do for a living.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how I used to never watch television. For the first twenty-five years of my life, if you had asked me, I would have said that I didn’t consider myself a tv-watcher, even that I didn’t really like tv (except for football, of course). In the last five or six years, though, I’ve become addicted to quite a few shows: Law & Order, West Wing, CSI: Miami, the Sopranos … I honestly think that some of the best production/writing/acting in media is on these shows, but I am also wondering if it’s really TV that’s getting better or if it’s just that I am getting older.

Six Feet UnderIt feels like I’m struggling to read these days. I used to be voracious — three, four, even five novels each week all through high school and college. Now it seems like a shock if I manage to get through a book in a month. I certainly am not actually reading less — I spend all day reading … it’s just that my eyes are glued to a computer screen instead of paperbacks. Every time I blink it is as if I have less and less time to just relax, and when I do I am more apt to “veg out” playing a video game or watching television than reading.

I am thinking all day, every day. It’s basically what I do for a living. The computer programming stuff is sort of tangential — what I really get paid to do is think all day. And there’s a fair amount of pressure to it. A pretty large gaggle of people is depending on me to be thinking correctly. If I play college football on my Playstation 2 — using Florida to beat Ohio State 135 – 0 — then I’m not thinking at all, really. It’s serious brain-off time.

That being said … I’m currently about a quarter of the way through Bill Bryson’s wonderful A Short History of Nearly Everything, two stories into The Best American Science Writing of 2003, and almost done with David Sedaris’ Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. And I rip through Discover, Sports Illustrated, Men’s Health, and Scientific American magazines the day they arrive each month. So maybe I’m just not reading as much fiction as in my past. Hmm.

There are 3 comments on this post

  1. I must admit an odd facination with Six Feet Under as well… but just as I seem to be getting into the series, the last season is upon us. Prior it though… there really wasn’t anything I could say I would religiously watch. Thankfully I’ve been hooked on Huff! (courtesy of Showtime and available on Movie Central here in the GWN).

  2. What an outstanding ending!

    I kept thinking that we’d see David wind up committed, Claire checking into rehab, Ruth becoming a hermit and Brenda burying her child…but no…

    While I have enjoyed most every episode, the finale proved what talent Alan Ball and his group possess…

    Now I have a compulsion to buy the DVD sets for every season.

  3. What an awesome ending to SFU. I too rent the DVDs for CSI:Miami, Sopranos and Six Feet Under. Once the introduction fees go away, my
    cable bill goes up to $50/month or something. Except for sports, the commercials are just intolerable in hour-long episodes/movies. I’m just turned off by people begging me to buy medicine for diahhrea, vaginal cream, four hour erections, atheletes foot, and an irritated butthole. Why am I paying $50/month, yet i cannot find a 24/hour news channel with NO COMMERCIALS? Something is seriously messed up with that. I hope we see more of the HBO quality/no-commercials stuff on other channels. DVDs are great, but don’t buy them. Rent them from netflix or somewhere where they are guaranteed to have what you want in stock.

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