Like many people of my generation, I don’t watch television. I’ve long said that anything worth watching these days shows up online sooner or later,* and the few times I’ve been unavoidably exposed to what fills the airwaves these days has left me lamenting humanity’s future. It seems to be a never-ending sea of banal tripe, with shows like “Honey Boo Boo,” “Jersey Shore,” and “Survivor” that make Jerry Springer look like high opera. Even the shows that don’t automatically insult my intelligence are pretty bad; I recently saw a bit of a cooking show (“Man vs Food Nation,” I think) that make me want to punch the host in the face before drowning him in whatever vat of heart attack he was fawning over.
It’s a good thing I’m not a violent person.
But recently, I’ve found myself setting aside time to actually watch a show live on the air. My girlfriend and I have been watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. together, and it’s become a weekly tradition. It’s a fun show, but I’ve done some wondering about why we bother watching it, when it indeed shows up online the next day.
Part of it may be the fact that we’re both Joss Whedon fans. I loved Firefly, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog is almost required viewing with our friends. I’ve even watched a bit of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (it’s angsty enough that I would have loved it while in high school), and of course The Avengers was ZOMGAMAZEBALLZ. So there’s definitely a touch of creator loyalty motivating us. But I don’t think that’s the defining issue.
I think it’s the fact that it’s something we can do together, experience with each other at the same time. Watching the show online at my desk just doesn’t have the same attraction as sitting on the couch listening to my girlfriend giggle at Mr. Agent Coulson’s newest bit of resigned affectation. I know the show hasn’t gotten the best reviews, but sharing the experience is more important to me than the objective subjective quality of the thing being experienced.
How about you guys (if I have any readers left)? Is there anything you do because you enjoy the experience of something rather than the thing itself? I know that’s a convoluted way of phrasing it, but hopefully it makes sense.
* Legal or… otherwise.