Friday, April 20, 2007

The Hiatus of Mae: How TiVo Saved My Relationship With Television

I just spent over two weeks travelling on business, most of which was spent in the middle of nowhere without reliable internet access - hence the lack of blogging on my part. Clearly it wasn't problematic here at CiG, as Caroline climbed above and beyond the call with her 2095704957 new blogs in my time away.

What really matters though, is that along with having no internet for two weeks, I also had no free time. Or, at least, no free time when it really counts: primetime weeknights. I was constantly working and it was impossible to even try and watch any of my shows, so I more or less gave up.

It was kind of shocking to realize less than a week into this trip that I felt no separation anxiety from my TV or my fandoms. I'm usually the one refusing to leave the house on any given night if it means I'm going to miss an important moment in fandom history, but suddenly I was apathetic. I can chalk up part of that non-chalance to the fact that I knew I had everything set to record on my DVR here at home, but it was still different; it was a feeling of not even caring if I ever watched those missed episodes at all.

Hell, Grey's wasn't new at all while I was gone and that was (generally speaking.) the only one I would have truly gone into withdrawal over. I caught an episode of Lost and Brothers and Sisters on ABC.com during one very rare day off from the grind, so it helped to quench that need for a while. But I still missed the last three episodes of Friday Night Lights - the only show I really, really wanted to keep track of - as well as every episode of everything I blog here for, aside from Grey's and Heroes, which both kindly took a TV hiatus at the same time as my own.

I came home with the intention of spending an entire day on the couch with my TiVo, catching up on what I had missed. But I got home and found myself less and less interested - found myself admitting to Caroline that being away and missing so much on TV had left me feeling like I was just going to stop watching them entirely. It was like I had lost the fangirl in me whilst I was away, and this new Mae felt so overwhelmed by what she had missed that she didn't even give a rat's ass if she ever saw those shows again.

It was a really effing weird feeling. I assume there are plenty of people in the world who have actual busy lives and no time to become truly invested in television, but I have never been one of them. Television has always pretty much been a big part of my life. Television is my career, quite literally. So for me to suddenly not care about watching it? That was creepy.

Lucky for me, I finally did sit down and catch up on my shows - it took place over a three day period instead of a quick 8 - 10 hour spree, but it happened nonetheless. And you know what I learned?

I have no idea how people live without TiVo. No, seriously. I was trying to convince myself that I didn't care, but it turns out I had missed out on some of the best effing episodes of ALL my shows, ALL SEASON. I never would have forgiven myself had I decided to give up on them entirely. TiVo saved my fandom life, and it really boggles my mind to try and imagine how I would have pulled that off if DVR hadn't been invented yet.

Memories of the old days of VHS tapes are still mildly vivid in my mind's eye, and I cannot even begin to figure out how I would have caught up on my shows if that was still our best bet in recording devices. I don't know about all of you fandom kids, but I used to have entire drawers and boxes in my bedroom dedicated to holding all of the VHS tapes I used to record episodes of ER and whatever else I was in love with at the time. It was an overwhelming collection that I was happy to throw into a dumpster once ER gave me a solid premise for hating it forever, and it really makes me wonder how anyone could survive today on that same recording plan.

There's no way in hell that I could have taped everything I was missing on a VCR. I would have had to have called several different friends and family members and tasked them with taping one specific show each week, because my own VCR would have imploded trying to keep up with my TV schedule.

Without TiVo, I truly believe I would have simply given up on the majority of my shows after missing two weeks of programming. Without TiVo, I would have been rendered worthless to this blog. Without TiVo, Caroline would have killed me.

But I did catch up, and I am more addicted to my shows than ever before. The episodes I missed while I was gone were just that good.

I can't believe I came so close to walking away from my lovelies. If you don't have a TiVo, I am incredibly interested to hear how the holy hell you manage to keep up with your shows from week to week. Because I surely couldn't do it.

TiVo, you are my hero.

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