Tag Archives: tv

A Google Emotional Roller Coaster

Today we were watching a well-known episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” in which Mr. Rogers talks to a quadriplegic little boy named Jeffrey Erlanger.

While we were watching it, my husband said he wondered what had happened to Jeffrey, which led me to a quick google search where I found this beautiful clip of Rogers with Erlanger nearly 20 years later.

Rogers was being inducted into the TV Hall of Fame and Erlanger came to surprise him. Watching how excited Mr. Rogers was to see Erlanger made me teary-eyed. And listening to Mr. Rogers speak is inspirational. I wish I had an ounce of the kindness that seems to ooze out of every word Mr. Rogers says.

Both of these clips came up when I googled “Handicapped boy on Mr. Rogers.” With the second clip, I learned Jeffrey Erlanger’s full name, which brought me to the sad discovery that Erlanger died 6 years ago. He was only 36 at the time, but had already taken on some leadership roles in his community, advocating for other handicapped people.

And that’s how Google gave me an emotional roller coaster today. You google some obscure guest star who was on “Mister Rogers” 30+ years ago and you almost end up crying.

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Roku Bandits

The trouble with having three children is that it means three extra people to lose the remote control. We currently stream Netflix and Hulu Plus through a Roku streaming box and have no other forms of television aside from DVDs. Actually, I guess we have an antenna, but neither my husband nor I have been very successful in getting it to change channels properly. Only one of our remotes works with the Roku.

Every night after the kids go to bed, I go to watch some Netflix and the Roku remote is missing. Every single night. Every single time.

I usually can find it somewhere. Tonight is not one of those nights. It’s missing and I really want to watch some mindless television. We bought a universal remote at some point, but couldn’t get our Roku to work with it. We are out of luck if that Roku remote is missing! And it ALWAYS is.

One time I REALLY couldn’t find it and was getting so exasperated. When Lily came down in the morning, I asked her where it was.

“I hid it! I didn’t want Rose to use it.”

The Roku remote was hidden behind DVDs inside the entertainment center. I never would have found it in a million years. You know who can’t watch tv if you hide the remote from your sister? EVERYBODY ELSE.

Not cool.

And now the baby can walk. Sometimes she grabs our Roku remote and then leaves it… anywhere in the whole house.

It’s impossible. I miss the good old days when you could just control the tv FROM THE TV so a missing remote wasn’t such a big deal. Unfortunately, I really need that remote or I can’t watch ANYTHING.

I mean, I lost the remote before we had kids too, but at nowhere near this frequency. This is ridiculous! I quit!

I WANT TO WATCH TV. NOW!!!

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Felicity Sucks

As I said in a previous post, I really like the show “Felicity”, but I think Felicity herself is a terrible person that everyone in the show falls all over pretending like she’s the smartest, sweetest most innocent person in the world. Felicity is constantly described by other characters as innocent and kind-hearted, but most plots revolve around her doing something immoral or at least questionable.

Let’s think about the very premise of the show. Felicity is supposed to go to Stanford, but instead goes to New York City without telling her parents WHO PAY FOR COLLEGE. She basically lies about her whereabouts and assumes her parents will foot the bill. I mean, in what world does an innocent, well-behaved person switch colleges without even telling their parents? While her parents are domineering and meddlesome (though apparently right that she wasted time not pursuing pre-med, since that’s what she ultimately does), going to NYC without telling them was just beyond contempt. I know Felicity was finding herself, but we are supposed to walk away from this premise still thinking she has these amazing morals.

She doesn’t. Right away she’s abusing her student aid job in the admissions office to read Ben’s admission essay. She then rewrites Ben’s essay, essentially helping him cheat, but without his permission. She has a relationship with her RA, which seems like it should be against the rules. And she has that relationship with Noel while she clearly wants to be with Ben.

While she’s at work at Dean and Deluca, she’s never actually working. All she does is talk to her friends. Costumers are forever being ignored. She’s constantly skipping class or calling off work at the last second to take care of a personal crisis. If she were my student or employee, she’d probably be failing or fired, but all we hear about is what an amazing employee/student she is.

She breaks into the college swimming pool to drink and swim. She has a relationship with her boss at the student health center (who was pre-med, yet somehow in charge of the whole center including the doctors. Because that’s totally realistic!). She cheats on both Ben and Noel. She plagiarizes someone’s dissertation and tries to pass it off as her own project.

On top of that, she rarely goes home to visit her parents and often blows them off for summer break to follow some boy around.

She’s terrible. She’s a bad girlfriend, a questionable student and a horrible daughter.

But no. We are supposed to believe she’s this innocent little flower.

She’s not. It’s crap. I would appreciate the show a lot more of other people described her the way she was: Felicty is a girl who drinks a little too much and makes a ton of bad decisions. She is a girl who is in love with a very stupid boy who treats her like crap.

Amazing heroine, she is not.

Let me tell you, it is much easier to make it through college without breaking school rules or cheating on people than this show would let you believe. But I guess without all that insanity you wouldn’t have a drama worth watching.

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Nick Jr. Deprivation

We recently made the decision to cut cable and switch entirely to streaming Netflix and HuluPlus. We are also using a digital converter box plus antenna to get network television. Our cable bills were getting insane and most of our shows are available in one form or another for free somewhere.

At first, Lily and Rose were VERY excited about the prospect of Netflix streaming. They watched “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” non-stop during our illnesses and thought it was awesome that I could just pick any episode of most of their shows at any time. We had that a little with our DVR, but the selection was nowhere near as amazing.

It was all going great until the other day Lily came downstairs and said she wanted to watch Nick Jr. I explained that we can watch MOST shows from Nick Jr., but we can’t just turn on Nick Jr. What did she want to watch? She got very very upset.

“You mean, I never get to watch Nick Jr. again?!”

I explained again that there is PLENTY of kids tv available. PLENTY. Probably more than ever. And many of the shows are Nick Jr. We can practically recreate Nick Jr. in our own home with our own programming. However, two of her favorites, “Peppa Pig” and “Team Umizoomi”, are not available as far as I’ve been able to find. If any of you know of a trick to get those streamed to a Roku, let me know. I told her that with the money we save from not having cable, we can get some “Peppa Pig” and “Team Umizoomi” DVDs.

No. This was not acceptable.

“I don’t want DVDs! I want Nick Jr.!”

She ran into the other room to cry, but the tears were soon forgotten when I turned on yet another episode of “My Little Pony” (which is awesome. I’m an adult fan). I’m sure as soon as I bring home a couple “Peppa Pig” and “Team UmiZoomi” DVDs, the mourning period will be completely forgotten.

I am a bit in mourning for “Project Runway” and “Big Bang Theory” on the DVR instead of the computer (first world problems), but having every Star Trek episode of every genre ever available at my fingertips totally softens the blow.

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Movies Unveiled

Today Lily had a revelation when I showed her a picture of Ray Bolger as the scarecrow from “The Wizard of Oz” and then showed her a picture of Ray Bolger au naturale and explained that he was the same person.

When you are 5 years old, it is apparently a BIG SHOCK to learn that the people you see on tv and in movies are PRETENDING to be other people.

“But why is he stuffed with straw when he’s the scarecrow if he’s just a real man?”

Costumes and make-up were explained.

Lily was blown away.

I showed her Julie Andrews as Maria and Mary Poppins and then explained that Julie ALSO did a voice for “Shrek 2″. I thought Lily already knew about actors because the other day when watching the never-ending Julie Andrews monologue intro to our “Sound of Music” DVD menu, she yelled “Shut up, Julie Andrews!” at a 70 year old Julie. Apparently she was just repeating what she’d heard from me the last time we were trying to get to the disc menu. Oops. Seriously though, Julie Andrews, shut up and let us watch the movie!

After I explained to Lily that any actor/actress from any show/movie might show up in another movie because they are pretending and PAID to pretend, my daughter announced that she was going to tell her preschool teacher about it.

“Miss Sara needs to know that Julie Andrews was Maria AND Mary Poppins! And the scarecrow is wearing a COSTUME! He doesn’t really look like that! Miss Sara needs to know! People in movies and on tv are pretending!”

I’m sure Miss Sara will be shocked.

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TV Barbie

My husband loves game shows. I don’t know if there’s a bigger fan of “Family Feud” in the entire world. He used to DVR almost every episode and watch it when he came home from work. He loved “Family Feud” THAT much. He’d actually get upset if I accidentally deleted a “Family Feud” we hadn’t watched yet and we’d have to watch them out of order. What if we missed a key moment when a family won their fifth game and got a car? If we lived or visited California often, I’m sure we would have been on the show by now.

We also watch a lot of “Wheel of Fortune”. Lily used to call it “The Letter Show”. She used to ask if she could “watch letters” before she went for a bath. Anyway, the other night we were watching “Wheel of Fortune” and Rose got all excited when Vanna White came on the screen.

“Mommy! That’s Barbie!” she said, pointing at Vanna.

I had to agree, even at age 55 (holy crap. really?), Vanna White looks a lot like Barbie. She certainly wears dresses Barbie might wear.

So now when “Wheel of Fortune” comes on and we’re trying to get Rose to do something, Rose says “Mommy, I want to watch ‘The Barbie Show.’”

I’m sure Vanna White would be flattered! (Seriously? 55?! I mean I know she’s been around since the 1980s, but WOW!)

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Peppa Pig

What is the deal with “Peppa Pig”?

My daughters absolutely love it. They giggle hysterically whenever the pigs laugh. They think Peppa is the funniest thing since… “Little Bear”. I didn’t say their senses of humor was finely developed because I have no idea how “Little Bear” is funny, but they seem to think it is.

There are parts of “Peppa Pig” that are enjoyable and I can see that. What I can’t see is what is educational about it. Nick Jr. is allegedly “Preschool on TV”. Most of the shows do have some learning elements to them, but these pigs never seem to be learning anything. They aren’t really teaching anything. The only thing possibly different about it is that the pigs are British and speak with British accents. Do British accents somehow make our children learn more?

There are, of course, other ethnic shows on this channel– Dora, Diego and Kai Lan. All three of those shows teach kids other languages, among other things. “Peppa Pig” does none of that, although I did learn the other day that Brits call flashlights “torches”. I’m sure my kids were just like “Why the hell did they just call that flashlight a torch when it’s clearly a flashlight?” They probably also wonder why the pigs keep calling their yard “the garden” or gasoline “petro”. Since the pigs also speak English and never stop to say “This is how we say it in Britain,” kids are just left assuming that these are other terms are synonyms for words we use here. I suppose they are in a way, but if you walked into a gas station in the US and asked for “petro” people would think you were insane.

I don’t have a problem with “Peppa Pig” as a cartoon for preschoolers in general, I just don’t get how Nick Jr. can pretend it’s educational programming. It’s clearly not. (Dr. Toy Warden says it IS educational. It teaches us about British pigs.)

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Old-Fashioned Television Set

Last month when we painted our house, we insulted our 5-year-old television set. We carefully moved it from the tv stand to the ground, left it there for a day while I painted, carefully cleaned it with a Clorox wipe and carefully returned it to the tv stand. When we tried to turn it back on, nothing happened.

We panicked. Who wouldn’t? New tvs aren’t cheap and we haven’t upgraded to HD yet. Yes, I know. We live in the stone ages, but I really don’t care. I’ve seen how fantastic the picture quality is on HD, but really, regular old-fashioned tv is fine for me. I prefer not to spend the money to upgrade.

Amid our collective panic attack, I stopped painting and we headed to Walmart to contemplate a new tv.

Even with a low-end smallish HDTV, if we were to buy the appropriate cables and wall mount the whole ordeal would set us back about $500.

I felt like crying. It’s not that we didn’t have $500, but there are so many things I want more than an HDTV, which I don’t really want at all.

We came home to think over what to do some more. I looked over at the tv and it was on.

WTF?

TV miracle. It must have been scared into working when it heard we were shopping.

It’s worked absolutely fine this last month until Sunday when it wouldn’t turn on again after… nothing. It had been sitting peacefully on the tv stand this whole time. We turned it off, went upstairs for bed and it wouldn’t turn on when we came down in the morning.

I tried all the most technical ways to get the tv working again– poking at the switch and plug, punching it, yelling… even loudly tv shopping in front of the tv didn’t scare it back into working. It was dead.

We panicked again. The more I thought about it, the more I didn’t want an HDTV. I mean, it would be beautiful and the picture quality would be great and we’d look like we lived in 2011 instead of 1995, but there are 10 zillion other things I rather spend $500 on first. I don’t care about my picture quality. As long as I can see a regular picture without a lot of fuzz, I’m happy.

So we went to Craigslist and my husband ended up at an an Economy Inn that was upgrading to HD and getting rid of all its old Phillips flat screen tube tvs. They were offering them for $60 each, but offered my husband two for $90.

And that’s how we ended up with two “new” flat screen tube tvs. We figure we have a back-up in case the living room tv goes out again so we can put off investing in HD indefinitely… or at least until people start coming in our house and saying “Wow, what year is it?” or tube tvs become illegal or something.

(We’re trying not to think about what people in hotels watch on tvs. It doesn’t matter. I wiped them down. We’re pretending like these tvs are wholesome.)

If all goes well, I won’t have to panic about HD again for at least 10 years. But by then we’ll probably all be watching tv on something else all together. And we’ll probably be the last people to get that too.

Because I just don’t care. Give me the cheap old-fashioned tv set over HD any day.

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