TV: You’re Dead To Me

image from JetCityOrange


In 2010, I swore off celebrity magazines, cleaned out my RSS feeds, and significantly reduced my intake of Hollywood hoopla. (You can read about it here – there are some good bits about the relationship between celebrity imagery and body image, I think.)

I’ve mostly stuck to my guns. I bought, maybe, two or three issues of US Weekly in the last year, and I only occasionally give in to my curiosity about what’s happening on blogs that used to be my favorite sources for celebrity gossip.

But this season, I got suckered into both American Idol and Dancing With The Stars. I know! I thought I was cooler than that, too! But as I confessed in my post last year, I thoroughly enjoy the melodrama of Idol and DWTS. There’s nowhere to hide while singing or dancing – one’s true character is shown in all of its fragile human-ness, and I love that. Also, I love to look at Jennifer Lopez. And her outfits. And the way her nail polish matches her outfits.

But every Wednesday, when I realize 90 minutes of my life have passed while I cooed over how pretty J.Lo. looks, I feel like a lamer version of myself. It’s not dissimilar to the way I feel when I mindlessly snarf food I didn’t intend to eat.

And now that Melissa and Dallas at Whole9Life have thrown down the gauntlet with their Kill Your TV program, change is coming to our living room.

Dave and I are taking on the challenge. No TV for the month of May. It shouldn’t sound like a big deal – and the reason I know I will benefit from trying it is that the idea makes me feel a small flutter of anxiety.

Weeknights will be fine. We’ll eat dinner. We’ll play with Smudge. We’ll read. I’ll make food for the next day and head off to bed.

But weekend evenings, we often curl up with dinner and a movie. From here, Friday and Saturday evenings are looking like long, quiet stretches – which only makes me realize how much we rely on the TV to provide an easy way to pass the time.

I’m kinda horrified at that last sentence.

I don’t want to “pass the time.” I want to thrive. I want to Do Stuff.

So we’re unplugging our TV on May 1. Instead of flopping on the couch with the remote, I’ll flop with a book. Or work on my Prague scrapbook. Or play the piano. Or adapt new recipes. Or go for walk in the neighborhood. Or meditate. Or write blog posts. Or  enjoy some bonus sleep. (Sssshhh… there’s even been talk around our house of instituting an after-dinner dance break every night.)

I’m not an anti-TV zealot, nor do I pass judgment on people who watch TV. Let me be perfectly clear: I love-love-love to loll on the couch with Smudge, Dave, a plate of dino-chow, and some craptastic entertainment. But I’d like for that activity to be a sometime indulgence rather than a nightly norm. There are far too many things I want to do that I say I don’t have the time to do. If I turn off the TV, I’ll get at least 60-90 minutes back every day.

Therefore, no TV in May! Then Dave and I will discuss how TV fits into our healthy lifestyle after the 30-day experiment… just like we did with the Whole30 eating program. Just as I sometimes decide to eat tortilla chips, I suspect I will sometimes decide to tune into J.Lo. (I know Jennifer is crying tears of relief right now!) But it will be a decision, not a habit.

How about you?

Are you ready to kill your TV for a month to see what kinds of fun activities emerge without the blue box? Just take a look at the Whole30 Kill Your TV program and consider it. Like the Whole30, I suspect this will be more manageable when we all do it together.

(By the by, a google search for “kill your tv” yields some powerful, clever imagery.)



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  • danni says:

    We haven’t had TV in almost 5 years. I would be willing to bet people will just spend more time online.

  • Mel says:

    Danni –> My plan is to make a list of activities I can turn to so I don’t waste time online. Writing blog posts is OK — and researching a particular topic has my stamp of approval, but I think it’s a mistake to replace “mindless surfing” with “mindless watching.” Plus, I suspect Melissa and Dallas will have some guidelines around that.

    • Adam Kayce says:

      Yep – it’s not just 30 days of no TV, it’s no video games or movies, either.

      So yeah, I’m sure a bunch of people will hang out on Facebook more, but that, too, can (and hopefully will) get old.

  • Carrey says:

    Good luck! We rarely watch TV – heck, we hardly even watch movies these days, and if we do, it’s a trip to Alamo. (Mmmmm, lettuce-wrapped sandwiches.) The only time I see it is at the fire station because the boys always have it on. We read – outside in the Brazilian hanging chair is my new favorite spot – and do stuff around the house. Weekends aren’t too hard. We usually have rugby stuff or jobs to go to. I think you’ll like the transition, though when people talk about pop culture, you may be out of the loop.

  • Andrea says:

    I floated the idea to my husband and the two out of three boys old enough to grok the ginormous yaw of empty time they would suddenly have available to not stare at a screen and I saw horror in their eyes. We don’t have cable and don’t watch hardly anything we get on the networks, but between Netflix, XBOX and (my downfall) internet, there is still way too much screen time. Like you, the reaction proved the need to do something. We are negotiating time limits.

  • Jenn says:

    Mel- I’m with you on this one. I finally gave up gossip mags this Jan. 1st. Same issues as you…how much skinnier is she than me? Not only do I save money, but when I pick up one at the dentist or else where, there is really nothing that important to me.
    I’m going without t.v. for the month of May, too! I don’t really watch that much, except to veg out Saturday afternoons. That’s fine, I’ll walk my pugs instead and get some fresh air!
    Good luck to you and Dave.

  • jeannie cooper says:

    Long time reader, love your blog and just wanted to say, love, love, love the new look. Keep up the good work, you have provided much inspiration in this house. I however cannot talk the spouse into “true” no tv – “I can still play video games and watch movies right”. Sigh.

  • Sameer says:

    Hey, here’s an idea: meditate for 30 minutes (or 60…whatever you choose) every evening for the month of May. I bet it’ll make quite a difference.

  • Mel says:

    We killed our cable about two years ago, so I’ve mostly been watching Netflix, etc. – except for that damn broadcast AI and DWTS. This is just the next step in weaning away from passive entertainment to Doing Stuff.

    Sameer –> It’s like you’re reading my mind. Beginning meditation is at the top of my list. First meditation: May 2.

  • Walker says:

    Love the makeover!

    “craptastic entertainment,” lol. Love it. Good luck to you both!

  • Hannah says:

    I just brought our cable down to basic. We only (I do mean that) watch local news and weather in the morning while eating breakfast. Now we go out and do something fun every night. We have both said that we are closer in our relationship and we are totally digging our ‘wholesome’ time with our 7 month old son!