Sunday, April 12, 2009


The TV we watch cost me $88 at Target in 2004. It’s a 20” flat screen. If I want to upgrade to one which is bigger it looks as though I’ll be spending somewhere in the neighbor of $400-$450 minimum (that would be for a 32” which sounds far bigger but is really just a wider rectangle versus the almost square image I currently enjoy).

I’m not necessarily averse to spending $400 or so on a new TV—assuming it would last me the rest of my life—but first I question if this is reflective of the cost of new TVs or if it’s the price of a new TV because companies which put their name on it know they can get away with charging that much. Probably the biggie for us though, is that the quality of programming barely justifies an $88 investment let alone a $400 investment. Why do we watch “Dirty Jobs” and “Deadliest Catch” and “Top Chef” and “Monk” and re-runs of “The West Wing” and “Third Watch” and even “Andy Griffith”? I have to think that it’s because the other stuff that’s on is crappy. You’ve basically got shows like “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and “Who Wants to have Sex with a Millionaire” (I made that one up).

And worse yet is that we definitely have a favorite TV show. It’s called “Corner Gas” and it’s actually a Canadian show. It’s one of the best written ensemble comedies I’ve ever seen. It’s funny in a laid-back way and it’s set in a tiny mythical town in Saskatchewan. WGN broadcasts it—that’s the good news. WGN used to broadcast it 5 nights a week—Sunday through Thursday at 9 p.m. our time. Then they changed things. Their excuse is that people weren’t watching it. Now it’s on Tuesdays only, 3 episodes in a row, starting at 1:00 a.m. our time. One a.m.! For crying out loud! And they wonder why people aren’t watching it? At 1 a.m. the only other thing on TV is infomercials to either remove impacted feces or enlarge your penis—there aren’t even any good fishing shows on OLN.

We really enjoy this show. The DVDs of it cost about $45 per season and they’re in their 6th season now. Remember, I’m the “Cheap Bastid”—that comes to $225. So what did I do? I found the show online from a “private source" for a total of $35 for the first 5 seasons (not per season—total). The DVDs are in “plain white wrappers”—no boxes, no shrink-wrap. I guess that makes me some kind of criminal or something. I don’t know about that but we try to ration ourselves to one episode per day, kind of like dessert.

Let’s put it this way—WGN made me do it! I’m innocent! I didn’t want to have to move to Canada (or to the northern tier of the northern tier of states where we could get the CBC on cable). I’m just an innocent fan of this terrific TV show. WGN could have kept it on at a time when I’m awake and made my TV watching a lot more cost effective. But NOoooooo! They didn’t. They moved it to 1 frickin’ in the a.m., 1 frickin’ night per week. Jeesh—they made me do it. Honest, judge! I would have never bought those DVDs otherwise. It’s all WGN’s fault.

I don’t know when I’ll spend the money on a new TV. Maybe when I get a new job. $400 is a lot of money for an entry level HDTV. Those bad boys can get up to over two grand. And if I think twice—or three or four—times about $400, you know I’m not going anywhere near $2000. So I’ll stick to my $88 Target special, watching the Discovery Channel and Food Network. It beats 95% of the other stuff that’s on.

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