My Year Without TV
(c) 2008 Essay by Ross Anthony

How much TV do you watch? Did you ever say something like this, "Nope, I can't go, my show is on that night." Or "I'll join you guys after my favorite sitcom?" I certainly said those things. I grew up on TV. Particular nights were scheduled only after referencing the TV guide. I thought I was happy. I had no idea there was life without TV. It simply didn't occur to me. Then, during my second year of graduate school, I rented a room in an apartment that did not have a TV. It's funny, when you're looking for a place to live, you have lots of questions, but you just assume everyone owns a TV. I had moved out of state, so I didn't have one. They didn't have one. Three students in an apartment without a TV – how was it possible? They didn't want one. Huh? And I didn't have the money.

Let me tell you dear reader, that was the first most productive year of my life. I started and finished so many meaningful projects with all those TV-absent hours. I ventured into the real world, not reality-shows. I met real people and tried out so many different actual happenings. With a TV in the house, I would have never gotten off the couch. I'd always thought the TV had brought the world to me, to my living room. And yes, in some ways it had. In other ways, it had locked the world out of my living room and locked me in. There is such a huge wonderful array of actual life outside "the box" that I had been missing my whole life. I'd allowed myself to be a consumer of audio/visual streamage – a receptor. But with "the box" unplugged, I became a producer, a creator of the streamage of my actual life.

For this reason, I'm afraid that I'm going to have to insist that every person unplug themselves from TV for 1 full year, the earlier the better. After that, you will have broken the addiction. After tasting actual real life, TV will no longer have an unrivaled hypnotic effect on you. Oh, it will still tempt you and sometimes win. But your maturity, your rite of passage will have earned you the title of a real whole person with the ability to hit the off-button with far greater discipline and frequency. Enjoy your lives, they cannot be recorded and viewed at a more convenient hour.


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Copyright © 2004. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Friday, 18-Jan-2008 08:17:42 PST