For the duration of my life, I have prided myself on my ability to sit on the couch and watch whatever was in front of me, even if it was bad, for hours on end. Some might call this laziness, but I prefer to look at it as being open-minded enough to give just about anything a chance. This skill has opened my eyes to television shows that I’d previously never consider, and for that I am grateful. But an unfortunate side effect of my pandemic experience is inattention—a tragedy when the current situation calls for nothing less than all-consuming distraction.
At the beginning of this shit, I watched Tiger King like everybody else, thrilled at the prospect of a show so wild that I could, for one hour at a time, remove my brain from the news cycle and pay attention to something else. As inside time dragged on, nothing else caught my attention the way that show did. I’ve tried Selling Sunset, urged by friends whose opinions I respect, but found myself unmoved; I want more house and less drama about people that I don’t have any vested interest in, and so I set that aside for the time being. Inspired by other friends who were either rewatching or watching The Sopranos, I gave that a shot, but could not pay attention enough to fully appreciate the pathos and set it aside for now. Everything else that I tried to watch that required even an ounce of concentration, attention, or thought was a solid no.
What I have managed to watch in its entirety is, unsurprisingly, fluff. The Floor Is Lava doesn’t count as a show, really, but it’s something, and I loved it. Never Have I Ever wasn’t my favorite thing in the world, but I made it through. Since I’m a sucker for a rom-com in any form, Palm Springs stuck with me so much that I watched it a second time to see if I could glean further insight into the nature of romantic relationships. Unfortunately, I learned nothing, but the way time functioned in that movie was soothing to my addled brain. Otherwise, nothing else has stuck enough to be memorable.
Instead of settling into my couch to watch television or even read a book, I’ve stared at TikTok until my brain felt actually empty, eaten a cookie or two, and gone to bed. This produces the desired effect of a partial lobotomy, but unfortunately does not feel sustainable; the emptiness that TikTok brings is only good for about 10 minutes, but quickly sours into regret and nascent body dysmorphia. Desperate for something, I turned to HGTV’s archives and found Color Correction, a dismal program from 2008 featuring bad design choices like this river rock tile, below.
Perhaps I was looking for inspiration or maybe I wanted my television to be somewhat educational, but whatever the impulse was, Color Correction pushed me over the edge. I have reached the end of television. I am traversing the hinterlands in search of something. I have no idea what to watch. I will try just about anything. Help.