Shared TV Experiences Becoming Lost Art

tvmain_300x300Spoiler alert: I don’t have DVR. That said, I do utilize “On Demand” when I am not able to watch a particular show at its regular time. That said, I do strive, whenever possible, to watch my favorite shows “live” – that is, when they originally air to the masses.  It’s becoming a lost modus operandi and I think our society suffers a bit in the process.

O.k., let me opine a bit nostalgic here.  Even though, in the years before cable when I was growing up, most of us were limited to only three major networks of television programming, the majority of us watched the hot programs of the day ‘together’; in other words, at the same time. This often made for lively next-day water cooler banter that communally bonded those involved.  ”M*A*S*H” in the 70s, “Hill Street Blues” in the 80s and “Seinfeld” in the 80s and 90s.  In TV’s earliest days, families watched most programming together with “Ed Sullivan” the forerunner to “American Idol”.

Adjusting your schedule to accommodate a particular show time is almost unthinkable today. Yet, think about the media avenue where it still exists: the movies.  And while we often dread the prospect of sitting behind someone tall or missing the opening minutes when we make the decision to head to the silver screen, there is still something special about the “pack”-like shared experience of watching something for the first time with others.  From tense or tender moments to the applause at the end of a great celluloid offering.

Of course, DVR, Netflix, Hulu and the rest are desirable to missing must-see TV due to our increasingly busy schedules and the sheer volume of programming available today. Yet, isn’t something else missing when we attempt to discuss a previous night’s show only to be informed by the individual we are seeking to chat with: “Don’t tell me what happened! I DVR’d it!”