In 1992 Bruce Springsteen released a song titled, “57 Channels and Nothing On.” Here it is almost 20 years later, and as a long-time Glendale cable subscriber I find myself saying the same thing. On any given day you’d think I’d be able to settle on something among 177 channels (and those are just the free ones). Personally, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to commit to watching anything running over 30 minutes.Typical example, on a lazy weekend afternoon after flipping through the full cycle of channels, not once, not twice, but three times, I come across the 1960 classic La Dolce Vita, a movie I have amazingly never seen. Just 15 minutes into it, I’ve run out of excuses to pass it by. Though it’s over 50 years old, the theme is still very current – confused, unfulfilled Italian man-about-town meets vivacious American actress hounded by paparazzi in Rome and all the reckless consequences that follows. Eventually it becomes tedious to divide my attention between the subtitles and action on the screen. After 35 minutes, my wanderlust is reactivated. I change the channel AGAIN, and end up watching the last 10 minutes Toy Story 3 (which I’ve seen before). Terminal cuteness wins over sophistication and nostalgia.
More often I find myself sitting in front of the TV while simultaneously browsing the internet on my laptop. In between checking e mail, looking for recipes, and Google-ing random trivia. That’s not to say I don’t have favorites: Modern Family, 30 Rock, Criminal Minds, Project Runway, and What Not to Wear. Don’t hate me because I don’t watch Dancing with the Stars (recaps on Access Hollywood are enough) but I totally get why it’s so popular. I’m not above lovingSouth Park and Family Guy. Hoarders is a guilty pleasure.We’re inundated with information more than ever and feeling truly satisfied with none of it, which is why we conclude there’s nothing on. I’ve never believed that television is the “vast wasteland” as some detractors portray it. In fact, those people really piss me off. There’s something out there for everybody. Finding it is now a major challenge.