My kids and hubby are a bit more into tv than I am. I let the kids watch a PBS show right when they wake up in the morning as they are usually only half awake and start to fight if they don't have 30 minutes to fully wake up. I try my best not to use the tv as a babysitter. My hubby like to zone out after work for awhile and I don't complain as that is his way to relax and shake off all the stress from work. That is one reason why we have decided against cable (the other is money, we don't want to have to pay for tv!). We don't feel that having 50+ channels of television on hand would be a good thing for our family. It could only entice us to watch more television, not less.
I was thinking the other night, while watching my guilty pleasure, that television is so far from reality. It's not that I ever thought it was real but it doesn't even come close to real life. Most programs that showcase families have fancy homes that are always clean and perfect, when money problems are discussed they are often solved right away, and the kids are rarely shown on the shows. Have you ever noticed that? In every single show that involves children the children have about a one minute appearance. How is that life as a parent?
I think, in part, television can skew the expectations of teenagers of what romance, marriage, and parenting is about. It's not that teenagers think television is real life either, but sometimes television is the biggest example in a teenagers life and tends to portray to them what they want. You see people fall in love on tv and it seems so magical, with music playing and everything happening in slow motion. Real love doesn't happen that way (usually!). Tv portrays married couples in a strange light. Any disagreement or fight tends to be detrimental to the relationship and if it isn't perfect 100% of the time it must not be right. And parenting? As I mentioned above, it does not portray that parenting is 24/7. It can disillusion what real life is.
That is why I always liked the show "Roseanne". Sure, she was crude at times, but it did seem to portray the reality of family life. The kids were always around, and often annoying. The house was messy and no where close to perfect. It showcased money and job issues. It showed cooking and cleaning and day-to-day life happenings. I think it was one of the few shows that came close to being something of reality. The only other one I can think of is "Full House", though it is a stretch that two uncles would be so involved in the family's everyday life, but it could happen.
Maybe the reason we like watching shows so far from the truth is that it would be boring to watch a show so close to our own life. But I think twisting shows to make them so unreal is a bit of a disservice to us. Even the reality shows are far from reality. For now I will continue to watch my guilty pleasures, but I wouldn't mind a rerun of Roseanne every once in awhile!