No Shushing! Social Television, Where Talking Is Encouraged!

In my house, we have a big living room with lots of sun, couches and chairs, but no television. My family comes and goes all day, talking, arguing and sitting. We keep the television in the basement, where the sun is mostly blocked out. The basement is where the family goes to watch television. It is really all it is good for.

Because of this, I am sometimes a little shocked around people who treat everything that comes on TV as an opportunity to talk. Sometimes people turn on their TVs, then ignore it and have a conversation, as though the program is simply environmental noise. To me, an important movie is like being in church - you respect it! You are before art now, you fool, art!

It's not always that way, of course. Some stuff is presented in a pretty straightforward manner. It has little literary or artistic merit, which makes it a great topic for the #BATTLEROYALE! It is ... SOCIAL TELEVISION!!


This is the most obvious social television, and most other social television is related to sports. Baseball, basketball, hockey, NASCAR ... my favorite, football! Even pro wrestling! It is all about getting together with friends and yelling through the television at each other.

We get more excited about these chemically enhanced men, none of whom know we exist or otherwise give a shit about us, for kicking balls between big sticks or running from one end of a space to another, than we do about getting a big promotion or an accomplishment for ourselves or our friends. It is the essence of social television - stupid, worthless, exciting, who-cases silliness.

Sports make for such great social television, I have a really difficult time watching it with no one around!

Reality Television

Sometimes women aren't into sports. They need something similar, but more romantic or with more humanity. For them, and for ourselves (let's face it), we bind over pathetic humans doing really stupid things ... or romantic things, amazing things, you name it.

Reality television has all of the qualities of a great drama with none of the art. Instead of elevating mankind, it reduces us to our most pathetic. It is fantastic but barren, otherworldly yet absurdly human. This kind of television can make for a great date — unless you learn how horrible the other person is by what they cheer for or bemoan. Have you ever thought less of someone you know after sharing a Reality TV experience with them?

Reality television unfortunately reflects humanity, in its most Shakespearean sense.

“Life ... is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”


Awards Shows

Does anyone ever say anything worth listening to at an awards show?

It is fun to see the spectacle, the music, dancing, outfits. Sometimes there are scenes from movies, but hardly so much that you even understand what is going on. So please, go ahead and talk. Again, this is like sports — where we cheer when our teams wins, and moan when they lose.

I will admit I don't watch many awards shows. Sometimes I feel I should, because there can be a fine line between that and Reality TV (I am looking at you, Kanye). Also, sometimes they feature rarely seen artists and recipients of honors, and I am a sucker for a good documentary, even if it's packed in glittery goop.

Election Night

I saved my favorite for last.

To me, Election Night is the ultimate sports event. The highest stakes in the most important game. I love watching the returns come in, but it is even better with other members of your team. Whatever your political leanings, watching election night together is the best because everyone feels like they've been working towards this goal, no matter who they voted for.

What do you think? What makes for the ultimate Social Television experience?


Most Helpful Girl

Most Helpful Guy

  • The Olympics are pretty good for social TV, as are awards shows. You don't really have to pay attention every second because of a dense plot, or anything. :P

    I've always liked the idea of not having a television in the living room area, though. People have forgotten that families are supposed to INTERACT. TVs and other screens shouldn't be in a room designed specifically for interaction, in my humble opinion.

    • Living rooms are highly trafficked areas in the house. They serve as a portal to every other room, which makes them highly valued to people who market TV. You can't walk through a TV room without possibly being grabbed by the program. This is the same quality that makes them the worst place for seriously watching TV - you can't focus with all of the comings and goings.

    • "You can't walk through a TV room without possibly being grabbed by the program."

      No? Watch me. :P

Join the discussion

What Girls Said 1

  • Maybe sports and if im watching a show or movie but usually no ones around or we want to watch those then its quiet. My family and myself dont watch TV just to watch tv its a specific program or the news then its switched off.


What Guys Said 3

  • I love your take - Talking while watching TV, really are you trying to annoy me but on the occasions you speak of it is okay but with caveats - If I am watching a match and want to hear the commentary, no talking - If I invite pals around, have beers , bar rules apply nobody can hear the commentary - Reality TV and Awards shows are not really my thing, I tend to record them and just watch the performances later - Election night is just a marathon and you need talking to break it up.

  • For me personally, I watch sports for the strategic element behind them. Once one really does understand the strategy and mechanics of the sport, it is WAY easier to get into it and like it!

    For actual programs, I have two "tiers" of TV.

    Tier 1 has those shows with very intense plots; think shows like Game of Thrones, Scandal, Gotham, etc. Those I watch with my senses glued to the set, not wanting to miss any details! Don't converse with me while I'm watching Tier 1 shows, I'll ignore you! :-P

    Tier 2 shows are mostly everything else. Reality shows, cooking shows, series with loose plots like Friends, etc. Those are background noise to have while conversing with someone

  • That's your opinion, but not everybody's opinion.