I AM a television addict.
It has been seven hours and 16 minutes since my last Law and Order and all I can think about is the next episode. After one week with a TV I now know all four Law and Order franchises (Original, SVU, LA and Criminal Intent) intimately as well as being able to identify each season of SVU by Olivia Benson's foundation (it becomes lighter and glossier as the seasons progress). Grey's Anatomy can be similarly quantified by Meredith Grey's hair, ditto Sex and the City and Carrie's biceps.
Last year I moved flat and didn't bother with a television. People go nuts when you tell them you don't have one. They can't process it. They look at you with the face of Homer Simpson, in that episode where he clutches his goggle box to his illustrated chest and cries: "How can one little insulated wire bring so much happiness?" That happiness had passed me by but for the past week I've been staying in a flat with a television and so far, I haven't made it over the doorstep.
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I can't switch it off. By the new year I'm going to need a district nurse to change the dressings on my pressure sores.
I can now follow the career progression of bit part actors. When Chandra Wilson appeared in SVU as FBI agent Rachel Sorannis, I thought "There's Miranda Bailey, off Grey's Anatomy". She played Nurse Jenkins in another episode, one with an impregnated coma victim. What other information, I wonder, is rolling out of my brain, 10-in-a-bed-style, to make way for this new, useless trivia? Despite the addiction, or maybe because of it, I'm still not buying a television. I don't think I've been missing anything. There was a show on ITV the other night called That Dog Can Dance. That's not worth the outlay of television and licence fee.
The adverts are worse. What's happened? Suddenly, the women in ads are indentured wifies, slaving through the festive season. The Asda wife doesn't even get a seat at her own dinner table. It has been 19 months since I lived with a television and time has frozen. It is still 2010 on TV: the same programmes are airing, the big American series are played on loops, the reality shows are cruel to new, talentless faces. One more SVU and I'm quitting. Just one more.