Put the remote down, Chuck Sambuchino exhorted. Of course I agree with the advice, much as I agree with sensible diets, daily exercise, and respecting my elders.
Was Mr. Sambuchino aware, however, that the very day after the NCW conference, Xfinity launched a free week of premium channels, including HBO? Game of Thrones, True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, the list goes on. Without naming names, some have been known to cram multiple seasons of multiple shows in seven short days and nights during this annual rite. Yet here was a respected author, survival guide extraordinaire, declaiming the dangers of mindless TV. He was quite emphatic. Doth he protest too much? Was Mr. Sambuchino, in fact, a covert agent deployed to increase television viewership via the timeless tactic of forbidden fruit?
The timing was suspicious.
Hearing Sambuchino’s admonitory voice in my ear, I reviewed the options. To win the argument in my head, it was imperative to select shows that would teach me to write better, without me actually writing. With such worthy criteria in mind, I narrowed candidates to The Newsroom and John Adams. My viewing would not be a mind-suck, but a Master Class in script-writing from award-winning writers. For Free. Hah! I didn’t even need the remote because I didn’t change channels! Don’t try your defeatist tricks on me, Mr. Gnome Gnasher.
Settling in, I started with the second season of The Newsroom. Would Will and Mac finally get together? Speaking solely for myself, I don’t know anyone, much less an entire roomful of people, so persistently snappy, snitty, and witty as Aaron Sorkin’s creations. A fact I found myself slightly grateful for, although my hint of weariness with his characters could be due to watching nine episodes nearly back to back. Normally, I might've broken it up with another show, but I was being responsible.
Damn you, Chuck! Not only must I suffer the typical guilt engendered by turning on the flickering screen, but now the ghost of the keynote speaker from a conference I paid good money for keeps popping up like one of his sneaky little red-hatted attackers, denouncing my frittering time away on free cable. Wavering between I shouldn't be watching! And, I could've watched so much more! I couldn't completely enjoy myself.
Due to time constraints, I was cut off after Episode 3 of John Adams. Fortunately, I already read David McCullough’s fabulous book, so I know how it ends. Plus, AMC just launched a new show based on a Revolution-era spy ring, so I can still fill up on rebels and lobsterbacks in judicious weekly segments. Naturally, I won’t let it stop me from writing. Chuck should be proud.
Valerie Arnold is a writer of mysteries as well as a real estate agent with RE/MAX Alliance of Northern Colorado. Call her if you are selling/buying a home and she'll weave a mysterious tale for no charge.