stick man watching TV

Why (and when) We Decided to Stop Watching TV

We had forgotten all about the catalyst that made us stop watching TV, but my wife, Shelly, had a conversation with Dan at HipDiggs and it triggered the memory.

It was 2004. My wife and I settled into our ever-so-comfortable reclining sofa. We turned on the TV and started flipping channels. I flipped high. I flipped low. Nothing seemed to grab us. A home improvement show here. A sitcom there. A show on how stuff is made. Nothing we felt like watching. I flipped a few more channels. Then…it happened.

AL: Hey, isn’t that Party of Five
SHELLY: You mean Matthew Fox.
AL: Yeah, he was the guy on Party of Five.
SHELLY: Yeah, his name is Matthew Fox.
AL: Whatever, you want to watch this?

A plane has crashed on a tropical beach. The fuselage is on fire, the engine is making terrible noises. People are walking around shocked and confused. Matthew Fox, a doctor, tends to survivors, heroically.

SHELLY: Hey, that’s that Hobbit from Lord of the Rings!
AL: You mean Dominic Monaghan?
SHELLY: No, Pip. Or was he Merry?
AL: No clue. Shhhhh.

And with that, we were hooked on the TV show known as…LOST.

LOST TV show made me stop watching TV
LOST – We certainly were!

The first season we were glued to the TV when it was on. And when we couldn’t watch it live, we recorded it to watch later, as many people still do with their favorite show.

After a few episodes into season one I started reading some forums online. Everybody wanted to chime in and say “It’s a purgatory”. Then you had these uber-smart people citing scientific and historical references beyond my comprehension and stating that the directors have vehemently denied there’s any possibility of it being a purgatory. Most likely because if they said “yep, it’s a purgatory, wow, you guys were quick”, then LOST probably wouldn’t have lasted the rest of the first season, let alone six.

We felt so invested in the show and never missed an episode.

And each episode provided more questions needing answering. Why is Walt special? What’s the significance of the numbers? Why don’t Jack and Kate just do it already? Hey, is that Jeff Fahey from The Lawnmower Man?

But as the episodes and subsequent seasons added up, the questions were rarely, if ever, getting answered. “Surely they’ll tie up all these loose ends”. Or so we thought.

And then came the final season in which they tried, and failed miserably, to tie up some of those loose ends. After the final episode it became quite clear that it had originally started out as a show about a purgatory, but because everyone figured it out after three (or less) episodes, and became a show about the following: A hatch with some Australian guy in it that pushed numbers. An escaped Polar Bear. Some weird Black Smoke monster. Hallucinations of childhood horses and dead parents. Science projects on remote and moveable islands that people can teleport to and from. And many, many, MANY more story lines that in hindsight we should have realized was just a way of stringing us bunnies along with a carrot.

So, doing the math we have…
Season One – 24 episodes X 1 Hour = 24 hours
Season Two – 23 episodes X 1 Hour = 23 hours
Season Three – 22 episodes X 1 Hour = 22 hours
Season Four – 14 episodes X 1 Hour = 14 hours
Season Five – 17 episodes X 1 Hour = 17 hours
Season Six – 17 episodes X 1 Hour = 17 hours
Total = 117 LOST hours – pun totally intended.

LOST - the reason I had to stop watching TV
These numbers were supposed to have a better purpose than what they turned out to be for.

Fast forward to 2010 and after the show completed, we felt nothing but complete and utter disappointment. Shortly thereafter we called our cable provider and down-graded to basic cable (this is a package they don’t even advertise – we had to ask for it). And a few months after that we found we were streaming things on YouTube more often than watching TV. So we called the cable company to cancel entirely. Oh sure, they tried to give us deals to stay; “What if we give you all the specialty channels for the same price for basic cable?”. No thanks. Fool me once, shame on you…Fool me twice…nope, not gonna happen cable dudes! We had decided to stop watching TV entirely.

I must say, once you stop watching TV you gain SO much more time back. People sit and watch hours upon hours of TV every night! We don’t become obsessed with TV shows anymore.

Sorry TV, but you LOST your control over us!


Now stop watching TV and go sell all your stuff!


16 thoughts on “Why (and when) We Decided to Stop Watching TV”

  1. My husband spends HOURS watching sports shows each week. SportsCenter, PTI, Mike & Mike, blah blah blah. I wish there was a way to break him of it. (PS, I love home improvement shows).

    1. Jenn, I used to be the exact same. Then I worked at an arena – saw every home game of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors for about four years. After that I didn’t need to watch any more sports on TV. I do watch the Superbowl and baseball playoffs (depending on who is playing). And home improvement shows are always fun to watch – but we just found they weren’t worth the $60 cable bill.

  2. Only if I could. You guys make a great argument for giving up TV .
    Actually there isn’t any argument because there aren’t 2 sides to this.

  3. Not sure I should say kudos for making all of lost. They lost me at the end of season 1. Glad thou when I saw how disappointed everyone was.

    I haven’t watched tv for years either 🙂

    1. Mels, you’re one of the lucky/smart ones that only LOST a few hours. Funny how we invest our time in TV shows, of all things. We don’t miss TV, that’s for sure!

      1. Although some nights I replace it with a youtube addiction. But thankfully it only lasts a night.

        PS i like your site. How i wish i could follow suit 🙂

        1. Haha, yes, YouTube has a way of sucking you in, and then you catch yourself watching silly things like surfing dogs, cat fails, and a myriad of other crazy videos!
          PS. We’re glad you like our site and we would love to see more people follow suit 😉

  4. Goodness have my wife Kelli and I been pulled in too! Not Lost, but with other shows. Some were awesome. Others OK. But we haven’t watched much TV since we started traveling 55 months ago; we’re about Amazon Prime 😉 If you REALLY enjoyed a show I feel it’s worth it for fun entertainment but we know that the idiot box is often consumed for idiotic reasons. Fab less guys 🙂


    1. Ryan, 55 months – that’s like, all of Breaking Bad…and Walking Dead…and Sons of Anarchy…all of which we haven’t been sucked in to. Good on you guys!

  5. I watch a TON of “programming”. I have not owned a TV for over 6 years, but my former roommate did. Plus, I have a laptop and Kindle. But not owning a TV keeps me from being a slave to a room or seat from which I must view. It often takes me over 2 hours to watch a one hour show b/c I feel the need to move around. And I mute the commercials on my viewing device- can’t stand that noise of constant ‘sales pitches’! Current goal, for there to be direct positive correlation between how much programming I watch and how much I read and exercise. I’d like the latter 2 items to far outweigh time with my “virtual idiot box”!

    1. Dana, we’ve been able to watch Netflix every once in a while (when a house sit has it). I like the fact there’s no commercials. We used to hate when commercials would come on and be several decibels louder than the show we were watching. You’re on the right path though. Perhaps for every hour of exercise you reward yourself with an hour of “programming”?

      1. I like that idea. It will definitely take some commitment. Right now I read or clean or do some squats before I turn on Hulu or Netflix. That often leads to other things which keep me gainfully distracted for quite a while! 🙂

    1. Thanks for commenting Katie. Online series are the way of the world now, and the trend seems to be pay for what you WANT to watch, instead of paying for 57 channels you’ll never watch so you can get the 2 you will!

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