Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Do you scream at the TV?

Even though we all know they can’t hear you inside the screen (you do know that, right?), how many of you still scream at your television? How many of you have “Living Room Rage?”

And I don’t mean sporting events. All proud sports fanatics do that. It’s either scream or break lamps. We scream at ballgames knowing the players won’t hear us (except at Oakland A’s games in September).

I’m talking about entertainment programs. What brought this to mind was Sunday night’s Emmys. During long acceptance speeches I find myself yelling at the screen, “Get off! Shut up! Where’s the music?” And “Fuck your agent at CAA!”

Do you do that too?

Do you yell at the screen over some absolutely idiotic story turn? Or vile 2 BROKE GIRLS vagina joke?

My father once threw a shoe at the TV.

Elvis was once so upset seeing Robert Goulet on the screen that he shot his television set.

Tell me you didn’t curse loudly at the monitor or throw something during the finale of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER.

I don’t believe it’s possible to watch THE PRICE IS RIGHT without screaming out prices. Or WHEEL OF FORTUNE without screaming out vowels. And if you’re with friends, it’s fun to play along with JEOPARDY (until you look like an idiot for not knowing Hawaii is a state).

I’m guessing way more people scream at their TV’s (or computers or tablets or phones) than ever before. Hate watching shows has become a national pastime and what good is sitting through some cringeworthy piece of shit if you can’t let them have it?

I don’t think “Living Room Rage” is a bad thing. It’s a crazy thing and a futile thing, but not harmful. And generally it’s in the privacy of your own home so who’s going to know except your neighbors, but they already hate you?

So rejoice TV screamers. What you’re doing is totally natural and won’t cause you to go blind. And if you don’t yell at your TV screen, if you have more self control than that, if you recognize that it’s a pointless exercise, if you are restricted by religious beliefs -- I say to you: Wait until the Presidential Debates.

31 comments:

Carol said...

We watch a quiz show called Only Connect and I will frequently yell at the contestants in an attempt to inform them which word they need to pick to complete the wall sequence. They don't ever listen though.

BA said...

I screamed at it the other night when I heard a televison personality plagiarize Danny DeVito's buggy whip speech from OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY.

Barry Traylor said...

Well Ken, I freely admit that I might have said something like WTF at the end of the last episode of LOST.

DaveMB said...

I heard during the heyday of Monday Night Football that a bar in NYC had a raffle every week where the winner got to fire a shotgun at the TV while Cosell was talking.

ELS said...

I enjoy a lot of "comedy" news shows* (such as "Last Week Tonight", "Real Time", or "Full Frontal.") But sometimes I get a little frustrated at their stories and talk back quite directly to the TV. My wife finds it disturbing, but as she once said, "I'd discuss it with you, but I'd hate to interrupt your conversation."

My wife is very weird, but very hip.

*Of course, I find such news shows far more informative than actual news. That's a damned shame.

metrocard said...

The African-American stereotype of yelling at the movie screen has been a thing for awhile. Am I guilty of cultural appropriation if I, as a white dude, yell at my TV?

Alan C said...

I'm pretty sure people who don't know Hawaii is a state don't watch Jeopardy.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

I've been yelling at the Weather Channel, because it's not supposed to be in the fricken 90s in September, but it is - August is supposed to be over long before now, not held over and prolonged into a better month. I'm so sick of this!

John Hammes said...

Ernie Kovacs presented a t.v. "blackout" sketch (part of his German "Mack The Knife" blackouts) where Bobby Lauher is an annoying t.v. host reading an annoying story. Joe Mikolas, as an annoyed viewer, holds a pistol and takes aim at the television, with Kovacsian results.

This would have aired circa 1960-62. Apparently viewers have a long history "interacting" with said furniture.

Terence Towles Canote said...

I scream at political ads, but I am not sure that counts. I yell at game shows when I think people aren't being particularly bright. I don't do it during narrative programs very often, unless the characters are being very, very stupid.

thomas tucker said...

Why didn't Elvis like Robert Goulet?

John Hammes said...

Robert Goulet made a few appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show beginning in 1961, and was pretty much a household name from 1962/63 onward. An automobile crash claimed Ernie Kovacs early January 1962. Would make for an interesting story if a young Elvis had possibly seen that particular Kovacs sketch and was then "inspired" years later when Goulet was famous, but who can know? Like Elvis sightings and Nielsen ratings, some things can never be known.

Cat said...

I tend to yell at the TV during a show called Say Yes to the Dress. "You don't need a $10000 wedding dress!" I yell.

Peter said...

The only times I really shout or scream at the TV is when some moron is on the news saying we bring terrorist attacks on ourselves and we're to blame that jihadists wish to slaughter innocent people to get their 72 virgins.

On a different note, I'm saddened by the death of Curtis Hanson. He directed and co-wrote one of the greatest films of all time, LA Confidential, which is an absolute masterclass in filmmaking. The Academy Awards should apologize for the travesty of giving best picture and director to Titanic over LA Confidential, but at least Hanson and Brian Helgeland were awarded for best screenplay adaptation.

He also directed the terrific Wonder Boys. Although I was familiar with Bob Dylan before, it was his fantastic theme song for Wonder Boys, "Things Have Changed", which got me into his music.

And with good, intelligent thrillers a rarity now, he made some great ones with The Hand That Rocks The Cradle and The River Wild.

Rest in peace.

Pete Grossman said...

Hell, don't have to wait for the debates. I've already lost my voice. The upside? Getting lots of exercise as my arms flail. There oughta be a cable channel for this political season and call it Train Wreck TV - running their top show 24/7: The Deflection Election.

Jahn Ghalt said...

I'm going to take a wild guess and suppose that back in the day shooting CRT televisions was a lot more fun (with "flyback transformers" and 10-20kV power supply voltages) than shooting modern TV's would be.

I always found that laughter was the best therapy while watching THE PRICE IS RIGHT.

Calling out JEOPARDY questions does not strictly require the presence of friends - among "strangers" it might be fun to call out the questions before the answers are selected (like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day).

Of course the most common and socially acceptable screaming is with sporting events - like when the 'Jays shelled 'Kuma last night at Safeco (damn them, anyway).

DBA said...

I yelled at the TV quite a few times during the Emmys, in particular when someone made an otherwise lovely speech, but then ruined it by continuing after they seemed liked they'd finished and even started to get played off. Other people want to talk too. Nobody likes a show that ends twice, a speech shouldn't either, and they lost all their goodwill over what they were saying by not knowing when their moments passed.

Also sports. Of course sports.

Ted said...

Just last night, I was yelling, "Hey, 'Bull,' your show is just 'Lie to Me' but dumber! And do you really think the fine Americans who watch CBS dramas every night want someone lecturing them about how easily manipulated they are?"

ChipO said...

Sure we yell - that's easy.
But does it ever make us stand up and applaud?
Have you?

Andrew Krigel said...

I don't typically converse with the TV but my computer is a different story. In response to the frequent beep, I am prone to respond "Beep YOU".

D. McEwan said...

Oh yes. I'm a TV screamer. When I hear misinformation put forth as truth, I yell at it. And lately Donald Trump or ANYONE supporting him gets me screaming "SHUT THE FUCK UP!" at my TV.

My mother, whose mother was an English teacher, used to correct the grammar of anyone and everyone on TV.

Mike Britt said...

As a eleven year old boy I used to kiss Annette on the lips during the closing credits of the Mickey Mouse Club. I would never throw a shoe or yell at her.

Joe said...

Ken,

Since you love sitcoms and Vin Scully, what did you think about Vin's sitcom narration career on the immortal "Occasional Wife"?

Loosehead said...

Over here in Britland we have a lot of programs showing our ineffective border force policing our totally porous borders, and it infuriates me, so I am compelled to shout, when they just let people go. "Overstayed your student visa by 6 years? No problem, you scamp, off you go." "Destroyed your passport, so we don't know which country to deport you to? No problem, you scamp, off you go."
We also have programs about debt collectors, and I also shout at people who just decide not to pay their rent. It might appear cruel, but then I just remember there is a landlord trying to pay a mortgage.
When they find me dead of a heart attack, in front of the haunted fishtank, they only need to look in the days tv schedule to find a cause of death.

Ralph C. said...

Some people yell at the screen, and some just riff at the screen. Mystery Science Theater 3000 taught us it's okay to do this. :-)

Jay said...

Some political blogger said long ago that at the beginning, he had so few readers that his blogging was basically just yelling at the TV. (ByKenLevine has obviously cleared that hurdle.) Now people don’t even need a blog. Instead of (or along with) screaming at the TV, they post to Twitter.

Graham Powell said...

The only time I can recall yelling at the TV was at the end of Game 5 of the 2005 NBA Finals. Detroit's Rasheed Wallace double-teamed Manu Ginobili... leaving open the guy they call BIG SHOT ROB! Who promptly got the ball and canned the game-winner. I was rooting for Rob and the Spurs and even I yelled in dismay when 'Sheed left him open.

Jeff :) said...

I hate watch Nancy Grace sometimes. I can't do it often as she just gets my blood boiling. She will invite guests onto her show and then talk over them while they are trying to present their counter argument to her point. It just infuriates me. I'll be screaming at the TV for her to shut the hell up and let the other person speak.

ELS said...

Also, when my wife and I (and others) watch Sunday Night Football, we find it VERY easy, and appropriate, to yell "SHUT UP CRIS!" at ANY comment Cris Collinsworth makes. Geez... he played the game. Ya might think he knew something about the game... :)

Ray32 said...

You know that there's a technical term for that in communication science, right? It's called parasocial interaction, and it's perfectly healthy behavior.

Ellen Todd said...

Yes, I DO yell at the TV, especially during political debates!!!