Tuesday, April 29, 2014


I could have sworn that television had this thing called “May Sweeps” but apparently that doesn’t apply to sitcoms, or at least most of the sitcoms that my wife and I choose to make the time to follow. Here we are in the waning days of April and not only has HIMYM been gone for about a month, but Community and Parks & Rec have both already aired their respective season finales (in both cases, episodes which could also have served well as series finales, although Parks & Rec is returning in the fall and Community probably will be back at some point, too). I don’t believe I’ve ever made it a secret how some of the most inspired (and/or maniacally desperate) strategies we’ve ever devised and employed to consistently get all our kids to go to bed peaceably and on time have been motivated by a desire to be present for the opening minutes of weeknight sitcoms that happen to broadcast at 8 p.m. We’ve gotten into a pretty good groove about that lately, to be honest, after enduring some particularly wearisome passive resistance techniques our daughter dug in her heels on, but of course now that the gears of the bedtime machine are spinning smoothly, there’s markedly less reason to race to get in front of the flatscreen in the den by a set hour.

The main exception, for another two or three weeks anyway, is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. By which I mean that’s the scripted show that comes on at 8 that I, at least, remain invested in. As far as sitcoms with a few more episodes to burn, my wife is still a pretty big booster of The Goldbergs, which went on April hiatus but is back tonight, though since that show doesn’t air until 9 it’s never been a problem to catch it in full. So.

Of course there’s plenty of sports on tv right about now, what with hockey playoffs (the Penguins wrapped up their first series last night, which was a bit nerve-wracking as their 4-0 lead dwindled throughout the third period to 4-3, but ultimately made my wife pretty happy) and regular season baseball (which has yet to inspire any noteworthy smacktalk between my wife and me, but do stay tuned). Also something about post-season basketball, I think? The NBA is still pretty much a non-entity in my household, I must confess (now watch all of our kids somehow turn into huge hoops fans to the utter bewilderment of their parents).

And, as I alluded to a while back, we have re-introduced Buffy the Vampire Slayer into the rotation. It took a fair amount of collaborative detective work for my wife and I to remember where exactly in season three we had left off, but ultimately I think we zeroed in on the right episode. Here’s the amazing thing, from my perspective: we sat down and popped in the appropriate dvd and cued up the appropriate episode (“Beauty and the Beasts”) and enjoyed it thoroughly. That happened to be the last episode on that particular disc, so to proceed directly to the next episode involved getting up and changing dvds and all kinds of non-enabled-by-remote exertion, all to re-watch an installment of a series we’ve both previously consumed the entirety of. And yet, as the credits rolled my wife and I looked at each other and there was no hesitation whatsoever between us that we were, in fact, going to change dvds and watch the next episode. The show is like 16 years old and deeply familiar and nonetheless retains that potato chippy can’t-watch-just-one quality, still. I mean granted, we’re talking specifically about season three here, which is arguably the high-water mark for the whole run, but I find it impressive.

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