I wonder if anyone has performed an extensive study on how television has changed marriages over the past fifty years. If there hasn’t been one, there certainly should be. Aside from the usual battles over control of the remote, I think that an investigation of the differences in thinking patterns would be of interest to all of us. I know it would be to me.
For example, my sons and I love programs like Survivorman and Dirty Jobs. We even watch the logging and Ice Road Truckers when it comes on. My wife hates these. She thinks Survivorman is really dumb. She wants to know why the guy would get out of a good airplane and walk around the desert or Arctic without having proper clothing, matches, food and water. We have tried to explain that this is the point of the program and that he is making a show out of using his wits to live off of the land for a week or so until he is picked up. She gets grossed out when he eats worms, grubs and bugs and we have to tell her that where he is, there isn’t a grocery store or a gas station, much less a hardware or army surplus store. She still thinks it’s a dumb program and wonders why he doesn’t get some food or sleeping bags from the camera crew. We explain that this show is just about this one guy, no crew, and no help. He has to live by himself for a week. She still hates it.
Dirty Jobs is one of our all time (male) favorites. We love this show. The grubbiest things he can come up with the better as far as we’ re concerned. He has got to be up on his shots to be able to go into some of these places every week. Once again, in our house this is a male only event. My wife will rather re-organize my sock drawer rather than watch this one. Nothing I can say about the educational benefits of this program has had any effect on changing her mind. She sees absolutely zero value in watching some grown man walk through sewers or spend a day in a hog factory. I taped the classic episode on solid waste in Los Angeles but she still refuses to watch it again with me, even though it’s one of my favorites. I still think it should have gotten an Emmy.
On the other hand, just wait until something like ‘ Holmes on Homes’ or ‘ Changing Places’ or anything else on the home improvement channel comes on. We couldn’t switch channels to check on a nuclear attack if we needed to do so. Women love cabinetry, plumbing, tile work and paint. My wife can sit through hours watching a bunch of goofs tear out a kitchen and replacing it with new countertops and appliances. I’d rather have a root canal. Women can actually tell you the difference between a 2007 model oven and one made last month. How many improvements can be made to a dishwasher anyway’ To women all of these things are important and yet they cannot tell you what year Pontiac stopped making the Bonneville. I’d also bet they don’t know what length chain saw is best for the urban environment.
Men know about red, green and blue..the three primary colors. All others are only variations of these three as far as we are concerned. Women can go to the hardware store and bring home one of those card things that has about 2,000,000 combinations of’say just the color green. Men are happy with blue..women want Periwinkle. Men are ecstatic with red’ women want Strawberry Rose.
The men in our house do not watch Survivorman or Dirty Jobs and then aspire to duplicate these feats. We can only dream. But women see someone removing a wall on one of the home improvement channels and the first thing you know she is looking for you to knock out a wall or change the way the stairs curve. As far as I’ m concerned, the stairs are just fine the way they are. The only reason to repaint a wall or a room as far as I’ m concerned is if you knocked a hole in the wall while you were bowling or had to shoot some wild animal that got loose inside your house. Why else would you need to do this’ It’s a mystery to me.
This brings me to another touchy point..even though we’ve been married for nearly forty years..I’ve never asked her one question because I’ m afraid of her answer Do you or do you not think televised wrestling is for real