Watch. Repeat. Watch. Repeat. Watch…

Private Property South Africa
Shaun Wewege

I remember when I was in school there was a pretty even split between kids whose parents had DsTV and those whose parents didn’t. We didn’t have satellite TV though under pressure from my brothers and I, my father eventually took out a plain old M-Net subscription so that we could watch a cricket world cup. I remember thinking that if I enjoyed extra viewing option of M-Net, I would LOVE satellite TV.

But here’s the thing. When we bought our new home we decided that satellite TV was an extra expense that we didn’t really want to have. As a result, the only time I watch satellite channels these days is when I travel and if I am truly honest, there is very little I miss.

Here’s an example. I enjoy cricket. But is it really necessary to screen an IPL match, then screen multiple repeats of that same game’s highlights, followed by a re-screening of the same match? On my recent travels I would flip through the hotel’s TV channels and watch the exact same Police Academy movie that had already been screened during my travels the month before. I understand that from a teaching perspective repetition may lead to learning, but what am I meant to learn from watching dozens of IPL and Police Academy repeats? That commentators are morons and that crime is best defeated by whimsical, poorly constructed plans carried out by people who shouldn’t have access to guns?

I fully understand that from a business point of view it costs money to bring in shows and in the case of popular viewing, extra repeats could help generate extra advertising revenue as well as giving viewers who keep odd hours a chance to watch their favourite shows. But can we legitimately be expected to sit through the fifteenth screening of a B-grade action move that shouldn’t have been screened once? Or reruns of American sport programmes that cover events such as log sawing?

If you are honest with yourself you’ll find that there are probably a handful of channels and types of movies or shows that you watch. The only purpose the others serve is for sick days, when you’re on a cocktail of drugs that would make even Charlie Sheen nervous and you’d be more than happy to watch the hand on the clock go around. This doesn’t only apply for satellite viewing though. I highly recommend the pairing of schedule four painkillers and the mid-morning re-screening of soap operas on SABC. In fact, I recommend painkillers for soap opera screening in general.

Our TV aerial is set up so that it receives no signal at all and I am too lazy to climb the roof to fix it. Needless to say our TV viewing is restricted to renting DVDs. I must admit, there are times when I lament not having access to regular TV viewing. I’m going to have to break into a friend’s house at 5am so that I can watch the start of the Comrades marathon. I’ll probably become a nuisance to people I know for the 20-odd days that the Tour De France will be screened.

And were I interested in Top TV’s new adult channels I’m pretty sure my friends would move and not tell me.

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