Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Getting Something for Nothing

We don’t have cable. We’ve never had cable. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those I-don’t-believe-in-television-we-only-read-Shakespeare kind of people. I love Shakespeare and could talk about the plays and the sonnets for hours. But I also love Leverage, Castle, and the Yankees (I don’t really love baseball, but I love my husband and sons. And they love baseball, so...I know that Nick Swisher is called “Swish,” Robinson Cano is called “Robby,” and Curtis Granderson is called “The Grandy Man.”) Anyway, I enjoy popular culture. But without cable, it’s kind of hard. And cable is just too expensive. (Do you know how much beef/chicken/beans I can buy with that kind of money?)

But I worked out the popular cultural connection. For years we streamed from the computer onto the television. Everything was great. Until last week.

Last week, we tried to stream the final episode of Leverage. And it was locked!?! And you had to type in some stupid cable code to unlock the episode. How could they do this to me? I realize that I’m not actually paying for the content, but I watch their uber-stupid commercials. (Actually, I like the one with the fake raccoon-man who destroys the attic.) But most of the commercials assume that the viewers are stoned/drunk/brain-dead—I mean who wants to listen to commercials that scream at them. Or watch over and over again, the lame eyelash commercial (Latisse) that warns you the product may permanently “darken” your irises and eyelids. Why would anyone buy that crap?

Sorry, I don’t mean to diss the pharmaceutical companies. At least, not much.  But why lock the final episode of Leverage? It’s not like that’s going to make me buy cable. And Netflix isn’t much help; their streamable content is mostly junk that no one wants to watch. Though Downton Abbey and the new Sherlock series were notable exceptions.

I fear this is the beginning of the end of the something-for-nothing glory of the internet. Even Amazon is going to start charging sales tax in some states. What is the world coming to? I want my something for nothing.

BTW, here’s a link to my book blog post “Moaning Monks.” Enjoy.


  1. Unfortunately, it's getting to be where anything you can get for nothing is worth exactly that.

  2. Yikes, hope you got to watch that last episode somehow! It must suck to be left hanging. I don't really have much of a TV watching habit, but I do miss not being able to stream as many shows now that I live in Taiwan. Stupid region-specific content.