Random thoughts on American TV

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This post continues my series on American culture. I have already dealt with American food and shopping, and this post is about TV. I have a few random observations mostly concerning driving still to come.

American TV was an experience in its own right. To my thinking, American TV is _the _source of 'western culture' typified by sleaze, sex and swearing. I'm pretty sure most of my swearing vocabulary came from American TV and movies . And so it was a shock to find American TV is extremely prudish. They don't just bleep out fuck and cunt, but they bleep shit & bloody hell and they bleep the god out of goddamn. And this is not just on TV, but in songs on the radio as well.

Another notable feature of American TV is the number of channels. Most of the hotels we stayed at had upwards of 50 channels. Probably about 15-20 of them were in Spanish. However, of the 30-35 channels remaining, they probably only have programming enough for 10. And so almost all American TV is re-runs.

Here, a re-run means that the channel has already showed the entire series (one program per night or week over some extended period) and is now repeating the entire thing a second time. Sometimes a really popular series might be repeated even more times. I think MASH was repeated at least 8 time.

In the US, a re-run means that the exact same episode is shown multiple times on the same channel. Not just multiple times per week, multiple times per night! On the same channel! So you watch an episode of CSI at 8pm. The very same episode will probably be on again at 11pm. And 3am. And 12pm the following day. And 4pm. And 7pm. And so on.

While we were in Vegas and LA, ESPN showed the 2006 final of the World Series of Poker at least eight times in six days that we saw. And we only watched TV when we weren't out at Disneyland or down in San Diego or otherwise checking out southern California.

Apart from that I also discovered that the discovery channel wasn't quite as cool as I'd always thought. I'd always thought you got truth on the discovery channel, but at various times I flicked on to it to see programs about a haunted house, the imminent end of the world according to various half-baked prophesies, UFO visits, and the "groundbreaking and extraordinary new theory" that the dinosaurs were wiped out because of a meteorite impact. Yawn.

It wasn't just the subject matter of the discovery channel shows was fairly bad, it was how they packaged it too. They would literally repeat the same things over and over again within each show, then repeat the whole show several hours later. Their only redeeming feature in my eyes was that they show Mythbusters .... six times a day.