When “American Idol” contestant Pia Toscano was voted off the show Thursday, I heard it was a huge deal. J. Lo freaked out. America was stunned by their own Internet and cell phone voting power. How had this happened?
I honestly don’t know. I haven’t seen an episode of “American Idol” this season, or last season, or the season before that. I don’t know what Pia, Stefano or Haley look or sound like.
I got rid of my television about three months after I moved to Columbus. That was when the special on my cable and Internet package ran out and $80 a month to watch a couple hours of TV every week didn’t seem worth it. Then my cheap TV/VCR combo broke and trying to get a few fuzzy channels with a pair of rabbit ears was out of the question.
For awhile, my apartment was quiet -- almost too quiet -- without the ambient noise of a television set. There was a blank space on my wall where the TV had been. Family and friends who visited would ask, “Where’s your TV?”
I don’t need it, I’d say. I’m more of a reader anyway.
When I first got rid of my television, I imagined that instead of spending my evenings after work watching marathons of “Top Chef,” I would do the things sophisticated, cultured grown-ups did.
I would learn a new language. I would practice my violin. I would read novels -- no, I would write a novel. I could do that now, because without a TV, I would have oodles of time on my hands.
The funny thing about oodles of time -- there are a million mindless ways to fill it.
Nearly four years later, the Italian CDs I bought are still in the box and I haven’t picked up my violin in months, much to my parents’ chagrin. I think I’ve read more books, but my own novel remains unfinished. Why? Internet television.
I watch most shows I like on Hulu, a site that posts shows from most cable channels the day after they air. Others, like AMC’s “Mad Men,” I get on DVD. I also check out movies at the library.
There are some disadvantages to not having a TV. I only see local news broadcasts when I watch them at the office, and I haven’t seen an awards show red carpet in years.
Eventually, I might get another television, but I don’t think I’ll ever go back to paying for cable. Net-flix or Hulu Plus, which lets you stream Internet video through your TV, seem like cheaper and better options. Maybe one day more networks will stream events and shows live over the web.
Until then, just because I don’t watch “American Idol” doesn’t mean I can’t participate in conversations about it. I listen to my co-workers discuss the performances. I vote in the Ledger’s online poll about the results every week. I think I’m pretty well-versed in Idol trivia for someone who hasn’t seen an episode since 2007.
So why did Pia go? I honestly don’t know. I always vote to kick off Stefano.
Read more of Sara's commentary on her 20-something blog.