Do You Own Too Many TV Sets? A Cautionary Tale
Kanebridge News
Share Button

Do You Own Too Many TV Sets? A Cautionary Tale

Our columnist wonders what life would be like if she gave into her TV compulsion and installed a set in every single room (even her bathroom).

By Kris Frieswick
Wed, Aug 31, 2022 9:49amGrey Clock 4 min

HOW MANY TVS ARE TOO MANY? While the average U.S. household has 2.3 sets, according to recent Nielsen data, in some homes TVs hold dominion over every room, even the bathroom. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal profiled a couple who have four TVs in their 13-metret-long RV.

Nobody needs to own even a single TV set. We’re surrounded by screens, all capable of streaming “Amish Mafia”: cellphones, laptops, tablets, Nintendo Switches, anything connected to the interwebs. And despite too many viewing options, there’s still little worth watching including, sadly, “House of the Dragon.”

The Husband and I own just one TV and restrict it to the living room for one simple reason: If confronted with a TV, I can’t not watch it. My eyes are drawn to it like moths to a flickering, poorly written, casted and directed flame. If one’s playing anywhere within my view, I can’t even hold a normal human conversation about pizza toppings. My condition helps explain why our home is among just 19% of American households with a single TV. The temptation is too great.

Still, in my most private moments, I have flirted with the dark side. What would life be like if I gave into my compulsion and spent all my discretionary income on a bunch of Smart TVs with Universal Search, maybe one for every room? Would I become a slave to the 4K UHD demon?

Not if I brought intention and purpose to my viewing habits, using TV for good instead of mindlessly munching it like it’s a party-sized bag of mesquite barbecue potato chips.

Here’s how I’d do it:

Upon waking, I would lie in bed and watch 30 minutes of a horror movie to help me level-set my expectations for my day. Anything less life-threatening than zombies or axe-wielding maniacs would be a win.

Next, to the kitchen for coffee. While it brews, I’d turn on the “Today” morning show but mute it because my real objective is to evaluate the anchors’ outfits, hairstyles and makeup for inspiration. The Husband will weigh in—protesting a daytime smokey eye—thus ensuring at least some communication in our day.

Then, it’s off to a training session on my exercise bike in the Shed Mahal, the backyard horse shed we converted into my office/storage/gym space. I’ll flip on the TV beside my bike and select a movie in which stuff blows up and chicks kick butt. Options include any movie in the “Alien” franchise that doesn’t involve a “Predator,” “Spy” with Melissa McCarthy, or “All About Eve,” because it’s sweet to watch Bette Davis step back and let karma—the original bad bitch—kick Eve’s butt. Any of these will take my mind off my own aching posterior for 80 minutes while inspiring me to DOMINATE.

Off to the bathroom to shower. This could be challenging, since you can’t see anything on the screen while soaping up. My solution: the karaoke channel, but only tunes whose words I know. Fortunately, I am sufficiently fluent in the oeuvres of Patsy Cline, Little River Band and Shriekback to get through months of purposefully “watching” TV while wet.

Then to the bedroom to strategize the day’s outfit and stare at a TV above the bureau that would double as a mirror if it wasn’t always on. I’ll stream old episodes of the British “What Not to Wear,” with Trinny and Susannah, women who taught me that lady people with bodies like mine should never wear a scoop-neck anything and that it’s OK to stretch out the hems of overly clingy T-shirts.

Back to Shed Mahal to work. Lunch breaks are all about a brain break and that means soaps. Specifically “The Bold and the Beautiful.” Will Sheila Carter return, again, from the dead? (Spoiler: Yes.)

Cocktails on the porch start promptly at 6:15 p.m. Whereas I once basked in glorious sunsets, I’ll flip on that superwide, sunset-blocking, weatherproof outdoor TV we hung from the porch ceiling and turn to a true-crime documentary about murderous twins. It will highlight investigative brilliance, basically educational programming for journalists like myself. Also, it’s rare to find identical murderers.

After my professional development viewing is done, it’s dinner hour. The Husband and I will tune the dining room TV to a show that sparks entertaining conversation, a rarity during the day. By this I obviously mean old recordings on C-SPAN of “Prime Minister’s Questions,” a weekly hour in the British House of Commons during which members lob queries and insults at one another and the PM. If you have a Welsh husband who can translate slanderous British terms like “numpty,” “scrubber” and “poxy,” it’s the best comedy show on Earth.

Then to bed, where we’ll flip our bedroom TV to a show that’s none of your business.

OK, it’s “House Hunters International.” Watching the featured couples reject perfectly acceptable homes because they don’t like the interior paint colours makes us feel better about our marriage and ourselves.

That’s how I would channel my TV compulsion into personal growth.

Either that or I’ll spend every day on the edge of my bed watching whatever’s airing on whatever channel we were mindfully watching the night before. This will likely involve a lot of me yelling at the set “YOU CAN REPAINT!”

Now that I’ve gamed it out, perhaps, even one is too many TVs for me.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: August 30, 2022.


Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Related Stories
What We Fight About When We Fight About Money
How Starbucks Lost the Top Spot in China’s Coffee Race
By HEATHER HADDON 20/11/2023
Fisker Stock Tanks After Poor Earnings. EV Concerns Accelerate.
By Al Root 15/11/2023
What We Fight About When We Fight About Money

New research tackles the source of financial conflict and what we can do about it

Mon, Nov 27, 2023 3 min

When couples argue over money, the real source of the conflict usually isn’t on their bank statement.

Financial disagreements tend to be stand-ins for deeper issues in our relationships, researchers and couples counsellors said, since the way we use money is a reflection of our values, character and beliefs. Persistent fights over spending and saving often doom romantic partnerships: Even if you fix the money problem, the underlying issues remain.

To understand what the fights are really about, new research from social scientists at Carleton University in Ottawa began with a unique data set: more than 1,000 posts culled from a relationship forum on the social-media platform Reddit. Money was a major thread in the posts, which largely broke down into complaints about one-sided decision-making, uneven contributions, a lack of shared values and perceived unfairness or irresponsibility.

By analysing and categorising the candid messages, then interviewing hundreds of couples, the researchers said they have isolated some of the recurring patterns behind financial conflicts.

The research found that when partners disagree about mundane expenses, such as grocery bills and shop receipts, they tend to have better relationships. Fights about fair contributions to household finances and perceived financial irresponsibility are particularly detrimental, however.

While there is no cure-all to resolve the disputes, the antidote in many cases is to talk about money more, not less, said Johanna Peetz, a professor of psychology at Carleton who co-authored the study.

“You should discuss finances more in relationships, because then small things won’t escalate into bigger problems,” she said.

A partner might insist on taking a vacation the other can’t afford. Another married couple might want to separate their previously combined finances. Couples might also realize they no longer share values they originally brought to the relationship.

Recognise patterns

Differentiating between your own viewpoint on the money fight from that of your partner is no easy feat, said Thomas Faupl, a marriage and family psychotherapist in San Francisco. Where one person sees an easily solvable problem—overspending on groceries—the other might see an irrevocable rift in the relationship.

Faupl, who specialises in helping couples work through financial difficulties, said many partners succeed in finding common ground that can keep them connected amid heated discussions. Identifying recurring themes in the most frequent conflicts also helps.

“There is something very visceral about money, and for a lot of people, it has to do with security and power,” he said. “There’s permutations on the theme, and that could be around responsibility, it could be around control, it could be around power, it could be around fairness.”

Barbara Krenzer and John Stone first began their relationship more than three decades ago. Early on in their conversations, the Syracuse, N.Y.-based couple opened up about what they both felt to be most important in life: spending quality time with family and investing in lifelong memories.

“We didn’t buy into the big lifestyle,” Krenzer said. “Time is so important and we both valued that.”

For Krenzer and Stone, committing to that shared value meant making sacrifices. Krenzer, a physician, reduced her work hours while raising their three children. Stone trained as an attorney, but once Krenzer went back to full-time work, he looked for a job that let him spend the mornings with the children.

“Compromise: That’s a word they don’t say enough with marriage,” Krenzer said. “You have to get beyond the love and say, ‘Do I want to compromise for them and find that middle ground?’”

Money talks

Talking about numbers behind a behaviour can help bring a couple out of a fight and back to earth, Faupl said. One partner might rue the other’s tightfistedness, but a discussion of the numbers reveals the supposed tightwad is diligently saving money for the couple’s shared future.

“I get under the hood with people so we can get black-and-white numbers on the table,” he said. “Are these conversations accurate, or are they somehow emotionally based?”

Couples might follow tenets of good financial management and build wealth together, but conflict is bound to arise if one partner feels the other isn’t honouring that shared commitment, Faupl said.

“If your partner helps with your savings goals, then that feels instrumental to your own goals, and that is a powerful drive for feeling close to the partner and valuing that relationship,” he said.

A sense of mission

When it comes to sticking out the hard times, “sharing values is important, even more so than sharing personality traits,” Peetz said. In her own research, Peetz found that romantic partners who disagreed about shared values could one day split up as a result.

“That is the crux of the conflict often: They each have a different definition,” she said of themes such as fairness and responsibility.

And sometimes, it is worth it to really dig into the potentially difficult conversations around big money decisions. When things are working well, coming together to achieve these common goals—such as saving for your own retirement or preparing for your children’s financial future—will create intimacy, not money strife.

“That is a powerful drive for feeling close to the partner and valuing that relationship,” she said.


Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Related Stories
China Unleashes Crackdown on ‘Pig Butchering.’ (It Isn’t What You Think.)
By FELIZ SOLOMON 06/11/2023
A Vision for Sustainable Cities And The Need for Change
By Robyn Willis 23/10/2023
Australian Shares Set to Stay on Course for Weekly Loss
By Stuart Condie 20/10/2023
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop