I don’t watch tv. Well, I am not one of those Luddites who refuse to own a tv set – there is one in my living room and it does get used, mainly for Netflix DVDs, the occasional HBO original series and the news now and then. But I am not au courant on any reality tv shows, competition shows, new drama or comedy series. Names of new tv stars will draw blank expressions on my face.
There was a time when I committed to tv shows, the last one being ER. Then, all of a sudden, all the forensics and detective dramas blended into one and I couldn’t be bothered to check out the new offerings every September. Since the advent of Netflix, I have become a converted, eagerly welcoming the red envelope in my mailbox or streaming online. My wish list comprises over 400 titles – very optimistic since not even if I watched a movie a day could I get through it in a year.
The only time in my life when I really devoted myself to tv was during my pitch poor days in London. Partly because of the lack of funds to spend on social activities and partly because of the excellence of British tv but, mainly, because my flatmate was a tv devotee. Sue and I would huddle under a blanket on an ugly dark green couch in a perpetually cold flat and we would settle in for the night in front of a rickety tv set that, somehow, became our property when the rental company stopped sending us bills. Mind you, we made more than a feeble attempt at informing them of their oversight but, as they persisted in their inefficiency, we felt entitled to ownership.
Twenty years later, watching tv with Sue is still an exhilarating experience, as I was recently reminded during my last trip to visit her in South Africa. TiVo was invented with her in mind – she is not a particularly fussy viewer, finding something engaging in both low and high brow programming. Somehow, watching the same shows alone wasn’t as entertaining, because I couldn’t run a commentary just for my benefit. I found it ironic to be watching “The Real Housewives of Orange County” and other quintessential American shows on a couch two continents away and having the time of my life.
Besides the girlie tv bonding, I am eternally grateful to Sue for introducing me to an Australian show that has me squealing in delight. “Satisfaction” follows the life of a bunch of high-class hookers employed in a Melbourne brothel (brothels being legal establishments down under). It’s a Showtime Australia production it will never air here, what with the heavy sex content with no detail spared and the rampant nudity.
And that is where Netflix comes in. After getting hooked on 3 or 4 episodes while in South Africa, I found it online at Netflix where I could catch the previous episodes, watch the end of the season and now, happy to see the final season is available, my evenings are whole again. I can’t put my finger on what I like so much about “Satisfaction”. The writing is not first class, the clothes not as good as “Sex and the City” but the intrigue, the character sketches, the classy trashiness of it all hooked me in. And I just want to know what happens next.
Unfortunately Sue is not next to me when I flip my Mac open and settle in – only Ottie shares in the antics of the Aussie hookers. There are no dogs on the show so he usually falls asleep pretty swiftly, while I watch away. I guess that is what good telly is about: washing the day away, for an hour or two. I had forgotten about that.