Saturday, August 16, 2008

Nielsen's Theorem

The older I get, the more I realize, I am not much of a TV person. Oh, I go through spells where I'm addicted to a particular show or two, but overall, it just doesn't appeal to me.

I find it futile and pointless. And another and more irksome reason for avoiding TV ... commercials. Loud, obnoxious, commercials. The bane of my existence. There are few things that I abhor on this planet more than mind numbing, ear-splitting, annoying commercials. That's why we have a rule in our house - whoever holds the remote, turns the commercials down. It's the law. More often than not, however, we just whiz right through and skip them all together, thanks to the DVR. I praise the person who invented this DVR. Statues should be erected in their honor. They should win the Nobel Prize. Or at least have their picture on a cereal box or something.

Anyway, it was just this past weekend that I began giving this DVR phenomenon serious thought as we had been selected as a Nielsen Family. For an entire week we were to right down every single TV show we watched on every single TV in the house. Do you know how difficult this is? Turns out, I had no idea what we were getting into.

First off, it was before the Olympics and during that dead zone of summer when the kids are still home from college and there is nothing on TV except Shark Week and the final episode of The Last Food Network Star.

I never realized up until then, what an ADD family we were. Thanks to the DVR, during one thirty-minute episode of Emeril, we hit the backup button about a dozen times, then toggled back and forth between two other shows, then hit PAUSE, then FAST FORWARD, then RECORD, then watched something else that had RECORDED previously ... all the while we were waiting on another show to RECORD just to avoid watching commercials again. Finally back to LIVE TV and PAUSE again. Whew!

I'm here to tell ya, there is no way to write down all this activity. Turns out, Mr. Nielsen's rating booklet is about as useless and ineffectual as television itself.

I call this new phenomenon - the fact that any and all TV shows watched with the aid of a DVR are un-trackable - Nielsen's Theorem.

All this talk about televison has got me to thinking, does any one else out there beside myself like to watch, or listen, to movies while they cook? I decided to bake Chocolate Chip Cookies using that new recipe from the New York Times, the one where you allow the dough to rest for at least 24 hours before actually baking the cookies. And since I'm too busy to fiddle with pausing and fast forwarding commercials while baking, I decided to put in a DVD as a way to pass the time and keep me company as I whisked, stirred and puttered about in the kitchen. But it had to be a pleasant cookie-baking DVD, nothing too action packed and no sound effects, as it was late and the kids were supposed to be doing homework. So after a quick peruse through the disorganized video drawer, I chose Somethings Gotta Give. It had perky French tunes and I always covet Diane Keaton's kitchen in the Hampton's while I plop out delectable mounds of cookie dough in my dreary, formica laden, suburban excuse for a kitchen.

Turns out, it was a great choice. Both the movie and the cookies. I highly recommend this recipe. And now, I am curious, am I the only one who enjoys watching (or listening) to movies while cooking or baking? And what movies do you enjoy listening to?


Rowena said...

This one is way too easy; I'm so lucky (or unlucky depending how you look at it). Italian tv simply sucks big time so I rarely turn it on during the day. Husband likes to do the potato couch thing in the evening after working with computer programs all day so I won't begrudge him. About the only time that I do use the tv is when we go out and leave the dogs home. Without any noise or moving pictures from the weird little box, they would create even more havoc than they already do.

Vicki said...

I'm currently TV-less, and have grown to like it. But I love to cook with Godfather or Goodfellas playing on the laptop.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Good Morning Michelle! Just wanted you to know, you are the winner of my Blogoversary giveaway, go check it out! Marie

Michelle said...

Interesting ...

Rowena says Italian TV sucks.
Vicki loves movies about Italians.
And Proud Italian is Italian!

Sort of funny, don't you think?

Thanks for stopping by everyone. And I would like to give Proud Italian Cook an especially big thank you! It' a pleasure being part of a community like this - where people share the same passion and interest in cooking as I do - and Lord knows there's nothing more fun than cool kitchen stuff. Let's just be thankful that Italian food is way better than their TV. Ha! I look forward to more great recipes from Proud Italian's blog.

Marjie said...

I've beeen using a VCR for 20 years, and have not watched a single blessed (cursed) commercial in that time. I hate most of TV. We were a Neilsen family once; I had to fill everything out as "taped to watch later". Funny, they never asked our opinion again. Wonder why?

Michelle said...

Hey marjie,
I've got a feeling those Neilsen ratings aren't all they're cracked up to be. What would we do without our modern day gadgets for watching TV?

Bridget said...

The cookies look great as do several other items I see here. how do I find the recipes? This is my first time to your blog. I found you through Proud Italian Cook.
I love to have a movie on when I'm working in the kitchen too.

disa said...