The salesman with Dish Network billed DVR as the best invention since sliced bread.
“You can’t live without it,” he told me. Because $65 a month isn’t enough, you need to pad our pockets with another $9.99 to get this feature, is what he meant.
And so we did. We didn’t just add DVR. We added something called “whole-house DVR,” which basically means that any TV in the house will record any TV event at any time.
Visions of recording college football games on two different TVs, while watching a live game on the third, then reliving that Saturday afternoon glory on Sunday afternoons . . . that’s what danced in my head.
But is that how it played out? Of course not. Take a peek into my DVR . . .
There’s every episode of American Idol from the past two seasons, along with The Voice, Dancing With the Stars, and several reality shows whose names I don’t recall. There are countless episodes of shows about a little couple trying to make it in a big world, or a Mormon couple with more kids than the little old woman who lived in a shoe.
And that’s just the shows my wife recorded.
My kids, who have decided that they were born in the wrong decade and that the complicated bachelor household of Danny Tanner, Joey Gladstone and Jesse Katsopolis is the best thing TV ever introduced to our living room, and so they DVR every episode of Full House that appears on the tube. And then they watch them over. And over. And over. We just named our new cat Kimmy Gibbler, for pete’s sakes.
My son records every Heat basketball game. All 82 regular season games and every playoff game. He wakes up and watches them the next morning while the rest of us sleep. Unless the Heat played the Spurs — my team — and won. Then he makes sure to wake me up and fill me in on the news.
I’m sure there might be a college football game or two hidden in there somewhere, but my ADHD kicks in before I can scroll through the list of reality shows and kids’ shows far enough to find them.
Instead, what I usually see when I attempt to schedule something to record on the DVR is my TV flashing a message at me: “Scheduling conflict. Would you like to cancel this rerun episode of 19 Kids & Counting that your wife has probably already watched six times anyway?”
And of course I don’t, because I have to live here, too.
On the occasions when I do get the opportunity to squeeze in a recording — like “Turn,” AMC’s first-season period drama about a Revolutionary War-era spy ring that aired this past spring, I have to watch it quickly. Or else I get, “Sorry, Dad. There are 17 Full House episodes on Nickelodeon this week and the DVR was out of room. You had already watched your show, hadn’t you?”
In frustration, I returned to the Dish Network salesman. He informed me that Dish Network has now introduced something called “The Hopper,” and informed me that I needed something called the “Super Joey.”
Joey. This box shares the name of a Full House main character? Really? Kinda prophetic, huh? I’m doing the math in my head, trying to figure out how many episodes of Full House my kids can fit on a 2,000-hour-capacity box.
“Not a problem,” the salesman says. “With Super Joey you can record up to eight channels at once. It’s perfect for families. If you like to watch and record TV, you can’t live without it!”
No thanks, pal. I’ve heard that line before.
Turns out, I can live without DVR. Not by choice, necessarily, but because I apparently rank at the bottom of the totem pole in my house.
If I had the ear of Charlie Ergen, I would tell him to forget these wife- and kid-dominated DVR machines and tell him to focus on tools that are actually useful to the men of the house. Like finding the remote control that seems to magically disappear every time there’s a football game on . . . something that would make my TV say, “Dude, the remote you’re looking for is stuffed between the couch cushions with the month-old Froot Loops.”
• Ben Garrett is Independent Herald editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.