Channel Surfing

I’m an avid TV watcher and I’m not ashamed.

I am proud of my love for TV In the same way that certain people are proud of their shunning of TV when I’m like “Did you SEE that episode of ’30 Rock’ last night? I’m still Lizzing over it!” and they’re all smug and go “Oh, I don’t own a TV” like it’s a sign of intellect or something. No, people, a lack of something does not make you a smart person. If those people were all “I am shunning TV in lieu of reading all of the books ever written on Britain’s involvement in WWI,” then I’d be like “Oh, good for you. That might be a positive use of your time.” Actually, I’d probably recommend they watch “Downton Abbey” instead.

My point is I really enjoy TV. Sitcoms mostly, but I also adore cooking shows, travel shows with non-annoying hosts, shows that feature true crimes with an over-enunciated voiceover (LITTLE did she KNOW that the WORST was YET to COME), and of course, I love me some Locked Up Abroad. There are few better feelings than having a nice full DVR, a nice full bottle of wine, and knowing I have hours to see what idiot decided it would be a good idea to smuggle pot (which always turns out to be $100,000 of heroin, FYI) from Uraguay for $6,000.

But none of those shows are available to me in Yemen. There is TV in our hotelpartment, thank Allah, but there are only about 25 channels. They are as follows: Blah, Daily Show/Colbert Report, Blah, Blah, Blah, The Kardashians, Blah, Rugby, Blah, Arab Soap Opera, Yemen News, BBC, CNN, Fox, Blah, Blah, Australian Travel Channel, Arab Soap Opera, Action Movie, Decent Movie, Sharks and Other Sea Things, Blah, Blah, Second Tier Crime Drama, Blah.

I should probably just accept that fact that there is generally nothing on TV and use my time at night to expand my Arabic knowledge beyond “tamam!” (which means “good”) or to stage a dog opera with all the stray puppies at the hotel, which I would probably title Tamam Dogs. (I don’t know the word for dog yet). But you know, sometimes just shutting off the brain and vegging feels oh so good. So at nights, I’ll channel surf and pick what I judge to be the least awful thing on the tube. In the past week I’ve watched a man doing an experiment on whether wild hungry sharks would eat a turkey, a ham, and a roast lamb. Spoiler alert: They will. After I had time to process the surprise ending of what was clearly the poor man’s Myth Busters (sponsored by the International Meat Producer’s Association), I watched some dudes with hamhocks instead of legs ram their heads together in a rugby match, and then a truly terrible cooking show where the first step was seriously “Take your rabbit and rip off the skin.” I was actually willing to give that show a chance because I like to see if I can make veggie versions of meat dishes, but when the host lady called a shallot a “shal-LOT,” I turned the chanNEL. To the Kardashians. Which of their 11 shows, you ask? Does it matter? For my money, that family is the single least interesting unit of humans to ever clamor for fame. I’ve been known to watch some brainless shit, but the scripted chatter that exits the surgically-plumped lips of the Kardashians is just dull and I’m not interested in their supposedly whacky family dynamic.

Last night, Mr.YemenEm and I watched Arab children and men singing badly in an overly-earnest music video that featured many close-ups of pleading yet triumphant eyes. That wasn’t half-bad actually.

The TV situation in Yemen is confounded by that fact that Netflix seems to be banned in this country. I did just get the first season of “Homeland” delivered, so we’ll start watching that soon. Because I’m sure watching a show about CIA operations in the Middle East will do wonders for my paranoia that I’m being watched ALL THE TIME, including from my TV while I’m watching it.

Anyways, at least Homeland will satisfy my entertainment fix until the Sana’a opening of Tamam Dogs.

Wishing you tamam TV watching in your near future,




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