Friday, March 21, 2008

Back among the T.V. watching hordes...

You may recall that I'm always on about how -- when I moved to France seven years ago -- I gave up dependence on the car. (If you missed it, see here and here.) Well, it's a lesser-known fact that in the same fit of bourgeois bohemian purity we also gave up the oh-so-twentieth-century habit of television in favor of the Internet and just watching DVDs on the computer.


Mostly because the Internet is my imaginary friend and to a lesser degree because of my theory that T.V. is the root of all evil whereas the Internet will save us all. (And if you somehow missed that one, it's here. Me and my wacky theories -- how did I forget to make a "my wacky theories" subject label?!) That and I don't like to have McDonald's marketing crap-disguised-as-food directly to my kids.

We were such purists! In fact, the last time we stayed in a hotel my 4-year-old Léo pointed at the T.V. and said "Mommy, can you put a movie on the computer?" That was cool. Sadly our freakishly T.V.-free lifestyle has come to an end.

Here in Zürich, we've temporarily moved into a furnished apartment, and no living room can properly be called "furnished" without a flat-screen T.V.!! (Not in Zürich anyway.) Note that our living room back in Bordeaux was not "furnished" in any reasonable sense of the word, even though Nico did help us decorate a bit:

Grandma drew the calendar and Nico provided the hand-penciled "Wiggles" logo.

Actually, back then I tried to avoid posting (or even taking) pictures of the inside of our house because it looked like this:

I like to call this one "We're trying not to raise him too close to godliness..."

But what the heck, now that we've used up that old house to the point where we had to abandon it and move, I guess I can post one more photo of it:

This is, of course, why we used to spend all out time outdoors:

But I digress.

Back to this crazy T.V. thing -- I have to admit it's much more entertaining here where all the programs are dubbed into German. Which I don't understand. (But I'm working on it!)

So, I admit it -- the other night my kids and I were basking in the warm glow of the boob tube, mouth-open-mesmerized trying to comprehend the Germanized version of "Hannah Montana." It was kind of interesting. It's simple enough that you can kind of figure out what's going on even without understanding the words, and I'm not sure I missed much. Given the loud and obtrusive laugh-track, I'm guessing they have to clue people in to which parts are funny because it wouldn't be obvious otherwise.

Anyway, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to watching "Bob der Baumeister." :D


Maddie said...

"We're trying not to raise him too close to godliness..."

I love it!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to TV Land! My kids were just as mesmerized by trying to watch Hannah Montana in Spanish when we were traveling through Mexico last month. Lucky for us, they had seen the same episodes in English before and were able to follow along better, but it was funny to watch their reaction.

Big screens will get you hooked; beware!

Anonymous said...

"Can we fix it? Yes we can!"

My house looks similar. The way I see it - at least my kids are having fun and exploring their surrondings.

I understand and respect the no tv thing, but some shows are not as bad as others. Tom and Jerry, for example, is amazingly violent. I've re-watched some of those episodes, and it's stunning. It's different when you watch shows about communication, teamwork - some shows which don't focus on stereotypes (like The Backyardigans).

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Melliferous!!!

Well, there has to be some excuse for this, right? ;^)

Hey Mike P.!!!

That's cool -- I think that watching the same show or movie in two languages can help kids learn. With my kids, many of their DVDs have both a French and English version, and they like to watch both. I think that seeing one film in both languages helps their skills at translating back and forth.

Hey Aerin!!!

I agree with you that some programs are better than others. That's one of the reasons I liked our old system of just letting them watch DVDs -- it's easier to steer them towards films and programs that are high-quality.

apthorpe said...

About 20 years ago on my first trip to Europe, I had the distinctly surreal pleasure of watching The A-Team dubbed in German. There's something fascinatingly, weirdly, wrong with a badly-voiced Mr. T saying "Was machts du, Hannibal?"

Anonymous said...

Dude, my house looks like that and I don't even have any kids. :-o

I should warn you that when you buy a TV of your own, and possibly on the one you already have, there's a button that will play the original English soundtrack. But it won't help you learn German. ;-)

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Apthorpe!!!

That's exactly the sort of thing I'm talking about. It's weirdly fascinating to see something familiar dubbed into a language you barely understand...

Hey Wry!!!

Oooh, that's a sneaky trick... I'll have to look for that...

Unknown said...

Lovely pictures!

C. L. Hanson said...

Thanks O.G.!!!

And my little guys are even cuter in real life. :D

Conifer said...

Thank you for posting a picture of your messy house! It looks just like mine (maybe actually it looks better than mine . . . depending on the day). I think messy houses are one of the best kept secrets in the world. I'm convinced that lots of people have houses just like ours but are too ashamed to admit it. So thank you for being brave!

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Melynna!!!

Thanks!! When I feel bad about not having a perfect house, I console myself with the thought that at least I'm never making anyone else feel bad about the state of their houses. ;^)