Thursday, July 10, 2014





TUNED IN


January 17. 2014 4:47PM


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I’m baack!


After more than five years of night shift, the soft glow from the TV set will brighten my life once again.


TV shows, let me count the ones I’ve missed: “The Vampire Diaries,” “Scandal,” “The Good Wife,” “The Voice” and the list goes on and on. As a night-shifter, you learn quickly that you can’t be part of a conversation when you didn’t watch the show, when you never heard of the show and when you hadn’t realized that the people being talked about weren’t real people but TV characters. You feel left out.


In my absence, I’ve learned there are probably too many real housewives in the world to follow — or to want to follow. And I’ve discovered that some people shouldn’t have a TV show. I’m talking about you, teen moms.


You can take the TV away from the TV fan, but you can’t take the fan away from the TV.


Call me old-fashioned, but I like to watch my shows on the day and time they were meant to be viewed along with other fans across the country. You can only record so many programs, Google so many reviews or ask so many questions of somebody else who follows a show before you give up.


Besides there’s nothing like the happy, happy, joy, joy of coming home to watch your favorite show after a long, tough day.


I have to blame my love for TV on my family genes, I guess.


My late father operated a TV-repair shop in the East End section of Wilkes-Barre after his military service.


Like clockwork, my maternal grandmother phoned every Sunday night to remind us that “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” was starting soon.


Then there’s my mother, or should I say, my TV partner in crime, who introduced me to the wonderful world of soap operas at a young age. I watched in awe as characters married multiple times and died at the hands of their archrivals only to come back to life as their evil twin. While my schoolmates could name all the presidents in chronological order, I proudly knew all of Lisa’s eight last names in the order of her marriages on “As the World Turns.”


A dental appointment while I was in junior high school almost caused us to miss a crucial episode of “The Young and the Restless.” But my mother found a way around that. After exiting the doctor’s building, she led me over to a department store, where we landed in the appliance department. She walked up to one of the clerks, told him we were interested in a TV set and asked him to change the channel to the local CBS affiliate so we could check out the reception. Both of us proceeded to do just that for the duration of the soap, which featured the pivotal Phillip Chancellor funeral scene. During a commercial, I glanced around and discovered that some 12 other people had gathered, undoubtedly interested in purchasing the TV as well.


We walked out of the store without a TV set but with the satisfaction of not having missed a crucial episode of “our story.”


Fast forward to my college years before we got a VCR when I phoned home early one afternoon during a break before my next class to be greeted by a “Thank God you called.” I expected an emergency. There was. Mom had been watching the soaps all day, and ABC was promoting the reunion of Luke and Laura. “You have to cut your class and come home right away,” she advised as one “General Hospital” fan to another and not as parent to child.


I’ve discovered that life can mimic your favorite TV show or is it vice versa? After struggling to hear what a colleague was saying one day, I finally gave up asking him to repeat the comment and nodded in compliance. Then, I laughed to myself that I probably had just agreed to wear the puffy shirt. (“Seinfeld,” anyone?)


Sure some of the shows I’ve watched have been real clunkers. But “Gimme a Break,” isn’t that what TV viewing is all about? And it makes the gems, such as “All in the Family,” shine even more.


“American Idol,” the Olympics, the Oscars, bring it on.


I’m ready for prime time.


Reality watch: Luzerne County is on a roll with two contestants now on two hit network reality shows. Elise Mosca of Forty Fort is still in the running for Juan Pablo’s heart on “The Bachelor,” which airs Mondays on ABC. Hazleton native Keith London will be back on “American Idol” during Hollywood Week. The show airs Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox 56.




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