Our poor television has had a beating since the baby has been born. I daresay that next to the couch, it has endured more use and abuse than any other inanimate object in our home. For the first 4 months of her life, it stayed on pretty much continually (other than those hours 3 days a week when Stella went to her nanny’s house). Even at night, I kept it on as a nightlight and source of entertainment for me when up all the time, at all hours of the night, nursing, rocking, or changing diapers.
During those early weeks, it became clear that we couldn’t watch TV like normal people anymore. Unless you were watching a Ben Stiller movie (i.e. something stupid and horrible with no type of decent dialogue that you cared about), you were missing a whole lot of the story due to caterwauling. Fortunately, our TV (and I guess we’re old school, since we only have one….plus another one that is used strictly for computer/Xbox viewing) allows us to turn on captioning such that even during the biggest meltdown, we can follow the conversation of whatever program we happen to be watching.
Let me tell you, there is a huge disparity in the quality of captioning. Some shows/networks are pretty good. Others, not. The typos are pretty fast and furious, but for something live, that’s understandable. We found that news shows, commercials, and the Science Channel’s broadcasts of “An Idiot Abroad” were some of the worst captioning available. Again, news is understandable. Commercials – who cares? The Idiot Abroad was the most infuriating. I mean, it’s NOT live. There is no excuse for why the captioning runs up to 45 seconds behind the dialog. Sometimes, they get so behind that they give up and simply omit big chunks.
I’ve been grateful for the captioning technology, but I’ll be glad to get back to normal TV watching. As it is now, every show we watch – from Top Chef to Spongebob is like a foreign film – all subtitled.