Christa Lawler column: Cutting the (cable) cord
Oh, we don’t have cable.
Such a rich existence! I say in five words.
A no-cable friend had tipped me off to this before we cut the cord.
“Saying ‘oh, we don’t have cable’ makes you feel so … self-righteous” she said.
What it really sounds like, and I know this because it’s been said to me, is that you have absolutely no interest in maintaining the most basic connection to civilization.
It says to me that you are comfortable not understanding a “True Detective” reference. It says: What’s the point of even having electricity? Go. Get thee off the grid with the rest of the nonsubscribers.
The truth is somewhere in between. I’m not the most Pynchon-y sort, and I am deeply interested in the right now of entertainment.
We don’t have cable because one night we stayed up too late watching Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell.”
One of the most interestingly faced reality show stars in the history of pixels makes house calls to cure evil felines of their rogue peeing and owner-filleting antics. It’s a show that puts one’s own shredded leather couch and the basement’s perma-urine smell into perspective.
It’s not the kind of thing you, like, TiVo.
Life lesson: We were investing a lot in cable when all we seemingly require are moving pictures.
So, we collected pieces — subscriptions, players — that are meant to inspire more purposeful viewing, but also allow for going dead-eyed with the brain switched to airplane mode.
We have an antenna that works-ish. Prime time network TV sometimes stalls and the picture breaks into a mosaic representation of a “30 Rock” rerun. But usually “Bones” comes in totally clear.
We have Netflix, which makes it possible to — months later — get the “Mad Men” references that peppered social media months before.
We have Hulu Plus, so I was able to marathon MTV’s “Real World Ex-Plosion” and further my independent study on how MTV Will Not Rest Until Someone Dies on a Reality Show.
We bought “The Newsroom” and streamed it from Amazon on our Blu-ray player. And while no one is really talking about it right now in the off-
season, I have a lot of thoughts on Aaron Sorkin’s portrayal of women as emotional and love-fogged and unable to get through a news meeting without exploding with a State of My Relationship monologue.
This kind of life definitely isn’t for everyone. Some people want to talk about “The Newsroom” when it’s the topic du jour — not when it’s a leftover. Heck, no cable isn’t always for me.
I miss “Louie.” I want immediate access to “Girls.” It’s been too long since I’ve checked in with “The Real Housewives of New York.”
We can’t watch Twins’ games or the World Cup or the Video Music Awards — luckily, I’m only into one of these things.
But we manage.
On Saturday, I watched a couple of episodes of “Heart of Dixie” on Netflix, decided it was a poor use of the “Northern Exposure” template, and watched two more.
Cable subscriber or not, I think we can all agree that cable TV as it exists today will eventually have to shift toward a different model — something where you don’t pay to watch “My Cat From Hell” just because you want to watch “Game of Thrones.”
But right now, being cable-free feels like being among the first people to set up residency on the moon.
You’re there before the cellphone towers are erected and the fashion still seems inspired from 1970s-era speculative fiction about The Future. Everything here is from Isaac Mizrahi’s “Logan’s Run” collection.
Such a rich existence!
Christa Lawler is the News Tribune’s arts and entertainment reporter.