Tag Archives: television

Unrealistic language courses

I do a few lessons each day on the Rosetta Stone program in Italian. Today, my problem is not necessarily with the language, but with this situation:

  1. A man comes in to buy a new TV.
  2. The salesman asks why he needs a new TV. This is the first indication that something is wrong. A salesman would never ask WHY you need a new TV. He would ask WHICH KIND you want.
  3. The man says he needs a new TV because his old one is broken. Where do I start? Do I start with the fact that this guy is holding a TV with 2 knobs made in the 1980s, while there are obviously flat screens behind him, which would mean he has been using this 1980s TV for about 30 years? Also, I don’t even think those type of TVs have worked for several years now that everything is digital.
    But what troubles me most of all is….. WHO BRINGS THEIR BROKEN TV TO THE STORE TO BUY A NEW TV?! Why would you bring that in the store??!!!

I’m very much hoping that as I get further along in the program, this story will continue. Is he a time traveler? Did he escape from a mental institution? Does the salesman call security? Guess I’ll have to keep learning Italian to get the whole story.


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Christmas in Sweden – Advent Calendar

awesomechristmasEvery family has at least one Advent Calendar, usually with bits of chocolate on the inside. There is also a tv calendar and a radio calendar.

The Christmas Calendar (Julkalendern), which dates back to the 1960s, is an annual TV series airing one episode a day in 10 minute increments. Each year it’s a different story.

There is also a radio calendar with a different Christmas story than the television, airing a 10-minute episode each day.

The TV calendar this year is a story set in the early 1900s about a girl and a professor who build a hot air balloon to travel to find the land of Santa Claus.


The radio calendar story this year is about a girl who shakes a snow globe and is taken to a magical land.

We listen to the radio calendar every morning at breakfast, and watch the television calendar every evening.

It’s a good way to practice my Swedish, though many years the stories take place in the 1800s to early 1900s, so I may have picked up a few unused words here and there.



Laugh tracks

I read an interesting article today on BBC news about the origin of “laugh tracks” for television shows. It’s an interesting read – http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20160926-where-does-canned-laughter-come-from-and-where-did-it-go

All of my current favorite shows do not use canned laughter, as it hasn’t been popular for many years now, and I have to say that I’ve noticed how odd it feels to go back and watch a show I used to enjoy, and hear canned laughter behind it. It’s hard to find it as funny.

My favorite part of the BBC article is this, which is something I’ve also thought about:

“Even 1960s cartoons such as The Flintstones and The Jetsons used laugh tracks, though the device made no intuitive sense in that setting – no sane viewer suffered the illusion that a human audience was had watched these animated characters.”

I’m glad that these days, we as a home audience are finally being trusted to know when something is funny without a prompt.

Of course, I wouldn’t be opposed to laugh track use on political debates and news.


Life NOT better for Brits in the 80s

I’m not talking about Margret Thatcher or the Falklands War.

I’m talking about THIS horrible show, watched by British children in the 1980s.

A moment of silence please, for the victims of “Fingermouse.”

Monsieur T

Ever wonder what the A-Team theme sounds like in French? Wonder no more!

Flat screen TVs are ruining childhood!

Back in my day:


My kids in 2015:


The importance of parents

The other day, my husband and I walked down to the post office (a ten minute walk) to pick up some packages. Before we left, we told our television watching 8 and 10 year old that we were running to the post office and would be right back. They looked directly at us and said, “ok.”

When we arrived at the post office, my husband got a message from his mother:

“I just called your house and asked for you. The kids say they have no idea where you both went or when you will be back. They were surprised you were gone.”

On one hand, I think, “Wow, they really don’t pay attention to anything.”

On the other hand, I think, “Hmm…. I wonder if we could sneak out to catch a movie.”

children watching TV 1972

Pokemon Logic

Kids don’t like it when you try to add logic to their cartoons.

I tried to be a nice parent today and watch a Pokemon episode with my son. These were my unappreciated observations:

1. Isn’t it cruel to catch these Pokemon and force them to battle each other?

2. How come one of them can talk and the others can’t?

3. Shouldn’t these kids be in school? Where are their parents?


Pet peeve

As many people have been doing over the holidays, I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix.  One of the shows I’ve been watching is  “Bletchley Circle,” about a group of former Bletchley Park code-breakers solving mysteries.

The show is great but one of the scenes drove me crazy. It’s not just this show either.  It’s a scene I’ve seen in a lot of movies and t.v. shows that always annoys me.

The women sneak into a police station to go through files, then they just pull out the papers they want, put them on a desk, on the floor, etc.  They don’t mark which folders they came from.  They’re all shuffled in a messy pile.

What happens after they’re done?  Do they put the files back where they belong?  If so, how do they figure out where they go? If they leave them all out, wouldn’t they be reported to the police once it’s discovered?  How is it for the next set of detectives who want to sneak into the file room if the last set pulled everything out of folders and didn’t put it back in the right places?

Also, when do they go to the toilet?


Don’t try this at home

My kids just discovered “Mythbusters.” Should I worry that they laugh maniacally at the “don’t try this at home” warning?


Zombies of WW1

I currently have two television shows I’m following: The Walking Dead and Downton Abbey.  Yes, I’m a gal of many tastes.

I think if you’re going to follow any shows on t.v., you have to make sure you don’t confuse them.  Luckily, I’m able to realize that Downton Abbey is probably not the show where a person just ripped someone’s arm off and ate his brain. Of course I’m not caught up with all the seasons yet, so I could be wrong.  War is tough and they were low on food rations back then.

I find it interesting that when we watch the cast of The Walking Dead, we think about how much they must stink with all that blood and those ragged clothes.  Yet, do we ever stop to think about how rarely people bathed back in the early 1900s?  This might be something similar between the two shows.

My advice if you would also like to follow these shows – Downton Abbey is fine to watch at lunch or dinner.  You might want to save The Walking Dead for a time when food is not involved.

(I’d like to add, when I did an image search, I found I wasn’t the only one to think of this subject.)



Howler monkeys

I once had a great idea for a talk show hosted by howler monkeys.  Each week, there would be a new celebrity guest escorted into a room with a family of howler monkeys.  That’s about as far as it goes.  You don’t really need any other plan.  Just let the cameras roll.  Pure entertainment.

I have become bitten

One thing that makes television fun to watch over here is the way they translate the titles.  There is a show on every evening listed as, “I Have Become Bitten.”  I’ve never actually looked at the show but I think I should.  It certainly sounds interesting.  I wonder what it could be.  Obviously someone is bitten each week and not overly concerned about it.

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