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When I decided to move back to Japan, one of the things I knew I was going to miss was American TV. You see, I watch alot of television. I always have since I was a kid.

In my apartment in the US, the TV was ALWAYS on when I was at home. I'd come home from work, and the first thing I'd do was turn on the television, and it would stay on until the time I left for work the next day.

I could not go to sleep unless the TV was on. It wasn't like there were many shows that I'd watch regularly except for those nightly variety shows ( I was a Letterman - O'Brien guy).
I've read that Conan O'Brien is replacing Jay Leno as the host of Tonight Show this spring. Too bad I won't be able to watch it. You know, I've met Conan's sister a couple of times (they are from Brookline, MA) but that's another story. Actually, it didn't really matter what it was that was on TV as long as it was on. I would even watch infomercials.

Apart from Dave, Conan and the amazing SHOWTIME Rotisserie ovens (Set it & Forget it!), there WAS a handful of shows I used to love.

One of them was a drama called MEDIUM starring Patricia Arquette. I think I have written about that show somewhere before so I won't go into the details this time. Luckily for me, the show is available on DVD for rental here in Japan so I get to watch it albeit the fact we are a couple of seasons behind.

Another one I'd watch was King of Queens. It's a sitcom with Kevin James, Leah Remini, Jerry Stiller(!!) and Patton Oswalt (one of my favorite stand up comics) among others. The humor in the show is very broad, yet thanks to the talented cast and often brilliant writing, the end result is just what I look for in a sitcom. A mindless fun with a few chuckles and at least one laugh-out-loud moment in every episode. None of its stars are that well-known in Japan, so I didn't think I'd be able to watch it here, and I was right.

It was a long running series (it lasted for 9 years) and I knew it was on DVD but even if I'd bought an imported disk, my Japanese DVD player would not play it as it only plays region 2 discs. Then, a few weeks ago, I saw this ad on the internet for a Region Free DVD Player! Do you know how inexpensive DVD players are nowadays? This particular player was being advertised for 2,830 yen, shipping & handling included! I ordered the player, ordered the Complete Series box set from another site, and now I watch the show every night before I go to sleep. Yay!

King of the Hill was another show I liked. It is an animated sitcom created by Mike Judge (the creator of Beavis & Butthead). It's about this ordinary working-class family in the fictional town of Arlen, Texas. My ex-housemate John and I used to watch it together and John, who was originally from Texas, told me the show was a pretty accurate portrayal of the people back home. The DVDs of this show that I bought in US are All Regions, so I brought them home with me.

There was a couple of kids' cartoon shows I liked, too. One was ARTHUR on PBS (a public television network). It's about an aardvark names Arthur and his family & friends. It is wildly popular among the young ones as well as a lot of older folks.
The writing is just top notch. While this being a kids' show, not to mention it is on PBS, it is educational with lots of lessons/messages for its original target audiences ( Reading is Fun! Be nice to your friends! Try not to kill your annoying little sister!), it is also full of clever jokes and dialogues. OK, you might say if you wanted pop-culture-references-laden jokes and subversive humor, you'd rather watch South Park. The thing is, having grade schoolers swear all over the place is easy. It is an art to make it funny to adults as well as kids in a way that when they do have to throw in some moments of saccharine sweet sincerity, and they do have to do that as it is an educational TV for kids, it doesn't look out of place and the message is delivered without sarcasm/irony.

Then there was Pepper Ann. The show revolves around a young girl and her firends as they navigate through the precarious waters that is the 7th grade. As with Arthur, the writing on this show is just brilliant. It was funny because the situations in which the characters find themselves were so real.
And the little cultural references peppered throughout each spisode geared toward the older viewers were great. I remember in one particular spisode, Pepper Ann goes to Adamant Eve, a women's weekend retreat with her mom and her aunt. There, she is forced to participate in a seminar on Sandra Day O'Connor titled "Don't Look Up My Robe As I Climb Up The Ladder Through The Glass Ceiling" (or something to that effect).
Inexplicably, they have yet to release this show on DVD. Some episodes are available on YouTube but I want more!

I am sure one day soon, there will come a day when we will be able to watch any show from anywhere from any date by just clicking a remote. I would love to fall asleep to the sound of Conan and Andy predicting what the world is going to be like In The Year 2000, and wake up to Al Roker telling me what the weather will be like in my neck of the woods...

Comments

You do watch TV a lot, don't you! :D

Thanks to you, I got curious about the TV show "Medium" and watched whole seasons of them. Though seasons late, a lot of the network TV shows can be watched on cable or SkyPerfect TV. The only channel I miss living in Japan is PBS. The other is HBO. You can't find them here, DVD or otherwise, except when the show gets a lot of attention like the Sopranos (not on DVD yet?).

The rant I have about TV now is that we don't get MLB games like we did on SkyPerfect TV until last year. They've decided to end it altogether, and now the only choice I have is NHK and its cameras chasing the ***es of Ichiro or Matsuzaka and not following the game. I have great admiration for the level of camerawork the US TV people have for baseball, at least--something Japanese TV is either totally unaware of or completely lacking in such skills.
 
MLB.com used to have this service where you pay a fee and you can watch any regular season game you want on your PC. I wonder if they still have that.

...its cameras chasing the ***es of Ichiro or Matsuzaka and not following the game.

I agree! While watching the WBC games, it drove me NUTS the way the camera was focused on Ichiro no matter what was going on. What drove me even more nuts was how Ichiro looked as if he KNEW the camera was on him and constantly making faces/posing!

So, how did you like Medium? Aren't you in love with Patricia Arquette like I am? The show's depiction of her character's domestic life is great, I think. Oh, and how adorable is the middle kid, Bridgette?
 
@Medium
I liked the way domestic life was depicted, too. But the scene that was imprinted in my mind is Patricia Arquette in bed, either trying to fall asleep or waking up from some nightmare... And one tooth in her mouth that seemed a bit "crooked"?
(女ってそういうところが気になるんだよね) 😌

@MLB.TV
It seems they offer Internet broadcasts to the Japanese audience--after the game is done. (Haven't really verified it yet, though.) When I told that to my husband, was he pissed! He says he's not watching unless it's real time! If you find some way to watch real-time games, let me know!
 
Hi, Johnny x 2! You've done a great job on your blog. While a boob like me is writing about watching TV, someone is actually getting out there, visiting places, socializing with friends, having a life! You make me look bad....
 

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Ashikaga
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