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Watching Television with a Newborn



As Qualler pointed out last week, and as you are likely not an idiot and can read this post's title and absorb its implications, Jerksica and I recently had a baby. Life changes drastically for anyone when they welcome a crying, boob-sucking, pooping, sleepy tiny human into the world, but I'd imagine when your primary hobby isn't watching television, it changes more. Just thinking about those poor spelunkers and parkour-ers that have babies and have to cut down on their "me time" saddens me. Luckily, before we had a baby, Jerksica mostly just watched television. And now that we have a baby, we mostly just watch television (and get peed on while changing diapers, etc.). I guess you could say we're living the dream. So while I'm so sleep deprived that I can do little more than make facile obscene jokes not dissimilar from your local world-weary stand-up comedian with kids and some "funny" observations about changing diapers, I'd like to at least guide you through the past week or so of watching TV with a newborn.

Mad Men: Airing on our second day home from the hospital, the Tarantino-esque orange sherbert episode of everyone's favorite AMC period drama was the first show we actually watched in full post-baby, actually understanding and following what was going on on-screen. Four days prior to this we had taken in upwards of four episodes of Wife Swap before going to the hospital, and while in the hospital, apart from having the NBC Thursday shows on hazily in the background, we only watched The Food Network and the oddly ironic Best Yo! MTV Raps Moments on VH1, so actually taking in something with sustenance was refreshing and satisfying. Our son slept through the whole dang thing too (so unfortunately he missed out on seeing Peggy give that stranger an HJ in the movie theater), likely because he was exhausted from a weekend with a family and, you know, being born, so on the watching-with-a-newborn scale, I award Mad Men the coveted LETHARGIC DAD GRIN rating*.

Cougar Town: Soon after this, Jerksica's sister came to town and we took it upon ourselves to introduce her to the great yet ill-titled Courtney Cox sitcom. Remember kids, if your show is in danger of not getting renewed, tell a friend about it (and hope they have a Nielsen box)! It wasn't the best episode (the one where Grayson starts selling Laurie's cupcakes and Ellie's mom comes to town), but per usual, it was at least fun to hang out with the cul-de-sac crew again. And since the baby had just eaten brunch (as had we), he was awake but not finnicky throughout the whole thing. I can only hope he heard either Grayson or Andy (can't remember which) yell "black guys!" when impersonating Laurie. I'll give Cougar Town the MILDLY SUCCESSFUL BURPING rating.

Game of Thrones: Rare is the opportunity, especially now that both Jerksica and I are home together all the time, when I can watch the HBO kinda-fantasy series, seeing as how she has less than zero interest in watching it with me. But I found myself able to recently when she was catching a nap and I couldn't fall asleep because I had a rush of adrenaline surging through my veins from freaking out about whether or not the baby monitor was working and whether or not Dignan (that's my son's name by the by, if you weren't already in the know) was okay sleeping in his crib in the other room. So I brought him into the living room and pressed play on the second episode of season two. I found it to be even more table-setting than the season premiere, which was a tad disappointing, but it allowed me the chance to savor this new found alertness from my spazz attack and realize just how good this show is at crackling dialogue, even when it's largely expository. I especially dug Carcetti's (or whatever his name is in this show) speech to the prostitute about why it's so important that she make him the cash monies. Unfortunately I had to watch the rest of the ep at a later date because Dignan cried himself awake, which prompted Jerksy to rub her eyes, hear Theon say something about being king in a British accent, which was enough for her to say to her our son, "I know, baby, G-o-T is dumb, isn't it?" Apart from that last bit, I still think GoT deserves a BABY TOES ARE SOOOO SMALL! rating.

Justified: And then came an even bigger opportunity. I knew I could get away with watching Game of Thrones because it was likely going to be just a lot of talking with a sprinkling of sex noises, but even I was nervous about watching the season three finale of Raylan Givens threatening to shoot people with a newborn in the room. But Jerksica and her sister went to get well-deserved pedicures (is there any other kind?) and I had an hour to kill with a sleeping baby and she hates Justified too and I had been waiting almost three weeks now to watch what happened to Robert Quarles and the rest of Harlan County! So I skedaddled downstairs with the Moses basket and baby in tow, tempered my excitement to the best of my ability, and tried to adjust the volume the best I could while Jere Burns screamed (he's good at that; she should do it more!) over and over again in the show's opening scene. At this point and several others throughout Dignan got startled and almost woke up, and I worried his dreams of breast milk might be interrupted by the sounds of hysterical hookers and backwoods gangsters, but I won't lie - it was totally worth it. Check Sarc's blurb in our Best Episodes of the Month feature tomorrow about it for more reasons why! Ultimately, Justified gets top honors, otherwise known as the ADORABLE KITTY-BABY ENCOUNTER rating.

*Credit where credit's due: I'll admit my watching-TV-with-a-newborn rating scale is basically a modified version of my fellow blogger Brigitte's creative rating scale, in which top honors is "Cast of Frasier." 

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