Jeff Vrabel: What’s the deal with the Giant TV Thing?
Alright, someone explain to me the TV Thing — specifically, the Giant TV Thing, the genetic impulse that’s caught on during this luminous holiday season that's making everyone point their monster SUVs to the Giant Electronics Store and obtain the largest, LCDest, most plasmalicious television they can afford, and by “afford,” I mean, “pretty much not afford.” (I’m seeing subprime mortgage people lurking outside Best Buy these days, clipboards in hand, wearing capes; I’m just saying.)
You could fill libraries with the stuff I don't understand, but this particular shopping development has been troubling me ever since I realized I needed a column idea about eight minutes ago.
But as what is apparently the last member of my immediate circle of friends to not have a television with the power and authority to order missile strikes on ISIS and/or see through the fabric of time, I’m starting to think that the problem is me, and the problem can only be remedied by spiraling further into debt in pursuit for a TV of absurd proportions so I can, I don’t know, see — in glorious, incandescent realism — Blake Shelton flirt with Adam Levine.
Part of the issue is that A., I am embarrassingly cheap, and B., I believe my current TV is just fine, if admittedly a little older, and by “a little older,” I mean “evidently one of the 10 to 20 most elderly televisions in America.” People come by to gaze through my window in slack-jawed wonder, guests huddle in the corner snorting to themselves, judging me.
Somewhere, on whatever giant interactive map the Nielsen people use to track who's watching “Two and a Half Men” at any given time, there’s a massive red circle drawn around my house with a clown face next to it.
Yet my giant, 4,000-pound non-LCD plasma-free HD-less TV, which was purchased in 2001 or, in TV terms, too bowel-clenchingly old to even begin considering talking about in adult company, is just fine for my needs, which are basically to put on a confounded “Bob the Builder” movie whenever commanded by my often tyrannical ruler of a son, even if the command happens to come in the fourth quarter.
(Somewhere, incidentally, there’s a parallel universe where the local review boards are going nuts about all the development Bob is responsible for, but I'm pretty sure that part’s not on PBS Kids).
And it’s not like I haven’t tried to understand the Giant TV Thing; I recently went so far as to ask the reigning IT wizard/technophile/nerd at the office a man who can literally assume control of my computer at will and whose most recent TV purchase came all the way back in Christmas 2013, what the possible reason could be for upgrading something that he could not possibly have broken yet, since he does not own a toddler who regards the television as the most convenient local item to tap with the hammer I can't seem to hide well enough. (I'm 39. Seriously, it’s ridiculous.)
“Because,” he began, and that was about the last English word I heard, as at this point, his monologue deteriorated pretty quickly into a series of four-digit numbers. Ten-eighty was the only one I could make out, although he might have been talking about his address, or the Armenian kingdom of Cilicia, which that year gained independence after its founder, Prince Ruben, succeeded in establishing his authority in the mountainous regions of Cilicia, and I totally did not even Wikipedia that, so don't bother checking.
The Lord and probably Optimus Prime knows that I am not against gadgetry, nor the lively and needless accumulation of same; Apple comes out with an iPhone that’s exactly the same as my iPhone and is eight molecules lighter and has a slightly light shade of grey on it, I'm there. Bang. It's pathetic. I embarrass myself.
Yet I’m also OK with it. I mean, listen, no one here is arguing against giant fighting robots, but the question is, are giant fighting robots worth several hundred thousand dollars? The answer is simple: It depends on if it turns into an iPhone.
Jeff Vrabel is a freelance writer who is totally pulling for Team Blake. He can be reached at jeffvrabel.com.