Monday, January 21, 2008

iPod TV

I've mentioned previously watching video on my iPod while working out, so I thought I'd post a bit more about this. I've always thought that I would be much more motivated to exercise if I could watch TV while doing it. As I've never really had the space or desire to fill my home with serious exercise equipment, this means that my workouts typically take place elsewhere (e.g., my neighborhood gym, which is actually a community fitness center). The standard TVs that appear in most gyms do no good for my TV-watching-while-exercising desires. I don't want to watch just any TV, I want to watch things I want to watch. I do love TV, but I never said I wasn't choosy about the TV I love to watch. So the introduction of a video iPod into my household within the last year has been a great addition.

This past fall, the networks' new practice of offering the pilots for many new series for free on iTunes greatly assisted my old practice of watching all network (and most cable) scripted series at least once. I'm still a free iTunes junkie and will watch a wider range of shows there than I might otherwise choose to record and watch. So I recently got to check in with Kyle XY again (still don't think I'm missing anything there) and got to watch the first episode of the endearing Scott Baio is 46 . . . and pregnant. As a childhood Happy Days devotee and a generally proud product of the '70s, Scott Baio is of course very close to my heart. I got a real kick out of Scott Baio is 45 and single last summer, and so was happy to get to see the next phase in Scott reality TV drama. This series is shot in the Laguna Beach/Hills model--no "confessionals," no talking head interviews--just you-are-there footage of Scott and his buds bumbling through middle age. An added bonus is that one of those buds is Jason Hervey, the actor who played Wayne Arnold, Kevin Arnold's obnoxious big brother in one of my '80s TV faves, The Wonder Years. (Hmm . . . I'm sensing something about my past preferences for nostalgia TV . . . ) So I get Chachi and Wayne--what more could a girl want? [Sometime I'll have to write about my fondness for the animated kids' show, Oswald, a fondness primarily rooted in my adoration of Fred Savage, who voices octopus Oswald and was, of course, the Wonder Years' darling protagonist.]

But I really, really digress from the iPod at the gym thing. Today I began to watch the pilot of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles while at the gym. Now, I'm not done with it yet but I like it so far--strong women characters, lots of action. There is no way the money that was put into this pilot will appear in the later episodes and I can see how the on-the-run formula might get old. But here's my secret: I like pretty much anything I watch on the iPod at the gym. I think the fact that I am watching TV that I want to watch at the same time that I am working out is just too perfect a confluence of efficiency, productivity, and pleasure to make me anything but gleeful. (Maybe this explains my pleasure in the Lost recap, too.)

That said, I do find that I especially enjoy sitcoms and other half-hour programming viewed this way. Perhaps if I had a fancy new iPod Touch or some other device with a bigger screen and a better quality image, I'd enjoy dramas more. But the bright lighting, clear sound, and easy-to-follow plots of half-hour comedies fit that little screen and my sweating self just beautifully.


Jonathan Gray said...

no video iPod here, and sadly not enough exercise either, so just two silly comments on nostalgia TV confluences:
1) did you ever see the movie-of-the-week where Fred Savage played an abusive boyfriend, with Full House's DJ Tanner playing his girlfriend? Very odd to see Kevin get mean
2) there's a great scene in City Slickers where Daniel Stern is arguing with Yeardley Smith because she's pregnant with his lovechild. Close your eyes and it's the voice of Kevin from Wonder Years arguing with Lisa Simpson.

Elana Levine said...

MOW with a mean Kevin? May I never see it! Never! And I love it when TV worlds collide--Kevin Arnold and Lisa Simpson, a match made in heaven.