Welcome to the Comfortable World of the Couch Potato
That was then, a time when TV played a small role in the daily lives of people, primarily because there were very few networks operating… few programming options… and TV was still new. It hadn’t been around long enough to dramatically alter the habits of Americans.
Times change and, with that change, people’s habits are altered, as well. In 1950, when TV was just a couple of years old, most people interested in entertainment traveled to the local movie theater. Admission was inexpensive, the purchase of a bag of popcorn didn’t require the use of a credit card and adults and youngsters both enjoyed the escape that a feature film – or double feature – could provide.
As for TV, it was entertaining, too, but only to a point. There were not many shows to enjoy and Americans were not fully committed to hours of nightly viewing. But TV programming began to improve with each passing year and, in addition, there were more TV stations available and more programs to watch. The concept of the couch potato was taking shape. It wasn’t a fully developed concept yet, but a new technical innovation would change that forever. It was, of course, the “remote.”
Once adult male viewers got their hands on remote control devices and no longer had to get up from their couches to walk over to their TVs in order to turn a dial to access a different TV station… the couch potato was born.
The remote was an earth-shattering innovation… it changed everything. Now, men could “glue themselves to the couch or easy chair” and spend countless hours of their leisure time doing – nothing! Well, perhaps that is the wrong word. They were doing “something”… two or three NFL football games on a Sunday afternoon, for example… an exciting war movie followed by a great western followed by… you get the idea.”
Armed with his trusty remote, the adult American male forgot how to rise from his seat and stand up. Years have passed since the first remote found its way into an American home. And… nothing has changed. If anything, the scourge of the couch potato has grown. There are more holding on to their remotes than ever before.
Couches are getting worn out… legs are losing their spring… wives and girlfriends are losing their patience. And men, well, they just don’t care. They’ve got their remotes… and lots of channels to surf.
Author: Frank Bilotta