We’re Sorry: This Program Has Been Unexpectedly Interrupted

The TV Test Pattern from NBC, circa 1947

I’m really mad at the television.

Actually, I guess I’m more angry at the cable service, or maybe it’s the TiVo ~ whatever the root of the problem, it’s caused us to miss some of our favorite programs.

I’m not a huge TV fan, and for about 22 hours of the day I wouldn’t care whether I even owned one or not.  But it’s become a part of our nighttime ritual to wind-down by settling into the big leather recliner sofa with our favorite snacks (wine and pita chips for me, lemonade and peanuts for J.) and watch some TV together.   We TiVo the things we like, so we usually have a line up of things to choose from, although since Dancing With the Stars, American Idol, Parenthood, and Modern Familyhave all ended for the season, the pickings are a little slimmer.

That’s another reason I’m so annoyed with this situation – there’s very little to watch right now, so I can’t afford to lose any of it. And for some reason, our TiVo sometimes just stops working in the middle of recording a show.  There’s no rhyme or reason to it, and it can happen at any point during the programming.  It’s become a crap shoot whether we’ll “get” the entire episode of anything we record.  The worst thing was the finale of Dancing With the Stars – we had recorded the episode, and were watching it semi-live (about 30 minutes behind the live version). But the TiVo zonked out exactly at the point where Tom Bergeron said “And the Season 11 Champion of Dancing With the Stars is…..”

Freeze frame – then nothing.

Man, was I hopping mad.

Since then, we’ve lost parts of episodes of Parenthood, Men of A Certain Age, and Modern Family.  It’s even worse than if it didn’t record at all, because you’re 15 or 20 minutes into the show when suddenly the picture freezes and the TiVo blip off. Losing the network shows isn’t so bad, because thanks to the internet and some great VGA cables we can see them via computer on the big screen TV.  But when Jim completely missed two of his favorite car races last weekend -that was apparently the last straw. The friendly service man from our Optimized Cable Company will be here on Wednesday.

I feel like a crotchety old lady when I complain about stuff like this.  But our evening TV time is one of those small pleasures that become very important in a relationship.  Way back when we were first married, we’d settle out there in the same TV room and watch the Mary Tyler Moore show – and I’m talking first run episodes here, so you know how long our evening TV ritual has been in existence.  It gives us a chance to relax, laugh (or sometimes cry, depending on what we’re watching), and take our minds off our own problems for a while before going to sleep.  You’d be surprised, but some very interesting and even intimate conversations have arisen as a result of television shows.

So I’m hoping there’s a quick fix to this problem and we can get our reliable TiV0 system back in order before the new seasons of Rescue Me, The Closer, and Mad Men begin.

How about you? Do you and your partner have long standing rituals that help you relax and unwind at the end of the day?

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20 thoughts on “We’re Sorry: This Program Has Been Unexpectedly Interrupted

  1. Technology is great when it works. When it breaks we are in deep trouble. 😦 I sometimes wonder if we would all be better off if we did not have Cable TV to watch. There is just so much garbage these days.
    Yes, Katy and I have been known to watch TV at the end of the day to wind down. Over the last 21 years we have had our favorite shows like MASH and others that are too numerous to mention. We typically watch the news, Jay Leno’s monologue and then we are out for the night. We have never owned a TIVO even though I have thought about getting one. It usually wound up being that we needed the money for something else that was higher on the priority list.

    • I was a bit leery of the TiVo at first, but oh am I happy we got it. We can skip commercials, plus record more than one program at a time – when it’s working right, that is!

      We spend most of our entertaining budget at home, which is to say, we spend a lot less time going “out” to movies or plays or restaurants than we once did. With the big screen tv, the wealth of movies available for rent or download, and the opportunity to put your jammies on and your feet up, it’s just so much more fun to stay home!

  2. We used to have a problem with DirecTV where whenever there was a brief electrical interruption, the show we were recording would just stop and that would be the end of it. Now, they have improved it to the point that if there is a brief stop because of an electrical outage, it will re-start itself and we can at least see most of the show.

    We don’t watch anything live except a sporting event, everything is recorded so we can zap the commercials, pause, go slow mo, whatever. Best invention ever!!

  3. We used to have TiVo, now we have DVR. I enjoy Brothers and Sisters. I couldn’t believe it when it didn’t record the last two episodes. I found it online.

    We do enjoy sitting back, relaxing and watching a favorite show at night. You’re right. It’s a pleasant way to end the day. The world is in such turmoil and you can only take so much before you have to escape. We’ve had many interesting conversations over the years, too. Now we just try to keep the names of the characters straight. 🙂

    • Thank goodness for the online versions. The TiVo cut out on the last episode of The Good Wife, and i got it on the internet and watched it on the plane going to Dallas. Would have hated to miss that one!

  4. Since it looks like Mom’s going to be in the hospital/rehab/whatever for a while, I called her long-distance carrier, cable company, etc. and asked for her services to be put on “vacation”. That way, if she does come back home and we want them reconnected, there won’t be a fee.

    It was an interesting experience. While I did dump my tv completely – as in, physically gonzo – I watch programs with her now and then. Since she has two tvs, I’ll be facing the question of whether to bring one into my life when she’s not at home any longer. My current answer is “no”. I’ve gotten used to no tv, and haven’t experienced any of the withdrawal symptoms I was sure would appear.

    I’m not opposed to others watching, and I’m not even willing to argue that others should do as I have done. But I’m awfully happy with my decision. Now, if they brought back those test patterns, I might have to reconsider. We used to watch those when I was a kid, and were thoroughly entertained!

    • My mother’s TV is her best friend – especially in the winter time when she’s so housebound. A couple of years ago, we got her a 37 inch high definition television which she adores. She says it’s like having the people right in the room with her 🙂

      I watch so much less television than I used to, but I think I’ve simply replaced the tv time with the computer. However, my computer activity is generally more active than tv watching, so hopefully it’s a little more edifying 😉

  5. We have a DVR as part of our cable package and for the most part we love getting to record ‘deficit’ TV. What cranks my horn is that is records based strictly on time and not the program so The Daily Show…we always end up with the end of whatever was before it and it finishes before ‘your moment of zen’…why can’t it record the program????

    • Yeah, that’s happened to us too. And sometimes if the show goes over time a little bit, it gets cut off before the end. We’ve taken to tacking a couple of extra minutes on the end of every show, just in case. But then, if it has to switch channels to catch another show, it won’t do it.

      Oh my, life is so complicated in the 21st century!

      • Isn’t there a no-clip option. I’m not even sure what that is. I’m making a fool of myself. I think no-clip means it won’t clip the end of the program. I could be so wrong and it still wouldn’t solve the issue of switching channels to catch another show. Disregard this comment. Is no-clip hyphenated? Don’t answer.

  6. I often tease my husband that he is so American in his love for his TV. But you’ve hit it on the nail in that this is his way to relax, too, and because he has got such a stressful job he needs to relax a lot, meaning he spends a good amount of time every evening/weekend glued to the sofa and big screen 🙂 There aren’t that many shows that we both like but those we do (Househunters, This Old House, Flying Wild Alaska, The Good Wife, Boardwalk Empire) we enjoy watching together, and I also love our occasional movie nights in, with snacks and wine. And even though I don’t watch that much cable TV I have become rather addicted to streaming all my favorite German shows via my iPad, that’s what I usually watch on the big screen when my husband is traveling. Oh, and we also use the DVR and ours used to cut off the last few minutes of a show with annoying regularity. I completely understand your frustration over the Tivo’s unreliability and hope the engineer can find and fix the problem!

    • My husband uses television like some people use Oxycontin or alcohol…it’s his major source of relaxation. But it could be worse – it could actually be Oxycontin or alcohol!

      My daughter in law enjoys getting some of her favorite Asian programming off the internet too. That’s a really great thing.

  7. I love my recorded shows. And there aren’t that many… I usually save them up and we watch them on Friday and Sunday nights. We have the DVR through Comcast, and it went through this “thing” where it didn’t record shows even though we had scheduled them. And yes, it’s like a crack addiction, but I get mad, too! 🙂 Imagine reading a great book and someone ripping out the last page! I get invested in the characters and the story lines.

    • We missed Friday Night Lights last week, and I was SO upset , especially since there’s only two more episodes – WAH 😦 Luckily we got it on iTunes and watched it last night. That’s one group of characters I’m really going to miss.

      I was a little scared about Army Wives – that episode last week sure looked like a Finale. But apparently they will be back for one more season this winter 🙂

      So much for our weekly TV wrap -up. Now I’re really sounding like an old lady talking about her “shows.” lol

  8. I don’t think DWTS was totally your DVR’s fault. I have cable and they lost their signal about a half hour or so into it. It just froze. I think I saw the first dance and a little of the last one. In-between, just freeze. Very frustrating — I was glad it was repeated the following night. When my cable is out I am very cranky.

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