By Lonnie Cruse
A friend was recently telling me (bragging, actually) about how badly she beat the contestants on a particular television game show she was watching. She couldn't believe they didn't know the answers, and she did know them. Well, she's been, um, watching television game shows! She was mourning the fact that she couldn't win the money that they could have. I don't blame her.
A lot of good information comes out of SOME of those shows. Not all, of course, but some. THE NEWLYWED GAME is NOT on my list of shows that improve the mind. ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A FIFTH GRADER (which I happen to be watching at the moment, and like the contestant, I have NO clue to the question about the Treaty of Torteseaus, and did I even spell that right?) does give that kind of information. Stuff I probably learned in fifth grade and forgot by sixth. These game shows ask questions and give answers that increase our knowledge or remind us of information we could still use IF we ever get on a game show.
Other shows like Meerkat Manor educate us about animals we aren't likely to run across unless we go to the zoo. I got to seem some live Meerkats at the Santa Barbara Zoo in 2008. I love watching them. Animal Planet has tons of interesting stuff to watch. Discovery Channel, too.
Haven't read the classics? Often they aren't "right by the book" but for me, watching a Jane Austin movie is a bit easier than reading the book, and yes, I've done both. And listened to them on audio.
Want to re-do your bathroom? There are tons of home improvement shows that teach you how. More important, how not to.
Need to know more about the law? How about People's Court? Okay, I understand if you want to pass on that one, but I like it. On that note, don't expect some of the night time dramas to be correct about things like an autopsy, medical examiners, crime scenes, etc. They are dramas, after all.
Yep, television teaches us. A lot. Not all of it is bad. Unless, of course, you watch . . . oh never mind. Okay, what DO you watch that teaches you something and doesn't fry your brain cells with its nothingness?