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Late night revelations of a TV addicted mom

by Debi Pomerantz

Not addicted to drugs, alcohol, food, sex, Facebook, Twitter or social media in general. I AM addicted to Diet Coke, but somehow, I don’t feel like that really counts.

My true addiction? I am a self-ascribed TV Addict and recovering movie addict – and I say recovering only because I don’t get out quite as much as I used to.  My addiction is admittedly bad, but if TV Addicts Anonymous existed, I wouldn’t go. I am a “functioning” TV addict. I have four kids and a full time job and still manage to watch 25 hours of TV a week – at least. I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging – I’m not proud. It just is. And it always has been.

I like to say I need to watch TV for work – I need to know what the competition is doing, what the trends seem to be, etc.  But that isn’t the reason. I grew up watching a lot of TV and in the upheaval that was my life during my teenage years – it was often the only familiar thing. Regardless of where I was, I could watch the same shows – Joanie and Chachi existed regardless of the city, country or time zone I was in. Maybe it made me feel “home”, something I desperately needed during those years. And somehow that became a part of me, and TV has always been THE THING that has helped me relax, made me feel better and let’s face it, allowed me to escape. I don’t have to dig so deep to realize that in the happy and constant chaos that is my life, TV is my oasis because no one in that world needs anything from me or has any expectations of me. Interaction is one way and I always win – sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry, sometimes I fall asleep. But I get to feel whatever I feel without anyone trying to figure out what it means.

So, most nights you can find me laying on my couch when the rest of the world is asleep, my big screen TV tuned to the hours of DVR’d shows I go through weekly. I wish I could say it was mindless, but almost everything I watch gives me pause for thought – which definitely inhibits the “escape” factor of watching TV! It is those thoughts however, that I get to now share with you, dear readers. And if you’ve gotten this far, I hope you’ll stick around.

TV is the epitome of “Art Imitating Life”.  Whether it be the real “Real Housewives” (HA HA), or ripped from the headlines cases on Law and Order – TV is just a hyped up reality of everyone’s everyday lives.  With the discerning eye of a mom, I watch a crapload of programming targeted to 12-17 year olds and 18-34 year olds. I’M watching these shows, NOT MY KIDS. And what I have noticed in recent years is how hard it is to find good role models, even on Disney and Nick.

Good Luck Charlie on Disney, for example, was for a time, a show I thought might actually deliver good role models. The premise of the show is hard-working parents with 3 almost grown kids who get pregnant accidentally – hence their little daughter Charlie. The kids seem to respect the adults, not always trying to con them, or make them look like fools like so many other “kid” shows. So far, not bad. HOWEVER, in this most recent season, suddenly there’s ANOTHER NEW BABY!!!!!

HUH?! Yes, they had another “accidental” pregnancy. And somewhere in there is a great conversation starter about birth control, but do I need to have THAT conversation with my pre-teen?

Nor do I really want to try and explain to my kids, both boys and girls, why on TV it appears okay for girls to call each other “whore” and “slut” in jest, or wear skirts that end just past their underwear and shirts that don’t cover their bellybutton, and sleep with their boyfriends while they are still in high school. Super sexy 16 year olds are not good role models for my daughters.

But there are a few out there. An unlikely source for good role models as of late is the TeenNick (yes, TeenNick) show Hollywood Heights. It appears to be one of the most poorly written and acted shows I have ever watched. But, somehow still on my list. And I watch religiously – and it’s on every night. A soap opera with a good role model? It definitely has its share of scantily dressed teenage bimbos and callous men and bad relationships.

The main character however, Loren Tate, is an 18 year old senior in high school who has a great relationship with her single mom. She writes songs for no one until her best friend submits one of them to a contest being run by her idol, Eddie Duran. And bingo, her life begins to change. But SHE DOESN’T. She is still the very sweet, lovely, seemingly innocent girl who now has the opportunity to defer her BROWN acceptance for a year to focus on her music. She doesn’t swear, she doesn’t sleep around, she doesn’t dress like a tramp. She has a best friend as lovely as she is. These girls are smart, creative, lovely young women on the cusp of adulthood. This is a character that I would want my daughter to actually aspire to be like – and those are few and far between on TV. And because TV = Hollywood, she will end up with the guy of her dreams – whom she hasn’t slept with yet. Good girls CAN get everything they want.

Now if it was only a show I would actually let my daughters watch………

Debi Pomerantz

About Debi Pomerantz

Debi Pomerantz is mom to four kids, ages 11, 10, 8 1/2 and 6 1/2. Her OTHER full time job is as VP, Research for OWN, the Oprah Winfrey network. She is also a writer, wife, friend and daughter.

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