The Comcast guy left after two hours of fiddling with dishes, cables, remotes and transmission boxes. The new American Dream — High Definition TV — is now installed on the new TV. The old TV died right after my husband gave it a kinna hurra (a Yiddish jinx) by praising its quarter-century life. Our workhorse low-def TV beamed its last beam in the middle of some Exorcist type show (why my daughter and husband were watching Damien I have NO idea). But right in the middle of the priest’s exhortation (“You are possessed by the Devil! The Devil, I say!) the TV stopped, never to run again, just like the grandfather clock in the old song. Yiddish curse? Catholic priest? Something sure snuffed the life out of our TV.
I feel like the protagonist in Sam-I-Am. I do not like hi-def TV. I do not like it on Channel Four, I do not like it on Channel Seven. On the couch, on the floor, it is too close, too close I say. It is too noisy on my eyes. Too sharp, like new eye glasses that have been made a tad too strong. The acronym TMI comes to mind.
I’d bet all the remotes in the house that HDTV was developed by some guy who woke up the morning after Super Bowl Sunday and said to himself, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a TV that made me feel like I was on the fifty yard line? A TV that showed me the stitches on the football of every pass, the divots flying up from the turf during tackles? A TV with such clarity that it turned the den into my own personal gridiron!” And presto-chango hi-def TV.
Forget about the fifty yard line. Hi-def now broadcasts every line of every fifty-year-old face. The newscasters’ pores and wrinkles are there for all to behold. Alas, even Matt Lauer looks a little too real. There’s no pancake makeup that can fool the cameras in this hi-def age.
But maybe this is not such a bad thing. Viewers will now get the real scoop — women over thirty-five have slight lines in their faces. Fifty-year-old skin softens along the jaw line. In the end, hi-def might just deliver the truest of all reality TV: human beings who look their age; the demise of airbrushed perfection; youth and maturity side by side on the interviewer’s couch.