The TV is always on in this house. I mean always on. Yes, I'm a terrible person. Ever since I got my first apartment back in about 1981 I have used the television as company. Whether I'm watching it or not, it's always on as some sort of white noise. When I was first working, back in the 1960s, I often turned on Popeye cartoons (which I didn't really even like, but it was the best that was on in that time period). Walt's mother actually bought me an 8 mm movie of Popeye that Christmas.
Over the years, the choices of programs have changed, but there is almost always something on that can be listened to. You have to sit and watch sports programs or nature programs or cartoons. But you don't need to watch sit coms or crime dramas.
In December, on the weekends, it seems like your choice of programming is either marathon crime dramas or marathon made-for-TV Christmas movies.
(Turner Classic Movies is also sometimes good, though there are some themes that I don't really want to watch. I'm not a big fan of B-movies and a lot of the movies made in the 40s and early 50s derive their quality from the visual element more than from the plot line. When you are using TV for white noise, you are very big on plot line!)
Christmas movies are good to have on because they are pretty much all the same. Some disgruntled person (a jilted woman, a grieving father, a disappointed Santa, a homeless person, or some other Scrooge-like figure) hates Christmas and over the course of the next 90 minutes meets an angel or an adorable child or a persistent pooch who teaches him or her the meaning of Christmas and the movie ends with hugs and falling snow and a glowing angel or star on top of a Christmas tree, and truly it is the very best Christmas ever.
Yesterday I wasn't into sappy Christmas movies, so I immersed myself in a Law and Order: SVU marathon. From morning until 5 p..m it was nothing but Elliot and Olivia and a parade of raped women, abused children and brutal murders. HoHoHo and a Merrrrry Christmas to all!
At 5 p.m. the Criminal Minds marathon started. I prefer Criminal Minds so I switched to that, where the really perverted criminals hang out. Kind of bittersweet watching one of the earlier episodes with Hotchner laughing and carrying his newborn son, laughing with his wife, who, in reality, was killed two weeks ago, leaving the 4 year old son, after Hotch's bitterness caused the break-up of the marriage.
I could easily have continued the Law and Order (not SVU) marathon today, but I decided that Walt had had enough of murder and mayhem for the weekend even though he spends most of his time upstairs anyway) so I went Sappy (with a capital "S") and just turned on the Hallmark Channel for its all day Christmas movie marathon.
By 10 a.m., I was a soggy mess already--with hours to go.
The first movie, Christmas Visitor starred Meredith Baxter and William Devane as a couple who had not been able to celebrate Christmas since the death of their only son in Desert Storm. Dad picks up a mysterious young stranger on the highway and brings him home for the night. Naturally it's the dead son, in an unfamiliar body, returned for one last Christmas. Dad suspects, Mom and daughter just enjoy talking with him. Daughter, who was was potentially very ill, suddenly recovers after dead son lays on hands and tells her everything is going to be all right, the broken star that son broke years ago gets fixed, by morning Dad has figured out who he is, and as he drives him to a deserted road, supposedly to meet his friends, the son melts into the air, with one last salute to Dad. Snow falls, hugs all around and it's the very best Christmas ever.
The movie made me angry. How DARE their son come back. I'm waiting for some mysterious stranger to march back in here to restore the true joy of Christmas before fading into thin air again. I'm not particular. I won't even demand two mysterious strangers. One would be enough--either one. I don't care. (Unless maybe foster dog Dexter is really one of our kids in disguise...) But still I was sobbing and using lots of tissues by the time the movie ended.
The next Hallmark movie was one I'd seen earlier in the week, but fortunately Turner Classic Movies came through with a Judy Garland movie (In the Good Old Summertime), followed by a parade of light MGM movies which were perfect for background noise. Movies that I've seen before are always great for white noise because I can "see" them without even looking.I figure that if I keep up this see saw back and forth between murder and Merry Christmas I'm going to be expecting some deranged criminal to commit mass murder in a house, but find an adorable moppet hiding in a closet who will make him see the error of his ways and he will march out the door into falling snow and give himself up to the police and it will be (almost) the best Christmas ever, except for the people bleeding inside the house behind the glowing lights of the Christmas tree seen through the front window.