We Almost Got Cable Until I Remembered How Much I Hate Commercials

I almost ordered cable television yesterday. We haven’t had it in 7 years (except for the 2 months of the World Cup because duh), but I was upgrading our Internet connection and the bundled package seemed like such a good idea. Only $5 More For 210 Channels! That’s 2 cents a channel!

I was about to take the plunge when I flashed back to watching the Olympics* with my children or at least to the few events that were on when my kids were awake thanks to primetime tape delays. Bitter meet Alex.

But even during the day, NBC ran commercials for shows like Grimm with terrifying faces peering out of human ones and for exploding things when the only explosions my children are familiar with is assplosions and those are horrible enough. At first, I would turn off the television, but my son began a remote control guerrilla campaign because I LOVE EXPLOSIONS, MAMA! and by the time I got the remote away, the commercial was seared into their minds forever.

In the end, I was not sneaky enough nor did I feel like fighting over the remote every 10 minutes so I accidentally created the DONT LOOK AT IT game.

{Cue creepy commercial}


My kids erupted in giggles and squirms and I mentally high-five myself. No power struggle. No nightmares. No problem. I’M WINNING AT PARENTING!

The next commercial was for a for-profit college so I started yelling: DON’T LOOK AT THE STUDENTS! DON’T LOOKS AT THE LEARNING! You might start to want to LEARN!

Now we were all hysterical so when an anti-Kaine ad came up so I kept yelling: Don’t look at the Republicans! DON’T BELIEVE THE LIES.**

Finally, the Olympics came back on and settled down to watch more random volleyball, but the fun was clearly in mom covering eyes so my kids yelled: KEEP PLAYING, MAMA.


Me: Don’t look at the Olympics! Don’t look at the athletes! You might think you can do amazing things too! DON’T LOOK!

This is a reenactment because I have 2 kids and 2 hands and haven’t figure out how to operate a camera with my foot. I’m the worst blogger ever.

I was still laughing but less because of the game and more because the parenting books don’t mention how to stop an excellent parenting idea from going on forever. After the 500th DON’T LOOK, the creepy commercial came back on and I was: Fine. Look. Because I’m tired of playing this game.

As I refocused on the cable deal blinking in front of me, I yelled to myself: DON’T LOOK AT THE DEAL! JUST UPGRADE YOUR INTERNET! DON’T LOOK!

And I didn’t. Look that is.

PS. During the Olympics, my son also became convinced we needed a Cadillac, and the one evening we watched kids’ shows on someone else’s cable box, we all were convinced we needed Pillow Pets. The cable company advertisers are hysterically crying at this weekend’s loss.

*We have an antenna and get flickering versions of some local channels so we were able to watch the Olympics if I stood very still and our TV cabinet was at a 48 degree angle.
**I let my kids look at Republicans all the time but only the honest ones.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

20 thoughts to “We Almost Got Cable Until I Remembered How Much I Hate Commercials”

  1. And this is why, even though we have cable, our tv is more or less on Nick Jr all day (while Miss Boo is awake). My DVR is full of awesome stuff to watch after she is asleep. Which means I have like 50 hours of stuff in there I will never have time to watch. Ugh.

  2. This made me giggle. We have cable, but anything the kids watch doesn’t have commercials (PBS or on-demand). When my husband will occasionally put on a baseball game after dinner or something, they are flabbergasted by the commercials.

  3. We have cable. I can’t help myself. I am such a nerd for the History Channel, National Geographic Channel, etc. Plus I let Disney Jr babysit my child. What? When else am I supposed to blog?

  4. Those Grimm commercials scared ME! I don’t let myself watch TV because I waste too much time on the internet already. Plus, I’m really spoiled by DVR at my friends’ houses, so I can’t stand commercials.

  5. It’s too bad you can’t be put on the “no ad” list just like there’s a “no call” list.

    And on a completely random note, I just ate too many chocolate chip cookies and my heart is racing fast from all the sugar.

  6. Fun game! 😉 We are cable-free at our house as well. After having my in-laws live with us for three years and the stupid TV being on ALL DAY on cooking channels, I have zero desire to watch the thing. So, no cable, but for us that also met NO OLYMPICS (insert crying Nicole here). We get nothing for TV, not even fuzzy rabbit ear channels. I almost caved and joined the dark side during the Olympics. Instead, I made do with internet highlights because even required a cable log in for the really good stuff. AHHHH!!!!! What’s a cheapskate like me to do?! The good thing is I can still watch clips hear and there now and, even though I know results, it’s still pretty awesome.

  7. I taught my kids what the point of commercials/advertising was. They occasionally will talk about a toy they want sometimes but mostly they seem to just ignore the ads.

    I did have to explain to my oldest last night that entering the code from a “Webkinz” stuffed animal’s tag into a website would not, in fact, bring the toy to life. He was disappointed. Someday I’ll have to tell him about the x-ray glasses they sold from comic books.

  8. Oh, the commercials. Hate them. I understand showing scary stuff at night (though I have to look away or I won’t sleep) but in daytime hours? Especially during the Olympics. Boo.

    And don’t even get me started on the time delay. Or the liars. (Though I did see my first ever commercial for Obama during the Olympics. Yep. My state is that far from in play for the election. Bitter, meet Kate.)

  9. We have the same TV you do: Antenna, PBS, some flickering other stations. I am often tempted to get cable when I feel like I am missing out on some cultural experience (who is Snooki? What are the Kardashians? There are bubble gum flavored apples now??). For a brief period I had a channel with very old episodes of the Housewives of Orange County that came on during the morning. I was oddly repulsed and fascinated with a side of obsessed. It’s better not to have cable.

  10. I can appreciate a well done commercial, but not so much that I wouldn’t eliminate ads entirely if I could. Plus, commercials take time, so I wanted something to shave off the unnecessary ad-time from my DVR watching. I found a cool way to do this, in part, and it’s fantastic! I work a odd hours at Dish, so time is very important to me. I got the new Hopper DVR, and when I watch my Prime Time Anytime recordings the next day, I can set my DVR to skip the ads entirely! It’s great not having those volume changes, obnoxious Toy ads that make my kids go crazy, or that stupid Gecko; plus, it saves me a ton of time getting through my DVR playlist! Dish is at least taking a proactive approach to giving me what I want: NO ADS!

  11. YES! And I am having the same issue with Spotify! We’ll be jamming out to some Laurie Berkner Band and on comes a commercial for Trojan condoms that of course can’t just say they are great prophylactics but use the word SEX as loud as loud can be. Argh! I am going to write them a mean email. Certainly there is a way to monitor what types of songs are playing and not play sex commercials if you are listening to kid artists. We have put a man on the moon for Pete’s sake!

    1. Oh no! I would be upset even about them learning the word condom as young as our kids are let alone sex. Spotify needs to fix that stat. If you want to write about it for or reprint your letter to them there, I’d be happy to host it.

      1. Cool! Either one is fine and I’m honored you like the idea! I plan on writing them today during Lucy’s nap so I can forward you the letter and keep you posted as to a reply.

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