I finally said goodbye to the smart-mouth kids with their age-inappropriate sexuality, dumb dads and their infinitely smarter eye-rolling wives, bad grandpas and drunk grandmas, crooked cops, evil clergymen, predatory businessmen and comedians who mistake snark for wit.
In short, I cut the cord. Even shorter, and in the memorable words of a reality show host turned president, I declared to all the above: “You’re fired!”
The day was long coming. For decades I bemoaned my inability to pay only for the television channels I watch. There’s about 12 of them. But the world I inhabited insisted that I pay for 150 channels, most of which I didn’t care about, some of which I actively detested and resented supporting through my ever-escalating monthly cable bill (I’m looking at you, MTV).
Then the winsome Mrs. Curtin bought a Roku player and plugged it into our smart TV. Suddenly there stood before me a selection of what are essentially free television channels loaded with content, much of it mediocre, some of it outstanding, none of it mandatory. They have unfamiliar names, like Tubi, WatchFreeFlix and Filmrise; they offer movies, documentaries and television shows from yesterday, yesteryear and yesterdecade, and are supported, like television channels always have been, by advertising. They come to me not over the air, as does television, but streaming through my internet connection, which has improved immeasurably since the early days when buffering and rebuffering made the technology seem clumsy.
Of course, the parade of nasties I mentioned up top is present even in this new format. There they are, but they can be ignored because there are so many other clickworthy options. I have slipped the surly bonds of TV executives and their programming brainwashers who surely cannot recall the last time a scriptwriter pitched an admirable priest or a benevolent real estate developer.
Their problem is not so much that I have escaped their clutches; it is that my 21-month-old grandson has. We can now, when the day comes, sit down and laugh at Jed Clampett coming to terms with his new life in Beverly Hills, or Samantha Stevens adjusting to life in the mortal world. Perhaps on some later day — and here’s one for the Brits — we can enjoy Roger Moore’s pre-Bond exploits as “The Saint,” the entire series of which is on Tubi, to be watched free and at leisure. In none of these, nor in much else I might select on the Roku menu, do I have to fear a sudden eruption of unsought profanity or obscenity.
I wrote in this space a while ago that the a-gender agenda that seeks to blur the distinction between men and women cannot succeed so long as the archives exist at Turner Classic Movies. There, for future ages to admire, as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers whirl about one another, or as Rick Blaine says his airfield farewell to Ilsa Lund, is the poetry of La Difference.
Roku, and streaming services like it, it seems to me, are also refuges, if in a slightly different way.
They are agents of choice.
And choice spells doom for the sultans of sleaze.