Guest Commentary: TiVo Brought New Life to Both TV Viewing, Marriage

Sep 23, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Long before my wife and I purchased a TiVo, our television viewing experience was lacking. We would sit there passively watching a passive medium. Even worse, we were forced to keep our opinions to ourselves about what we had watched until the episode was over. By that time, however, we had forgotten many of the nuances of what we had watched. In short, the multitude of feelings we had and the opinions we wanted to share with one another were lost in the distant caverns of memory.
So along comes this remarkable device … the Viagra of television, if you will. A device that enables couples to pause TV so they can engage in conversation about the plethora of moments they had just watched. Such engagement leads to stimulating dialogue about hundreds of possible nuances that would otherwise fly by without the ability to hit pause. And it’s these nuances that make this medium the great medium it is. After all, we, as television makers, are in the emotional transportation business, so why not let viewers savor, taste, debate and ponder each and every moment that tickles their fancy, pushes their buttons and causes them to think?
Isn’t that what we’re aiming to achieve as executive producers, producers, directors, writers, directors of photography, composers, etc.? What DVR gives the viewer is a chance to fully embody the individual qualities that are woven into the fabric of each episode.
With regard to my marriage reaching new heights as a result of using a DVR, we now depend on it as a means of activating that kid-crush-love we had for each other when we first met. Now we sit on our couch, hit pause and away we go on a shared journey of discussion, debate and magnetic engagement.
My wife and I have paused and discussed bad acting, great scenes, news stories that have inflamed us, eye-rolling questions asked by lousy talk-show hosts, the majestic beauty of “Planet Earth,” the embarrassment of Jerry Springer and his minions, comments made by political buffoons who somehow think they’ve fooled us, the pure wonder of great writing in a dramatic series and a corrupt athlete reading a carefully crafted apology written by someone other than himself. In short, my wife and I engage one another with every pause. And it’s with every pause that we have grown closer.
Instead of being passive TV-watching zombies (as most people are), we’ve become active participants with one another — engaged in multiple layers of discussion that stimulate and invigorate us. My wife and I now enthusiastically wait for what we call “nights of engagement,” formerly known as watching TV.
This is not to say we don’t engage in other ways, but it would not be appropriate to articulate such detail in this forum.
My diatribe may seem comical to you, but in the end the proof is in the pudding. And this proof transcends the moments my wife and I spend watching TV: It affects how we treat one another at all other times, how we treat our children and ultimately how our children view us as committed, vibrant and loving influences in their lives. By solidifying the foundation of our marriage, we in turn solidify the foundation of our family and the life we are trying to build. And by the way, my wife and I aren’t saying hitting pause on our DVR is the root of our fantastic marriage; no, the DVR is the root of our ability to interact and engage one another when otherwise we wouldn’t.
One thing all of us who read this publication know is that television is ubiquitous and has become the single most powerful medium the world has ever seen. In short, it ain’t going anywhere any time soon. So as long as it’s here to stay, let’s use it and the DVR to make our relationships and our marriages better.
So for those who have a great relationship or marriage and want an even greater one, or for those about to call a divorce attorney, contact your DVR installer today. Who knows, maybe this technology will put all marriage counselors and divorce attorneys out of work. And that would be a good thing, wouldn’t it?
Daniel Bowen is executive producer/principal/executive in charge of production at New York-based Bowen Media.


  1. Is this a joke? You have to stop programs in the middle to discuss what you are watching? You can’t retain the information till the end of the show? Wouldn’t, say, turning off the TV and having a conversation be a better way to engage with your spouse?

  2. Not a joke at all.
    You actually made my point – We do turn off the TV via hitting pause (same thing as turning off the TV) – It’s then that we engage one another about various aspects of the content we are watching.
    Not sure you read the entire article, but it also does refer to our TV watching as one singular aspect of our relationship… just one aspect of how we engage one another in our relationship – Truth is, my wife and I hardly watch TV at all. Most of it isn’t very good, yet it’s the busines we’re in. In fact, I love the business and have had the honor of winning mutiple Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award. It’s just that we prefer hanging out reading and playing with our kids, not watching TV.
    Thanks for your imput. We really appreciate it!

  3. Danny, throw me your hamburger!
    Your Chapman roomate!

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