If you have a DVR (espeically one from faulty monopoly Time Warner Cable) then you know exactly the feeling of blinding anger I'm about to describe. It's that feeling that you could throw your remote at the screen, kick your dog across the room, and then go slam your skull in a kitchen cabinet for about 15 minutes before finding the nearest Time Warner Cable office and serving it a Molotov cocktail, with extra olives. But we don't. We have no choice, we can do nothing but silently rage in our living rooms knowing that nothing will be done to fix the problem.
And what is the problem, exactly? It's about having a DVR that is a quitter. It's about having a cable box that is so lazy that it just sits there all day collecting dust and not doing its job or, even worse, telling us its doing it's job when it's just sitting there updating its Facebook page and browsing for deals on Shoe Dazzle. Yes, it's that awful epidemic of your DVR telling you that it's going to record a show and even showing the red REC symbol on the display and listing your show in the DVR queue of taped programs while its recording. But then, when you go to watch it, it has mysteriously disappeared, never to be heard from again like the Lindbergh Baby or that hottie who played Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles.
This happened to me last night. I came home after work and checked to see what the DVR was recording because it has had so many troubles in the past. It said I could come home to expect to find New Girl, Raising Hope, The Mindy Project Which Still Needs a New Name, The New Normal, Smash, and Watch What Happens Live. I then went out to see a movie and eat dinner with a friend and came home to a DVR as empty as a theater showing Beautiful Creatures. I believe a tumbleweed actually blew across the screen. SCREW YOU YOU WORTHLESS PIECE OF CRAP! Just a couple of hours before it said it was going do it and but it just decided that it was going to "work from home" today which, as you know, means checking your email and and reading magazines and taking a long lunch without actually doing even the simplest of professional tasks.
And this DVR deception always seems to take place on the days of the week that are busier than others. I tape a lot of television and my device is structured like a wedding cake, finely tiered and very fragile. If one thing doesn't tape on certain nights (like Sunday or Tuesday), the whole thing comes toppling down. And if it doesn't tape anything? Well, my viewing schedule for the week is totally something that rhymes with "ducked" and starts with an F.
I know you're going to cry "first world problems," but this really pisses me off. Yes, I am lucky to afford cable and live in a country where this is one of my biggest woes. However, I pay about $200 a month to Time Warner for them to provide me cable and rent me a DVR. However, it does not work. For $2400 a year I get service that is undependable, broken, and altogether janky. Could you imagine what would happen to you if you did your job like Time Warner does theirs? You'd be collecting unemployment faster than an America's Next Top Model contestant will say she's "not here to make friends."
And this is my job. I am lucky enough that my continued employment is based upon my ability to watch certain television programs and write about them. In order to do this, I need Time Warner to do their job. Sadly, only one of us is toiling away and watching The New Normal on NBC.com this morning so that I can meet my already blown deadline.
And there's nothing I can do about it. If I took my clothes to a dry cleaner and picked them up two days later and they were just as soiled as when I came in, I would never go back there and find another dry cleaner. But, because of the building where I live, my only option is Time Warner. I can't boycott them or choose another service, I just have to sit there and take their continual slaps to my face. I've complained, but nothing happens. They tell me to get another box and all I get is another version of the same contraption that is just as broken as the last one. They just go round and round without ever being tuned up, like a game of musical chairs where each seat has a huge turd in the middle of it. They don't seem to care about customer service at all and, when they do, (as happened recently and hilariously to my friend Richard Lawson) it is not very helpful at all.
I am trapped. Time Warner has shown no support whatsoever and it's not like I can stop watching TV and still do my job. All that's left is my rage. That incomprehensible feeling of expressed dread that comes over me every time the DVR, for no reason whatsoever, decides to not tape my shows. I have nothing left but to fall to my knees on the carpet, remote in one hand as I throw my arms to the heavens and shout, "WHY?!" Why indeed, Time Warner. Why indeed.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Hollywood.com Illustration]