Speed TV: How to watch TV without wasting time

September 10, 2013 — by Sabrina Chen
Chen_Sabrina186

Sabrina Chen is a junior at Saratoga High.

Ever since I’ve started high school, I’ve considered television a big waste of time. OK, OK, I know what you’re thinking right now: “She’s the typical Saratoga student who spends all of her time studying and won’t spend even a minute doing something that won’t increase her SAT score.” 

Ever since I’ve started high school, I’ve considered television a big waste of time. OK, OK, I know what you’re thinking right now: “She’s the typical Saratoga student who spends all of her time studying and won’t spend even a minute doing something that won’t increase her SAT score.” 
To be honest, to some extent, that is a pretty good description of me. For the past two and a half years, I haven’t really watched any TV at all, besides the snippets of “Good Morning America” I catch when my mom turns on the TV in the morning. 
That all changed this summer. Before school got out last year, a couple of my friends urged me to start watching their favorite show, “How I Met Your Mother.” They told me that it was the “funniest show in the world,” and that I didn’t know what I was missing.
When school ended and the monotony of an SAT-filled summer began, I found myself thinking in the middle of my 25-minute essays, “I deserve a break, would it really hurt to just watch a couple minutes of TV?” It didn’t help that my mom (who had recently gotten hooked to “How I Met Your Mother”) was watching the show and laughing away in the next room.
And so I began my first real TV experience since middle school. Since I had been so TV-deprived up to that point, I was a little shocked at how lewd and obscene some of the jokes were. (Might I mention that I’ve never watched anything more inappropriate than “Wizards of Waverly Place.”)
But by the time I finished my second season, reality struck. In a couple of weeks, I would be starting school, which meant practically no time for TV. In addition, this summer was supposed to be the time I prepared for junior year — not the time I got hooked on a TV show.
I did a couple calculations and realized that it would take me about 50 hours to finish the rest of the show. That would mean 50 — pretty much wasted — hours of my summer. That’s enough time to take 15 SAT practice tests, read all the English 11 Honors novels, and do and redo my APUSH summer homework.
I was faced with a problem. I wanted to finish the “How I Met Your Mother” story, but I didn’t want to put in the time. I found this strangely similar to what I face on the those long passages in the SAT — I need to get the basic gist of the piece, but I don’t have time to read in detail the entire thing. 
That’s when the solution struck me. Whenever I see a long passage, I always just read the first and last sentences of every paragraph and then sort of skim the rest. This was the exact technique I needed to conquer my “How I Met Your Mother” problem. 
Starting from Season 3, I began watching only every fourth episode of “How I Met Your Mother” and then reading the Wikipedia synopses for all the episodes I skipped.  
It was a winning tactic from the start. Not only did I cut down my TV time from 50 hours to 12 hours, I no longer felt guilty about watching too much TV. Furthermore, I could no longer be considered a TV-deprived person and could even carry on discussions with other “How I Met Your Mother” fans without them figuring out that I had skipped more than a hundred episodes.
Occasionally while watching the show, I’ll meet a character and have no idea where he came from, but that’s what Wikipedia’s for, right?
True TV watching, they say, emphasizes efficiency.
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