This past year, I did something I never thought I’d do. My longtime boyfriend had talked about it for years. He would slip it casually into conversation. When we’d learn that a friend had ventured outside of their comfort zone and tried it, he’d give me a little nudge “See? Even Devon and Amanda have done it. We should try it, babe. Come on. Be open-minded.” I was resistant. It didn’t sound right. It wasn’t me. I couldn’t do it. But our relationship changed. We got engaged, then married. We bought a house. Our lives became unarguably entwined together. I had to learn to compromise. I had to do it, for our relationship. For him. So finally, I took a deep breath and decided to venture out into new, untested waters. I gave up cable.
First, there’s something you should know about me. I’m a pop culture junkie. I majored in theater because I love plays, television, and film. I easily watched hours of TV shows a day throughout my childhood, teens, and twenties. Instead of going online and checking imdb.com, friends would call or text me to ask me who was that one guy in that one movie with that one woman who was in that other thing; my nickname is KMDB. I’ve live-tweeted Mad Men. I wrote two pilots with a team from the Second City Training Center. Television, and my addiction to it, have always been an enormous part of my life.
But much like when you see a cute sweater at Anthropologie but can’t bring yourself to buy it because you don’t want to support an evil empire, I hated the fact that I gave nearly $200 per month to Comcast. I don’t need to go into the reasons why they’re evil because I’m sure you all already know. But they were the only ones who had the best stuff: my Mad Men, my Pit Bulls and Parolees, my It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, my What Not to Wear, my sweet sweet Game of Thrones. No, I couldn’t live without them.
But I tried. I cut the cable cord. And, to my amazement, I am happier for it. The separation anxiety was intense at first. I paid more than I want to say to download individual episodes of Buying Alaska during the difficult withdrawal period. I even got desperate at times and started watching actual network TV. For a 2-hour-long pilot, I tried to convince myself that I could really get into the reality show Utopia. But that quickly died even faster than the show itself.
Time passed. I didn’t die. Instead, I found that I’d come home from work and not even go down to the basement where the TV was located. I’d stay upstairs in the living room, reading. Writing. Talking to my husband. Watching him cook (I still don’t cook). And there’s the glorious binge: the knowing that we’ll wait for an entire season of a show to come and go in its regular broadcast life, then have it at our own personal beck and call saved for the perfect day when a raging hangovers dictates that we should stay home and treat ourselves to 12 straight hours of near-comatose bliss. I’ve learned patience. I can wait for Better Call Saul to come to Netflix; I’ve got important shit to do in the meantime. We won. We beat Comcast Cable, those bastards.